Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s office building on the corner of  Siginaka Way and Katlian Street is pictured Tuesday. The building’s HVAC system was replaced using Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. The Supreme Court recently ruled that Alaska Native corporations are also eligible for CARES Act funding. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Dan H. Keck Jr., Former Sitka Mayor, Dies at 92

Dan Huston Keck Jr.


Dan Huston Keck Jr. died peacefully at his Davidoff Street home on August 4, 2020. He was 92. 

He was born April 5, 1928, at the family home in Pettigrew, Arkansas, to Dan Huston Keck Sr. and Chloe Haught Keck. His family made their living farming and raising livestock. 

He went to high school in St. Paul, Arkansas, graduating with the class of 1948. The following year he and a cousin traveled to the Okanogan Valley of Washington where some of their friends and family had migrated from Arkansas. While there he managed to join a baseball team and at one of their games he met Betty Neal who also had an Arkansas family background. They were married on September 1, 1950. After a baseball honeymoon to a tournament in British Columbia, they settled in Paterous, Washington. Dan and Betty were married for 64 years, and  had two daughters, Janet Lee and Judy Ann.

In 1960 a family friend who had moved to Sitka convinced them that opportunities were abounding and they should move north. And so they did, packing up the station wagon with their belongings and two kids. They put the car on the ALP barge in Seattle and flew to Sitka via Annette Island. They both went to work at Alaska Lumber and Pulp. Dan apprenticed as a pipefitter and Betty worked at the commissary and then in payroll.

In 1975 they bought The Cellar which was a small infant boutique in the basement of the Franklin Building. Over the next 20 years they expanded it into a retail establishment with a broad inventory of children’s apparel, toys and family shoes. Dan, also, sold and set up Kentwood mobile homes. He and Betty both had an entrepreneurial spirit and found the challenges of business satisfying. 

Dan always wanted to be a part of what was happening in the community and the many important changes that came to Sitka over his lifetime here. To that end, he served city government at the Assembly table and as mayor, was active in the Alaska Municipal League for a number of years at the state level, coached Babe Ruth Baseball, played on volleyball and softball leagues,  designed prom decorations, and was on the Sea Mountain Golf Course Board of Directors during the years it was first developed. He could have easily been called a people person.

Dan was a mandolin picker. He played from a young age with family and in the early days in Sitka he would host jam sessions in his home for any bluegrass players in town. In the mid 1970-1980s Dan played along with Atsuo Tsunoda, Gary Gouker, Jim Davis, Alan Davis and Natalie Holloway in the Baranof Bluegrass Band. They played from Anchorage and the smallest towns in northern Alaska to every community in Southeast. They toured Japan and went to festivals all around the U.S. But their favorite stages were right here in Sitka.

Dan will be greatly missed by his family.

He is survived by his daughters and their husbands Jan and Bob Love, Judy Keck-Walsh and Tom Walsh, grandsons and their wives Evan Love and Lauren Wild, Matthew Love and Diana Sarmiento; great-granddaughters Ema and Eva Love; and his brother Simon Keck.


The family will be having a private service, but wish to thank the community for their condolences and support.  

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30, 2020, the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


Login Form



Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 8-4-21)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:27 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Tuesday: 323

Total statewide – 72,584

Total (cumulative) deaths – 385

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,738

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Active cases in Sitka – 123

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 37

Cumulative Sitka cases – 873 (797 resident; 76 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 748

Deceased (cumulative) – 2

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

The State of Alaska DHSS reported Wednesday the following statistics on vaccinations for Sitka.

Partially vaccinated – 5,682 (77%)

Fully vaccinated – 5,242 (71%)

Total population (12+) – 7,385

Sitka has vaccinated fully vaccinated 79 percent of its senior population (1,478 total), age 65 and older. 

Vaccination data for the City and Borough of Sitka can be found online at:





August 2001

The Assembly agreed Thursday to place ballot questions on cell phone usage, downtown traffic lights and a fire hall before the voters in the Oct. 2 municipal election. Assembly members emphasized the election results would be used as a rough guide, not a mandate, on policy issues.

August 1971

Sitka student Phillip R. Wyman is among new admissions for the fall at Washington State University.