PAINTING WEATHER – Downtown Sitka is pictured from the vantage point of commercial painter Keith Fredrickson’s 60-foot man lift today. Fredrickson Painting Inc. was taking advantage of the partly sunny weather to get a coat of paint on the Sitka Hotel, foreground, today. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Mary Lou Vilandre Dies; Served Sitka 53 Years

Mary Lou Vilandre

Mary Lou Vilandre, who was very active in the community throughout the 53 years she lived here, passed away in her sleep on August 12 with her family surrounding her. She was 85.

She was born Oct. 20, 1934, in Zieback, South Dakota, the daughter of Roy and Isabel Street. The family moved to Havre, Montana, where Mary Lou graduated from high school. She played the cornet in the school marching band, and continued to play the cornet for years, eventually teaching her sons to play, and playing along with them.

She met Frank Vilandre at a drive-in movie in Havre, and they were married in 1956. In 1965, the family moved to Petersburg for a job, loved it and never left Alaska. They came to Sitka in December 1967, and she helped her husband start Frank’s Plumbing, Heating and Sheet Metal Inc., and Dewey’s Party Trix & Things, taking care of all the bookkeeping.

Mary Lou was a stalwart member of several organizations. She was involved in the Cub Scouts in Petersburg, and continued her service in Sitka. She also volunteered with the March of Dimes and for Alaska Crippled Children and Adults, which started the White Elephant Shop.

In 1976, she became one of the New Archangel Dancers, and danced with them for several years.

She became a member of the Alaska Day Committee in 1974, and was the liaison between Sitka and the military, arranging housing, food, transportation and activities, including for the U.S. Army Band, which played at the schools and other events around town.

She was invited several times to such events as the change of command ceremonies at Fort Richardson. On one of her trips to Anchorage she was allowed to drive a tank. She remained on the committee up until her death.

Another part of her community service was 26 years with Little League baseball. She worked on the committee, in the concession stands, and was an official scorekeeper. Once when she was in the booth, a foul ball off the bat of Keith Perkins went through a small hole in the fence and hit her in the head. Another time she broadcast a Sitka game from Wrangell, for KIFW.

Mary Lou also kept official scores for the Sitka High boys and girls basketball games for several years – she never missed a game.

She was involved with the Elks Lodge as an Emblem Club member. She helped raise money for the health and welfare programs, helping people in the community who needed a little extra to get through tough times. She was a very giving person, and loved to help those in need – it made her happy making other people feel better.

She received several awards in her lifetime, including several ones from the military for her work on the Alaska Day Committee. She also received the Chamber of Commerce Cossack Cap Award in 1992 for her community service.

She will be sorely missed by her family and friends, and those whose hearts she touched, her family said.

Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Isabel Street; her husband, Frank Vilandre; her brothers, Harold Street of El Paso, Texas, Glen Street of Valdez, and Wayne Street of Montana; daughters-in-law Kathleen Vilandre of Juneau and Jody Vilandre of Sitka; and grandchildren Venessa Vilandre of Juneau, and Joey DeTemple of Sitka.

She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law Dale Vilandre of Juneau, and Duane and Vonnie Vilandre, Don and Lisa Vilandre and Dennis and Debbie Vilandre, all of Sitka.

Her grandchildren are Ryan Vilandre of Juneau, Jeff DeTemple of Hong Kong, Jay DeTemple of Alabama, Duane N. Vilandre of Iowa, Kale Vilandre of Montana, Blayne, Trace and Bae Vilandre of Washington, Amanda Turner of Georgia, Danny Turner of Washington, Jeremy DeTemple, Cody Bass, Maddison Stocker, and Melina Munoz and Lindsey Vilandre, all of Sitka.

Also surviving are numerous great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a graveside service will be held at the cemetery for family. A celebration of her life will be at the Elks Lodge at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Alaska Day Committee, P.O. Box 1355, Sitka, or the New Archangel Dancers, 208 Smith St., Sitka.

The family extended thanks to all the caretakers at SEARHC and Dr. Shepard and Dr. Roesel “for the kind and professional care they gave to Mary Lou in her final days. They made her very comfortable and pain-free, and she was very grateful for all they did,” the family wrote.

“We also would like to put out special thanks to Richelle Murphy from SEARHC for all her help, care and compassion for the family during these trying times. Also, all the people from home health who came to her house and cared for her – she was very grateful for everyone who came to her home.”

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


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 5-8-21)

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 11:50 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 114

Total statewide – 66,120

Total (cumulative) deaths – 343

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,508

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 5 p.m. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 7

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 367 (321 resident; 46 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 359

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

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

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

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

Partially vaccinated – 4,898 (70.469%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,486 (64.56%)

Total population (16+) –6,949

Sitka has vaccinated (with at least one dose) 1,249 (84.51%) 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:





May 2001

Richard Nelson, Alaska writer and cultural anthropologist, will be speaker at the University of Alaska Southeast, Sitka Campus, commencement exercises at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School

May 1971

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game announced today that the 100-ton herring quota in District 13, outside of the Sitka Sound area, has been harvested. The 750-ton quota for Sitka Sound was taken by April 7.