Harriet Adele Kinberg Dies in Nevada at 94

Harriet Adele (Campbell) Kinberg

Harriet Adele (Campbell) Kinberg passed away at age 94 Saturday morning, Sept. 5, 2020, at her residence in Acacia Springs in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Although she had been declining in recent years due to aging, she maintained her persistent feisty nature. Her death was caused by complications of a recent fall just days before. 

She is remembered fondly by loved ones as the Dragonlady because she loved dragons and collected over 200 of them.

She was born in Lancaster, Ohio, Feb. 20, 1926, the only child of Fannie Adele (Barkhuff) and Leo Delos Campbell. Shortly after her birth she moved with her mother to Amsterdam, New York, where her mother’s family lived. Her father was to follow shortly after, but never did. She was raised by her single mother, her two maternal spinster aunts, and her maternal grandparents until her mother remarried, to Clarence William Mahl, when Harriet she was 9. The court had issued a dissolution of marriage after a seven-year absence of her father in which he had no contact with her or Fannie.

Harriet attended Amsterdam schools for 12 years while exercising race horses, cleaning stalls, and obtaining her pilot’s license during her high school years. She graduated in 1943 and passed her Regent’s Exam (SAT), receiving such high marks that her college entrance exam was waived. She started her nurses training in the Cadet Nurses Corps, graduating as a Registered Nurse at her Cap and Gown ceremony in March 1948. She trained in many places, including Bellevue Hospital, the first public hospital in the country, in New York City, on the obstetric ward. She also trained at Trudeau Village, which was a tuberculosis clinic for very wealthy patients located outside Lake Placid, New York. 

Upon completion of her education she was offered a contract in Saudia Arabia or Alaska, which had not yet gained statehood. After choosing Alaska, she was given the choice of Juneau or Sitka. She would later say, “Thank goodness I chose Sitka!” When she arrived in Sitka in September 1948, it was raining in the mountains, but the sun was shining in town. As she stepped off the cargo plane that had brought her from Seattle, Washington, she said, “I’m home!”

On arrival in Sitka, she started work at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in the pediatric tuberculosis ward. TB had become an epidemic among the Alaskan Natives who were infected by the Russians and Japanese. It was a heart-wrenching place to work. Later she would work at Sitka Community Hospital, Alaska Lumber and Pulp Mill in the commissary as a butcher, and in the Sitka school system as a lunch lady and janitor. She retired at 65 from the Sitka School District.

After retirement Harriet, who had always wanted to see Africa, took a trip to Egypt and Israel, bringing back clothes and jewelry that fascinated her. It was a great moment in her life and she would share wonderful memories and stories of her adventures there.

She loved to read and hardly went anywhere without a book. She also loved to hike and when she first arrived would hike Indian River Trail onto the Three Sisters. While returning down the trail on one occasion when hiking alone, she noticed tracks in the snow which showed a bear had followed her on the way up. On another occasion she fell through the snow on one leg up to her hip and realized there was nothing under her foot. She knew if she slipped beneath the snow, she would never be found. Fortunately, she didn’t slip.

She married Marvin C. Kinberg Jr. in 1949 and her first child, Marie Adele (Kinberg, Gresham) Wichman was born in 1950 while she and Marvin were homesteading at Iris Meadows on Kruzof Island. A son, Marvin C. Kinberg III, soon followed in 1951, also born in Sitka. She and Marvin Jr. headed to New York for better job prospects where two more children were born: Kathleen Susan (Kinberg, Coyle) Wilson in 1952 and Deborah Jean (Kinberg) Bickford in 1954. The couple had expected to stay for only six months and wound up staying for over six years.

Returning to Sitka in 1959, the family celebrated Alaska Statehood in Canada on their way home, and her last child Barbara Anne (Kinberg) Iaria was born in December of the same year in Sitka.

Harriet did not leave Sitka again until 1989 when she drove with her daughter Kathleen, “Kaycie,” and her family as they moved to Chepachet, Rhode Island. She stayed for seven years before returning to Sitka in 1996. She would say later that she loved the adventure, but missed Sitka very much. The legacy of her time spent there was the close bond that she developed with her biological and step-grandchildren, in particular with Morgan Wilson who was only four when she moved. Harriet spent those years raising Morgan while her parents worked and her siblings started their own adult lives elsewhere. She had a tremendous influence on Morgan, guiding her in her spirituality and values.

While living in Rhode Island she got to work on a sailing ship that left from Mystic, Connnecticut, and traveled to Nova Scotia and back. She absolutely loved it! The venture took about a week and she felt that was way too short.

Harriet was devoted to the Lord, her faith, and church service throughout her life. She was a very active member for over 60 years at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, and for her seven years in Rhode Island at the Episcopal church in Foster. Numerous times she served on the vestry and as a delegate to the deanery and many diocesan conventions. She also served on various search committees for both bishops and priests. Harriet was a licensed worship leader, chalicist, and Eucharistic visitor, bringing communion to those who were homebound. She was a licensed Catechist, preparing people for baptism and confirmation. She wrote her own confirmation text and curriculum that was approved by Father Dave Elsensohn and Bishop Mark Macdonald. The curriculum made such an impact on her grandson Paul Coyle that years later he used it to teach classes to his teenage parishioners at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Danielson, Connecticut.

 Harriet was an active member of the ECW (Episcopal Church Women) and the Society of St. Simeon and St. Anna. She volunteered to clean the churches in both Sitka and Foster throughout her attendance to all of her other ministries. She would stop during her cleaning and welcome visitors, especially those from the cruise ships, as they came into the church and share the church history with them.

Many fondly remember the grand receptions that Harriet would prepare with the help of her daughter Marie Wichman for all to enjoy after the Christmas Eve services. She touched many lives at St. Peter’s and in the community throughout her life in Sitka. Her duty and love for the Lord was an important focus for her five children; all baptized, confirmed and raised in the Episcopal church with many years spent within the walls of St. Peter’s. The truth of this is evident in that nine of her 13 grandchildren, both boys and girls, served as acolytes.

Harriet is survived by four of her five children, Marvin Charles (Carolyn Warner) Kinberg III of Clare, Michigan; Kathleen “Kaycie” Susan Coyle (Bobby) Wilson of Eagle Lake, Maine; Deborah Jean (Steven) Bickford of Las Vegas, Nevada; and Barbara Anne (Juan) Iaria of Colchester, Vermont; Richard “Columbus” Wichman widowed son-in-law with whom she had an especially close relationship; 12 of her 13 grandchildren, Kevin Ernest Gresham, Heather Geraldine (Gresham, Binder, Pohl) Finch, Sarah “Blu” Adele (Wichman) Jacoby, Benjamin Graham Wichman, David Andrew Kinberg, Marvin Christopher Kinberg IV, Michael Richard Coyle, Morgan Kathleen Wilson, Nathan Daniel Bickford, Krystal Adele (Bickford) Graham, Amanda Marie Iaria, Victoria Anne Iaria, and step-grandchildren Candi (Wilson) Chapman and Gregory Kyle Wilson.

Also surviving are all of her 17 great-grandchildren, eight step-great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

Because of her longevity she was predeceased by many family members and in-laws, but in particular her former husband Marvin Clarence Kinberg Jr. in 1992, her grandson Paul Douglas Coyle in 2002, and her oldest daughter Marie Adele Wichman in 2016.

Harriet also leaves behind many close, longtime Sitkan friends and much loved St. Peter’s family. She greatly enjoyed and valued all of those relationships.


Harriet will be cremated in Las Vegas, but due to COVID-19 her memorial service at St. Peter’s will not be held until much later, in 2021. The date and time will be announced. Her ashes will be kept in Las Vegas until then and later interred at St. Peter’s.

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At a Glance

(updated 9-28-22)

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 12:15 pm Wednesday, September 28.

New cases as of Wednesday: 546

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 282,928

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,329

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,955

Case Rate per 100,000 – 74.91

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "High.'' Case statistics are as of Wednesday.

Case Rate per 100,000 – 117.30

Cases in last 7 days – 10

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,358

Hospitalizations (to date) – 29

Deceased (cumulative) – 7

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






September 2002

Photo caption: Bus drivers Derrell John and Sabrina Smith stand next to the new Community Ride buses at Crescent Harbor bus stop, which serves as a transfer point. The two public transportation buses will run two routes, one along Halibut Point Road, the other along Sawmill Creek Road. 


September 1972

 Photo caption: Bill Willis, the new owner-manager of the Dip’n’ Sip in the Triune Building serves up another ice cream cone for a pleased customer. Bill and his wife Dorothy purchased the business from JoAnne Harris. Along with the ice cream treats, sandwiches and soups will be added to the menu.