Betty DeCicco Dies at 91; Lived an Active Life in Sitka

Betty DeCicco

Betty DeCicco, a long-time resident of Sitka, passed away on August 30, 2020, after a brief illness. She was 91.

She will be remembered for her wit and industriousness, her weakness for ice cream and sweet potato fries, her zest for new life experiences, and her love of all things Sitka.

Betty had the good fortune to live two lives. 

Her first life began on September 18, 1929, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the heroines of this life was Betty’s grandmother, “Big Mama.” Among other things, Big Mama taught Betty the importance of thrift, and instilled in her a love of reading. 

A high school friend introduced Betty to the Church during this first life, and she remained a committed Christian from that point forward. After marrying, Betty moved to Montana, then Switzerland as a missionary, where her four children, Jim, Rebecca, Dave, and Dan were born. She also had six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

At age 62, Betty’s second life began. She arrived that summer in Sitka as a volunteer for Sheldon Jackson College. She raved about the town and the many things it had to offer. She loved the college, the Native art and culture, the meadow she could glimpse on the face of Mt. Verstovia.  She even loved the weather.

She had never felt so pulled to a place. 

When her gig at Sheldon Jackson ended, Betty went on to volunteer at Denali, and other locations throughout the lower 48. Yet Baranof Island remained front and center in her letters and phone calls home. She couldn’t wait to get back.

Betty moved permanently to Sitka in 1993. She quickly immersed herself in town life. She delved into volunteer work, sometimes putting in 40-plus-hour work weeks running between multiple organizations. She often ended the day cat- or dog-sitting for a friend or neighbor who was out of town.   

 In turn, Sitka embraced Betty as one of its own. People made sure she had rides to the music festival, the fine arts camp, and to any performances the schools put on. Boat owners brought her fish from their catches and took her out to experience the whales. Local artists educated her on their craft. Friends traveled with her to Kotzebue, Nome and Anchorage. Each year someone made a place for her at their Thanksgiving or Christmas table. 

Betty is survived by her brother Jack Kohl of Port Republic, New Jersey; her son Jim Morrison of St. Louis, Missouri; daughter Rebecca Monet of Encinitas, California; son Dave Morrison of Seattle, Washington; son Dan Morrison of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania; as well as six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Family members intend to visit when it is once again safe to travel and congregate. A hike is planned up Mt. Verstovia to spread Betty’s ashes.

“We would love an opportunity to gather with friends at that time, to celebrate Betty’s much-savored second life in Sitka,” a family member wrote.

“We also wish to express our gratitude to the staff at the Pioneer Home. You treated Betty like family.”

 Those wishing to donate in Betty’s honor are asked to direct contributions to the Sheldon Jackson Museum, or the Sitka Church of the Nazarene.

 

 

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AK COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 1-12-22)

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 11:55 am Wednesday.

New cases as of Tuesday: 2,414

Total statewide – 167,008

Total (cumulative) deaths – 953

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,311

Current Hospitalizations – 81

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

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 130 new COVID cases in the past 7 days. Case statistics are as of Sunday.

New cases in Sitka – 7

Cases in last 7 days – 130

Cumulative Sitka cases – 1,467

Deceased (cumulative) – 6

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

  

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20 YEARS AGO
January 2002

Classified ads, Rentals: 3-bdrm. house on the beach. $900; 3-bdrm duplex, washer/dryer $945; Great downtown house, 2 bdrms., 2 baths, furnished,
W/D, hardwood floors $850; 2-bdrm. roomy apartment $945..

 

50 YEARS AGO
January 1972

The City and Borough Assembly Tuesday approved an ordinance establishing a transportation committee to advise the assembly and promote transportation services for the municipality. Members are Cecil McClain, Ray Mabey, Clarence Kramer,
Dick Cushing and Burt Hansen.

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