Shirley Truitt Dies at 87; Taught at Local Schools

Shirley Ellen Truitt

Shirley Ellen Truitt, longtime Sitkan, died October 30, 2020, at the Sitka Pioneers Home. She was 87.

Shirley was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, December 28, 1932, to George and Laura (Bloomer) Guilford. She grew up before World War II in Weiser, Idaho, then the family moved to Vancouver, Washington, where her father worked as an electrician at the shipyard during the war.

Most of the early schools that Shirley attended have now been torn down. Her first babysitting job was for two families, where she earned 25 cents per hour. Her first job after high school was packing cookies at Nabisco, then as a waitress. One summer she worked at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon.

As a sophomore in high school Shirley learned of God’s love and accepted Christ at Young Life weekend camp. Her life verse was 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.”

She received her associate of arts degree at Clark College in Vancouver, and her bachelor of science degree from Whitworth College. Shirley then moved to Sitka, to teach home economics at Sheldon Jackson High School and Junior College. She also taught home economics at Mt. Edgecumbe High School. She loved Alaska, but left to attend Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon. 

She studied under Wycliffe Bible Translators one summer at the University of Washington and another at Oregon State University. She spent three months in southern Mexico at Wycliffe Jungle camp, and spoke often about her experiences with her family. While at jungle camp she almost drowned while learning to scull the rapids. That same evening she read Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.”

After Jungle camp, Shirley returned to Sitka, where she married Gil Truitt on May 26, 1962. She loved being married and raising their two boys and one daughter on Japonski Island. She loved being a grandmother to her one grandson and six granddaughters. She loved anything artistic. 

Shirley loved the work of Young Life in Sitka and being on the committee and part of the prayer team. She loved her church, Sitka Assembly of God, the worship service and women’s fellowship. She had a special love for missions and youths. As a young mother, Shirley helped lead a youth group on the island called HIM (Heaven-In-Me club) along with Randy and Julie Hames. Shirley served the Assembly of God congregation in missions as well. For years she would take the missionary newsletters, pray over each of them, and update the missions bulletin board. She always looked forward to her time at Girlfriends on Wednesdays at the local McDonald’s. 

Shirley was an avid sewer and used her talents to make clothes for others. When her children were young there were times she anonymously gave families clothes that she made. In later years, Shirley’s great joy was to make dresses for her granddaughters and the children of missionaries. She loved seeing old things torn down and new things that would take the place. She loved hearing from friends on Facebook. Shirley always spoke well of anyone whom she knew. She gave others the benefit of the doubt and chose to focus on an individual’s positive qualities. 

Shirley was preceded in death by her husband Gilbert Allen Truitt, her parents and her brother Richard Guilford.

She is survived by her children and their spouses, Phil and Eileen Truitt of Snoqualmie, Washington; Ken and Charlotte Truitt of Juneau; and Laura Truitt of Vancouver, Washington. Her grandchildren are Kristina and Clay Ercolin of Stanwood, Washington; Joseph and Alexis Truitt of Newberg, Oregon; Natalya Truitt of Snoqualmie; and Madison Truitt of Seattle, Washington; and Marissa, Sydney and Elena Truitt all of Juneau.

The family requests no flowers at this time and suggests donations to Young Life of Sitka.

Because of COVID restrictions, a public service will be scheduled when it is safe for travel and large gatherings.

The family expressed thanks to all those at the Pioneers Home who cared for her these past couple years – too many to list for fear of omitting some. “We also thank the ladies of Girlfriends and the other many friends who supported both of our parents these past few years,” they said.

Login Form



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.





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..


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.