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)

Susan Sturm Dies at 86; Led an Adventurous Life

Susan Nadine Kinberg Sturm

Susan Nadine Sturm left this life heading for her next adventure on Tuesday, November 24, 2020.

She was born in 1934 in Petersburg to Marvin C. and Alpha K. Kinberg. Susie was a fiercely independent woman who embodied the true Alaska pioneer spirit – there was nothing she couldn’t do. She was a graduate of Sitka High School and attended Sitka Community College before raising her eight children.

Her careers included but were not limited to: bookkeeping for several different companies (including office management for her good friend Carolyn Hammack at Lakeside Grocery); logging at Kidney Cove; commercial trolling and longlining (she was so good at it she caught a 14-foot great white shark while commercial halibut fishing); and, much to her grandchildren’s delight, was known to occasionally work as a substitute teacher and also worked in the cafeteria as a “lunch lady.”

Her final career was working for the Alaska Marine Highway System starting in July 1993 on the good ship Taku as “pots & pans” and working her way up to chief purser on the M/V Malaspina until her retirement 15 years later. Susie loved her job working on the ferry system as it fulfilled both her passion for helping people and being on the ocean.

Susie’s interests were building her remote island home, hunting, sport fishing, trapping (she trapped enough mink to have a custom-made fur parka and made many pieces of jewelry with the soft fur), abalone picking (the hard way, while trying to stay upright on kelp-covered rocks), beach-combing, gardening and volunteering at the White E.

She also enjoyed working with copper repousse, cake decorating (she made numerous wedding cakes for her children’s and grandchildren’s weddings), stained glass and poetry writing (her friend Kay Royce financed the publishing of her book “Poetry of an Alaskan Pioneer”).

She loved to dance, play the accordion, and for many years hosted the bagpipers who were annual visitors on Alaska Day. She also loved participating in the annual Sitka Christmas boat parade, along with her good friends Al and Signe Wilson, Ted Hunt, Joe and Bobbie Whitson and many others. One of her crowd-pleasing designs was a waving Santa, that graced the roof of the wastewater treatment plant for several years after the parade.

Susie is survived by her sister Fay Nelson of Sitka; and eight children; Valorie (Connor) Nelson, Tony (Barb) Sturm, Lyndene (Gary) Downie, Dawn (Randy) Gluth, Jeff (Tammy) Wheeler, Stella (Dan) Shockley, and Leslie Young all of Sitka, and Madeline (Keith) Rake of Lewiston, Idaho, as well as her red-headed stepchild, Christy O’Shaughnessy of Seattle, Washington.

Also surviving are many grandchildren (one of her favorite sayings was “you can never have too many grandchildren or strawberries”), including Marti Jones, Spencer, Cory and Brook Nelson all of Washington State, Kyle (Nadiia) Rice of St. Louis, Missouri, Kendra (Shane) Nicholson of Kodiak, Josh (Leanne) Sturm and James W. Sturm of Sitka, Jeremy (Amanda) Downie of Jacksonville, Florida, Jenna Downie of Lubbock, Texas, Gary Jr. (Koali) Downie of Sitka, Tiffany (Dave) Pearson of Sitka, Theresa (Kyle) Hampton of LaGrande, Oregon, Katherine (Josh) Johnson of Sitka, Emily (Rob) Baldwin of Kapolei, Hawaii, Julia (Trevor) Hyatt of Anchorage, Johanna (Alec) Gluth of Sitka, Jason (Caitlin) Koelling of Temple, Texas, Ashlee (Bryson) Morrow of Jefferson City, Missouri, Tally, Keegan, Casey, Abby and Jack Wheeler all of Sitka, Megan Mary (Chris) Radke of Lewiston, Idaho, Matthew (Casal) Hornaman and Trevor Hornaman of Sitka, Alex and Anthony Raphun of Molalla, Oregon, and Wayne and Jason Young of Sitka.

Forty-eight great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren also survive her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Marvin and Alpha Kinberg, her brothers Marvin and Tom Kinberg, her sister Rose Reed, her son-in-law Tom Young and her best friend, Signe Wilson.


A celebration of life will be held at a later time when her family can gather to spread her ashes on her beloved island. In lieu of flowers the family would suggest donations be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

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.