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)

Doreen M. Kowalczewski Dies; Was Born in London

Doreen Mary Thurlow Kowalczewski

Doreen Mary Thurlow was born on May 5, 1926, in London, England. Her father, George Thurlow, was an engineer and her mother managed a commercial laundry.

Her mother had eight brothers and sisters so there were many cousins to play with. In fact, Doreen later said she never had to learn to make friends because she was always surrounded by family.

Doreen was 13 when World War II started. Most children her age were sent to the country for safety but Doreen chose to stay in London. She told stories about the bomb shelters and other realities of war time life, including taking food and blankets to the soldiers evacuated from Dunkirk who spent days in train cars parked on the railroad tracks near Doreen’s house.

Doreen’s education ended at 16. She had planned to go on to college but the war made that impossible. So she went to work for the BBC as a secretary. Because her typing was fast and accurate she was assigned to transcribe Winston Churchill’s speeches as he gave them; she was always proud of that.

At 18 she met a Polish Air Force officer named Witold Kowalczewski and they married shortly after the war ended. Over the next five years they had three children: Christina, Janet and Stephen. Witold decided that they should emigrate to Canada where he could get a better job. He traveled to Toronto to look for work and Doreen followed him a few months later with two toddlers and a newborn baby.

In 1956 the family moved to Inkster, a suburb of Detroit. Shortly after this Doreen and Witold divorced and the children remained with Doreen. She had been working as a secretary even before the divorce and continued now to work full time as an office manager for an insurance company.

Over the next three decades her work took her to New Jersey, New York, Michigan and finally Chicago, where she was involved in software development, first for the company she worked for, then with her own business.

In 1993, at the age of 67, she moved to Sitka, to help her son with his family. He was divorced and had two young children – Shannon and Joshua – to care for. A few years later they moved to Seattle where Doreen continued to live with them and care for the children while Steve worked.

In 2012 Doreen moved back to Sitka. Her daughter Chris and her husband had decided to retire there and they invited Doreen and Steve to join them. Doreen became active in the local Ocean Wave Quilt Guild and chaired the scholarship committee. She also participated in programs for the homeless and tutored young readers at the library. She enjoyed attending concerts, dance performances, and other cultural opportunities in Sitka. At the age of 93 she volunteered to work at the Pioneers Home gift shop, where she was older than many of the residents.

Doreen enjoyed her final years, living with her family and with her cats, needlework, and books.

She stayed in touch with her grandchildren and her brother in England. She also stayed in touch with the world, closely following the news right to the end.

Doreen was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in the summer of 2020. Treatment options were limited by her age. Home healthcare services made it possible for her to remain comfortably at home and to be with her family at the end. She died peacefully on December 9, 2020.

Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Chris Kowalczewski and Bruce Gazaway, and her son, Stephen Kowalczewski, all of Sitka; and grandchildren Shannon Kowalczewski and Joshua Kowalczewski, and great-grandson Samuel McKeeman, all of Seattle; and brother Peter Thurlow of London.

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.