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)

Jim O’Brien, Irish-Born Sitkan, Dies at Age 63

James “Jim” Anthony O’Brien

James “Jim” Anthony O’Brien, who was born in Ireland but had lived in Alaska since the 1980s, passed away Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, at the age of 63. 

Jim was born July 2, 1957, to Christopher and Vera, in Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland. One of nine siblings, Jim was described as an adventurous and mischievous, albeit mellow, child. He attended Cistercian College Roscrea private boarding school in County Tipperary, and Mountbellew Agricultural College in County Galway. When he left college, he tried his hand at a number of things, finally settling on working machinery with his older brother, Christopher, whom he loved. At the age of 25, Jim set off to America, heading first to New York City to stay with his sister Joan and her husband John. His sister Fiona was also in NYC at that time, and soon after, his brother Desmond, his sister Jacqueline, his sister Deirdre and her husband Liam joined them.

After a year bartending at John’s restaurant in NYC, he moved on to San Francisco, and eventually made his way to Alaska to pursue his passion of working construction. He fell in love with the rugged wilderness of Alaska and never looked back.

In 1988 he met the love of his life, Tina, while working in Petersburg, and started a family of his own. His work in construction took the family to a number of places throughout Southeast Alaska, including Petersburg, Juneau, and Haines, but eventually they settled in Sitka, where Jim built his dream cabin on Kasiana Island for him and Tina to call home.

He treasured his life in Alaska, but never lost his love for his home of Ireland. He was proud to be an Irishman and often said one of his happiest moments was taking his wife and children to Nenagh, to share the places and memories from his childhood with them.

Jim was known for his quick wit, his infectious smile, his indefatigable work ethic, his kind and compassionate spirit, and of course, his lively Irish brogue. He loved his family, his dogs, the great outdoors, and the simple pleasures of hunting and fishing. He was well known and respected within the construction industry and even had the opportunity to start a company of his own with his son, Jimmy.

Jim and Tina lived a simple, happy life and were so blessed to find a love like they shared. Jim was a loving and devoted husband, an amazing father, an inspiration and mentor to many, and a friend to all.

Jim was preceded in death by his mother, Vera; his father, Christopher; his brother David; his father-in-law, Ski, his brother-in-law John, and his sister-in-law Edna.

He is survived by his wife, Tina; his three children, Toni, Jimmy, and Paddy; his brothers, Christopher and Desmond; his sisters, Maria, Joan, Deirdre, Fiona, and Jacqueline; his daughter-in-law, Twila; his mother-in-law, Barb; his brothers- and sisters-in-law, Brigid, Anna, Liam, Michael, Amy, Joe, Gary, Greg, Petula, Mary Ann, and Harry; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Due to COVID, the family will hold a small, private ceremony 2 p.m Friday, March 5, at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church. A larger celebration of his life will be held in late spring or early summer in Petersburg, where he will be laid to rest.

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


Login Form



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.