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)

Paul G. Arvin, Longtime Sitka Resident, Dies at 85

Paul Gilbert Arvin

Paul Gilbert Arvin, a member of the community since moving here in 1963, passed away Jan. 15, 2021, at the age of 85.

He was born Sept. 11, 1935, in Jamaica, Long Island, New York.  His father, Earl Francis Arvin had been discharged from the U.S. Navy at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, and it was in Brooklyn that he met and in 1929 married professional secretary and seamstress Lillian Olsen. The couple was blessed with the birth of daughter Carol in 1931, and son Paul Gilbert Arvin in 1935. Paul’s middle name came from Earl’s brother Gilbert, who was killed in action in France during World War I.

The family moved shortly thereafter to Camden, New Jersey, before moving cross country to settle in El Monte, California. Paul graduated from Rosemead High School with a passion for math and sciences. Early years of cars were augmented in Paul’s fascination with trucks. He learned from a neighbor who was a truck driver how to drive a semi-truck and trailer before he learned to drive a car. Besides his favorite freightliner, Paul worked for several years driving a cement truck.

Paul married his high school sweetheart, Patricia Fenton, in Yuma, Arizona, in May 1954, and they were blessed by the birth of Roy in San Gabriel, California, and Stephen in Covina, California.

The summer heat and humidity always bothered Paul (he would later find he had sweat glands over only 20% of his body). So in 1957 a move was made to Edmonds, Washington, where Paul gained employment with Boeing, as an electrician. Also in 1957, the couple was blessed by the birth of Thomas in Ballard, Washington.

Paul’s pride and joy was a 1957 Chevy Bel Air baby blue car with white hardtop that was awesome – or was until the boys drove it in reverse down the driveway, across the street and lawn into the neighbor’s kitchen.

After years of personal research, Paul decided the most temperate place to live was in the Rain Forest of Southeast Alaska. In 1963 the family took a flight on a Pan Am 707 from Seattle to Metlakatla, where they changed planes to an Alaska Coastal Ellis PBY, which then still landed in the water and pulled up on the “turn-around” ramp at Katlian Street and Halibut Point Road. The site’s now a skate park. The PBYs were the same planes that were stationed at the U.S. Naval Operating Base on Japonski Island during World War II. Paul was fascinated by aircraft and could give you the “N” numbers of all the B727-100, 200 and combi aircraft that Alaska Airlines flew in those early years. 

Paul gained employment at radio station KSEW as an engineer and announcer, and the affiliated Presbyterian Church gained a sound system operator at the same time.

One of the most repeated words of advice was a quote from the late Rev. Gavin of the Presbyterian Church, “When God closes a door, He always opens another.”

When the door closed for KSEW, Paul began working on electronics at Totem Electric. His work on radios took him out to logging camps and aboard fishing boats and tugs to do repairs. Eventually, he would be employed as a security guard at Alaska Lumber and Pulp, moving into the role of shift foreman in the finishing room by the time ALP closed in 1993. At the closure, a drawing was held for two Alaska Airlines tickets, and Paul won. He was thrilled as he was a big fan of planes. 

Paul was also treasurer of ALPERA, the employees recreational association. He was responsible for collecting the money from vending machines and taking it to the bank, which meant, his children said, that on Saturday mornings they would be around the kitchen table helping sort out hundreds of coins before taking them to the bank. This money was used for the annual ALPERA Picnic.

Paul also was a lieutenant in the Rescue Division of Sitka Volunteer Fire Department, serving the community with the Ambulance Service. He also taught EMT, which would later serve him at the Sitka Police Department as a 911 dispatcher. And in the early 1970s he was a Reserve Police Officer.

Paul was a Sitka Community Hospital Board member, serving as chairman in 1977-1984, and taking a large  role in the rebuilding of the hospital. 

Paul met and married Faye Richter, and their combined children now included Ronald, Shirlene, Bonnie, Ronda, Thomas, Teresa, Stephen and Roy. They would be blessed by the birth of Jennifer in 1969.

Paul loved being able to talk   in Morse Code to other ham radio operators around the world. He first became a licensed ham radio operator in June 1959, and in the 1970s he had a complete “ham shack” with assembled Heath Kits. An inverted V antenna on a large cedar pole was first installed at his Observatory Street Home and in 1974 Paul would raise a 50-foot Rohn Sectional Tower,4 Element Horizontal Beam Antenna.

On KL7FBU, Paul could raise and talk to his father in Crescent City on the Northern California Coast. At the time of  his passing, he was still active in the local Amateur Radio Club SHARK – Sitka Ham Amateur Radio Klub. One of Paul’s great joys was getting his Amateur Extra Class Ham Radio Operator License in February 2018, Paul’s call sign didn’t change by this, but as a Ham he was able to randomly look for a Vanity call sign, done by computer. To his surprise, KL7PA came up. He was very pleased.

His Dad, Earl, was a very successful Sunday School teacher, which drew Paul to a deep walk with the Lord. With all those children, he was inspired to bring them to the Church of the Nazarene for a Sunday School attendance contest. He never left.

He is survived by all his children and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

“As God closed the door to his earthly life, God opened the door to his Eternal Home.”

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.