CHECKING IT OUT – Fia Turczynewycz, a visitor from Ohio, walks her dog,  Mani, past the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center this morning. Tlingit master carver Tommy Joseph’s newly completed yellow cedar Waas’go pole, pictured in the background, was moved out of the park’s carving shed Thursday to make room for Joseph’s latest project – carving a Tlingit canoe with the aid of an apprentice. Joseph’s Waas’go pole is the third version of the Haida pole in the past century – a reproduction of a reproduction made in the 1930s by George Benson, which is placed inside the visitor center. Rangers are working on approval for a location along the park’s trail system for the new pole. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Virginia W. Thomas Dies; Services to be Held July 10

Virginia W. Thomas


Services for Virginia W. Thomas, a Sitka resident for nearly 60 years, will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, July 10, at the Salvation Army.

Virginia died June 30 in Sitka. She was 80.

She was born Oct. 21, 1940, in Kake, the daughter of Marion Paul and John Smith.

She married Franklin Thomas on June 23, 1957, in Petersburg, and they came to Sitka in 1962. Here she worked in housekeeping for Sitka Community Hospital and SEARHC.

After her children were older she went back to school and earned her GED.

Among her pleasures were reading her Bible, taking walks, having picnics, taking the ferry to Juneau, and going on car rides. In her younger years she was involved in Alaska Native Sisterhood and the SEARHC Community Board.

“Virginia was a grandma to everyone and displayed her love through her storytelling with a witty sense of humor and with words of wisdom that will resonate with and be passed on by those who had the privilege of getting to know her and her strong-spirited nature and her loyalty and unconditional love. Her legacy will carry on in the hearts of us all,” her family wrote.

“She liked to stay hip to current trends and lingo in order to stay connected to the younger generation. She was the light of our lives and the glue that held us together,” the family said. “Her love and laughter will be missed greatly but cherished dearly. May her spirit dance in our hearts forever.”

Virginia was preceded in death by her sons, Frank Thomas Jr., Eddie Thomas and Danny Thomas, and by her daughter Marlene Jones.

She is survived by her husband, Franklin Thomas, of Sitka; her son David Thomas, Sitka; and daughter Millie Thomas, Ketchikan; granddaughters Gena Johnson and Tina Newton of Sitka and Amanda Jones of Durango, Colorado; and grandson Scott Thomas of Sitka.

Also surviving are her brother, Joe Smith of San Francisco, California; brother-in-law Joe Thomas and his wife Gini Lynn of Saxman; and sister-in-law Rosemary Thomas, of Sitka.

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 9-17-21)

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 10:47 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 875

Total statewide – 96,002

Total (cumulative) deaths – 454

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 2,207

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 14 new COVID cases in the past 7 days, a rate of 187.73 per 100,000 population. Alert status will be high until the rate per thousand is below 100. Case statistics are as of Thursday.

New cases in Sitka – 5

Cases in last 7 days – 16

Cumulative Sitka cases – 946

Positive cumulative test results in Sitka, as of 9/10/21 – 1,090

Deceased (cumulative) – 3

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

The State of Alaska DHSS reported Friday the following statistics on vaccinations for Sitka.

Partially vaccinated – 6,132 (83.03%)

Fully vaccinated – 5,991 (81.12%)

Total population (12+) – 7,385

Sitka has vaccinated fully vaccinated 89.85 percent 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:





September 2001

Alaska Pacific Bank has opened an account for donations to be directed to the families of the World Trade Center attack of Sept. 11. The account has been opened with a $2,000 contribution from the bank and an anonymous donor.

September 1971

At the Sitka Historical Society’s meeting Sunday, Mrs. Esther Billman of Sheldon Jackson College presented a “surprise package” of recent donations to the Sheldon Jackson Museum by Mr. Hugh Brady, youngest son of former Territorial Gov. John Brady.