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)

Bobbie Lee Whitson, 92, Passes Away in Arizona

Bobbie Lee (Allen) Whitson


Bobbie Lee (Allen) Whitson,  92, formerly of Sitka, passed away Tuesday morning, July 6, 2021, surrounded by her loving family.

She was born Oct. 9, 1928, the youngest of four children born to Oscar Allen and Edna Stone Allen, on a “Sheep Ranch” in Colcord, Oklahoma. Unfortunately, only three months after giving birth to Bobbie, her mother passed away due to complications from pneumonia. Bobbie couldn’t handle cow’s milk, and the family thought they might lose her too, but her Uncle John came up with the brilliant idea to give her goat’s milk, and the baby survived to live almost 93 years.

She graduated from Jay High School in Jay, Oklahoma, and on November 26, 1947, Bobbie married Joe Raleigh Whitson, a handsome man with a big laugh and a tremendous sense of humor.

Bobbie, Joe, and their five children laughed and loved from Oklahoma to Wyoming to Oregon before settling in Sitka in September 1967. She co-owned a fabric store, and later was the crafts manager at Ben Franklin until she retired in 2012.

She was a member of Women of the Moose and the Emblem Club. She also commercially fished with her husband Joe for many years on their boat the Sea Trek.

After decades raising their family here, Bobbie and Joe are still remembered as a couple who loved their friends, took solace on the water and in the natural beauty of Alaska and, above all else, for loving their family.

Bobbie’s life was full of joy, but not without loss as well. Bobbie lost her husband Joe in 1999, and her youngest son, Duane, in 2005. These were hard blows to her, but Bobbie dedicated herself to spending time with the family she had left in this world, particularly with her “Grands.”

In her retirement, she moved to Burlington, Washington, where she was part of Quilters by the River, and traveled with her family members’ “Geezers on Wheels” RV caravan to visit her extended family, and to experience the beauty of America. She came to enjoy the warmth and desert beauty of Yuma, Arizona, and relocated there in 2019 with her daughter Jodi. She joined the Freedom Baptist Church, and reveled in having lots of family and friends visit during the winter months, where they entertained each other with remembered stories of their lives together.

Bobbie was an avid quilter, and she made it a family tradition to have a quilt ready for every family event. She spearheaded the creation of dozens of quilts for the many marriages, births, graduations, and other important milestones for her very extensive family. Now Bobbie, together again with her husband Joe, and son Duane, is making quilts out of starlight and dreams.

Bobbie was preceded in death by her parents Oscar and Edna, stepmother Lottie, brothers Richard Allen and Otis Allen, sisters Doris Weygand, Loneta Asher, Beatrice Enlow, husband Joe Whitson, and son Duane Whitson and son-in-law Joe Mettler.

Bobbie is survived by her sisters, Ethel Krier, Lorene Reece, Elnora Burton and Patricia Bingham; daughters Jodi Mettler and Kay (John) Harrison; sons Rick Whitson (Shelly) and Danny Whitson (Julene Howard); daughter-in-law Kelley Whitson; 19 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.


Services will be held August 21 at Valley Baptist Church in Sedro-Woolley, Washington.

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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.