Ruth L. Finsley, 97, Led Long, Adventurous Life

Ruth Loraine Finsley


Ruth Loraine Finsley, who moved to Sitka in 1960, died August 21 at the Sitka Pioneers Home, where she had resided for the past four years.  She was 97 and had lived a long, adventurous, good life.

Ruth was born February 26, 1924, in Havre, Montana, the daughter of William Clyde James and Florence Etta (Gradolf) James. She graduated from high school in Hillsboro, Oregon.

 On April 18, 1944, Ruth married Fred Henry Finsley, in Vancouver, Washington. They lived in Forest Grove, Oregon, until 1955, when they moved to Crescent City and Eureka, California.

In July 1960 the family moved to Sitka, and Ruth has lived here, with times in logging camps, ever since.

During her lifetime, Ruth often cooked for logging crews in the various remote logging camps where they resided. Her long-time professional career was first helping out and then taking over full responsibility and operation of the kitchen at Sheldon Jackson College. 

In May 1988, after more than two decades of service, SJC presented her with the Christian Citizenship award. She retired in 1989.

Throughout the years in Sitka, she has been an active member of the Sitka United Methodist Church. For years, Ruth was instrumental in fundraising events and became well known for her cinnamon rolls, seafood chowder and grilled teriyaki king salmon, sold during Alaska Day celebrations.

She LOVED fishing, which she did most of her free time, and ALWAYS fished the Sitka Salmon Derby.

Ruth was pre-deceased by her husband Fred H. Finsley and her daughters Janet Livingston and Christine Lee.

She is survived by her daughters Kathleen Finsley of Sitka, and Jean Thompson of Anacortes, Washington;  grandchildren JoAnn Burrett of Seattle, Washington, Hilary Poole of Juneau, Fred Dunlap of Anchorage, Travis Beauchamp of Everett, Washington, and Jessica (Beauchamp) Lew of West Linn, Oregon.

Twelve great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren also survive.

A schedule of services hasn’t been determined.

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At a Glance

(updated 8-17-22)

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 12:15 pm Wednesday, August 17.

New cases as of Wednesday: 1,444

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 277,007

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,296

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,843

Case Rate per 100,000 – 198.11

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "High.'' Case statistics are as of Wednesday.

Case Rate per 100,000 – 211.20

Cases in last 7 days – 18

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,022

Hospitalizations (to date) – 29

Deceased (cumulative) – 7

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






August 2002

 Electric department officials are asking Sitkans to conserve electricity over the next few days while the city recovers from a three-hour power outage caused by a mudslide knocking out a span of the main hydropower transmission line near Heart Lake.


August 1972

Legionnaires of the American Legion, Sitka Post No. 13, have been appointed to key committees in the state department. They are George H. Inman Jr., Carroll E. Kohler, Raymond C. Perkins and Edward J. Flynn.