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)

Stephen W. Homer Dies In Massachusetts at 80


Stephen William “Steve” Homer

Stephen William “Steve” Homer died peacefully at home in Hamilton, Massachusetts, on August 24, 2021, after a long illness. He was 80 years old. A rock to many, he will be deeply missed for his sense of humor, his generous spirit, and his poetic soul. 

Steve Homer photographing his grandchildren.

Steve was born February 25, 1941, in Arlington, Massachusetts, to William Flagg Homer Jr. and Charlotte Lloyd Homer. He graduated from Arlington High School in 1957, Mount Hermon School for Boys in 1958, and Harvard College in 1962.

In 1959, he met Marcy Haugen on a blind date and they  were married in 1962. In 1968, they bought the 18th-century house they have lived in ever since. The family home was an endless source of interesting projects. Steve refinished all of its wide pine floors, re-plastered and painted its old walls, cleaned up the original hardware on its doors and cabinets, and re-glazed its windows. He took equal pleasure in its surroundings, and was an avid gardener and birder. His love of birds and flowers, which he inherited from his grandfather, was lifelong. Active in local government, he was a pillar of the Hamilton Historic District Commission and the town’s Finance Committee. 

Steve began his career at the New England Telephone Company and then moved to General Electric. From there, he became bursar of Harvard University, a position he held for 15 years. In 1993, after stints at Fidelity and 440 Financial Group, he decided to pursue his interest in carpentry and old buildings more seriously. He enrolled in a Preservation Carpentry program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston. Upon graduating at age 55, he bought the first of several Ford pickup trucks, and opened North Shore Restorations. Peabody Essex Museum, Stephen Phillips House in Salem, the Danvers Historical Society, and the Peabody Historical Society were among his many clients.

On one of his trips to Sitka to visit relatives, he led a window restoration workshop at the Sheldon Jackson Campus.

Steve was an honorable, kind, and humble man. A thoughtful neighbor, he was a friend to many, both young and old. He was a dear husband, an engaged and caring father and, to his seven grandchildren, the most amazing grandfather on Earth. He had a knack for knowing just what would be fun—he built skateboard ramps and climbing walls, chicken coops and a treehouse. He paraglided with those too small to go it alone. Not only was he captain of the family Whaler, he was the infamous “flipper of the tube.” 

Steve is survived by his wife, Martha Haugen Homer; his daughters, Susan Flagg Homer (David Atkin) of Brooklyn, New York, Karoline Homer Ryan (James Ryan) of Charlottesville, Virginia, and Kristen Lloyd Homer (James Poulson) of Sitka; and seven grandchildren, William, Samuel, Lucy, Benjamin, Adelaide, George, and Phebe.

A sister, Rosamond Homer Bunnell, died in 2012.

In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions may be made in memory of Stephen William Homer to the North Bennet Street School at 150 North Street, Boston, MA 02109, or to Care Dimensions, 75 Sylvan Street, Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923.

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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.