Memorial to be Sept. 25 For Denise Jean Hodnett

Denise Jean Hodnett


Former Sitka resident Denise Jean Hodnett passed away unexpectedly on August 27, 2021, one day after her 66th birthday. She was visiting a daughter in Oklahoma at the time of her death. 

Denise was the middle daughter born to Eddielee and Betty Hodnett, in Springfield, Oregon, August 26, 1955. 

In 1964, her father took a job working for Alaska Pulp Corp. and the family moved to Sitka. Denise attended Sitka schools, graduating from Sitka High School in 1973. After high school, Denise worked miscellaneous jobs around Sitka, until leaving with her best friend, Suzan Bowen, on a cross country trip to Kentucky, where she lived and attended college.

In 1977, Denise returned to Sitka and started working at Alaska Pulp Corp., where she met Gary Olson. They were married on Dec. 30, 1978, in Sitka.  The following spring they welcomed their first daughter, Danielle, followed by their second daughter, Galadriel, in 1981. The family made their home in Sitka, enjoying camping, fishing, local sports, and traveling all while being surrounded by family and friends.

In 1987, Denise began her career with SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. She continued her career there for 29 years before retiring from the HR department. She enjoyed her work environment, and created lifelong friendships with many of the people she worked with.

After her divorce, Denise became involved with the Sitka Emblem Club and Sitka Elks Lodge. Sitka Emblem was a huge part of her life, even becoming Emblem president in 2008. She attended many conventions, meeting new Emblem friends across the country. Emblem allowed her to travel and see many new places. Though she moved to Washington, she remained heavily involved, and continued to attend State Conventions and Workshops. She leaves behind many Emblem Sisters across the state and country. Beyond Emblem Club, the Sitka Elks Lodge was near and dear to her heart, as she went through the chairs and became Exalted Ruler in 2012-2013. She was patriotic through and through.

In 2012, she was thrilled to be present and witness the birth of her first grandchild.  She also got to witness the birth of her third grandchild in April 2021. Along with her two daughters, her grandchildren, great niece and nephews, were the light of her life. She would never pass up a moment to facetime, send cards and gifts, or visit them.

Denise retired and moved to Port Townsend, Washington, in 2016, to live life on a farm. Here, she was near her mother and sister, Debbie. Being on a farm, she quickly adapted and learned how to work a riding mower, fix things and garden, and thoroughly enjoyed the slower paced life of a retiree. In 2018 she welcomed her latest fur baby, Cedar. He was her devoted companion and brought her much joy. A few months later, her sister Lani also moved to Washington, and all the Hodnett sisters were together again.

Denise always lived life to the fullest. Never holding back a hug, smile, an opportunity to travel, or an “I love you.” She cared about her community, and was always willing to pitch in at fundraisers, coaching young kids and being a good role model.

Denise was preceded in death by her father, Eddielee Hodnett, in-laws Peggy and Henry Moy, and brother-in-law, Mark Mikelski.

She leaves behind her mother, Betty; her daughters, Danielle (Max), and Galadriel (Ethorn), as well as daughters from another mother, AmyJo, Tatiana and Kamala; her two loving sisters Deborah (Bill), and Lani;  ex-husband, Gary Olson; sisters-in-law Twyla and Dawn; nieces Jamie, Melissa, and Billie Sue (Aaron); nephews Michael (Tracy), Brian, Eric, Nicolas, Michael and Gaelen; and the father of her grandson, Ricardo.  

Her grandchildren include Tabitha, Cody, Atlas, Reece, Alex and Braden. She also had special great-nephews and great-niece, Lincoln, Eddie and Hadley.

Numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins also survive.

A memorial service is scheduled 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Sitka Elks Lodge, with reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sitka Emblem Club #142, P.O. Box 142, Sitka, Alaska 99835.

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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.