LONG LAYOVER – Bill Foster checks out the 40-foot Russian-flagged inflatable catamaran, Iskatel, that’s been hauled out near the UAS parking lot for the past two years. The pandemic put a halt to the international sailing trip that began in Russia, but the skipper, Anatoly Kazakevich, who recently spoke to the Sentinel, is hopeful about resuming the adventure in the spring and sailing to Siberia. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Life, Love of Gigi Buchholz Celebrated


Georgia “Gigi” Maria  (Kite) Buchholz



Gigi had a smile that was contagious, a heart that never stopped loving, and a soul you could tell anything to. She was a mom, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, caregiver, lover, and best friend. She touched many lives and many friends became family along the way. Gigi loved her family more than anything and will be greatly missed by all those who knew her. 

Georgia “Gigi” Maria Kite was born to Melody (Kite) Owens January 6, 1977, at Sitka Community Hospital. She grew up in Sitka, which was always her home. She received her GED and attended classes at UAS.

She had two sons, Anthony and Devin, with her former husband Dan Buchholz. She found her calling as she became a mom and she put her kids as top priority. Her greatest joy was watching her boys grow; she was their best friend, someone they could share anything with and get any advice from, teaching them to make life decisions, happy to help. She made every ball game and concert, dragging half the family and maybe even a couple of friends along. 

Her family lived in Anchorage for a year and later moved to Washington for seven years. Gigi’s time was focused on her family; she loved all the time spent with them, sharing her passions to drive and enjoy life. They explored Washington, Oregon and Idaho and she was well-versed on the road. “Before there was Tom-Tom or Internet on phones, we had Gi-Gi. We could call her and be, like, we’re here and she could direct us back to the freeway or get us back en route to our destination,” her family said.

She also knew all the hidden gems and would recommend places to eat or have a good time. Over the years her wanderlust taught her boys some key values; first, the grass isn’t always greener over there. Secondly, that it’s important to slow down and enjoy the small things and places. Showing off the beauty of icicles on Snoqualmie Falls in February and April’s colorful tulips in Mt. Vernon. 

Gigi and her boys returned to Sitka and she remembered the things she loved about her hometown, the people and close-knit community. She began working at the Daily Sitka Sentinel as the front desk receptionist and circulation manager. She found her niche at the Sentinel where her skills were put to good use – not only did she know everyone, but she could tell you about their family, love interests, and where they lived but most importantly, she greeted everyone with her beautiful smile. Whether they were trying to find or needed information, or had even dealt with a loss of a loved one, she always took the time to listen and get them what they needed.

Gigi was one of the most caring people you’ve met, she could tell when someone was down or needed a friend and when she asked “how are you doing” she wanted to know and wouldn’t stop until she had you smiling.

She took after her namesake, her maternal grandma Georgia Kite, who was a “mom” to many and opened her home to those in need. Gigi lived these values; she opened her home to Allison, who became a sister to her boys, the daughter Gigi never had. Allison also blessed Gigi with a granddaughter, Korina, who brought her great joy. Her love was so great she had to share it with the world and over the years Gigi would mentor and care for many other kids beyond her own. She loved so many of the children that were a part of her life whether they were her own nieces, nephews, cousins, Sentinel kids, or her own children’s friends. 

Gigi was the glue that held her family together – she kept in touch with so many people and always knew what was happening in everyone’s life. She was always up for a late-night call, tracking answers down, giving the best advice, the ultimate problem solver.

Spending time with loved ones was important and she made family gatherings a priority. She loved the sun, weekly dinners with her boys at her sister’s house, and family picnics. Gigi made her signature Swedish meatballs every year for Christmas Eve dinner. Her favorite spot was the Far North Shelter and Dad’s back deck that has sun for hours. Even when she felt terrible, she loved the feel of the sun on her back.

She was beyond honest. If you didn’t want to know all the personal details, then you didn’t ask Gigi because she’d lay it all out on the line. She was loyal, strong, and stubborn, never giving up and always fighting.

Gigi was someone you wanted in your corner when times got tough; she fought fiercely for those she loved, and she’d always pick you up and make you smile again. Gigi was a mother to some and forgiver to all. She was one of the most forgiving people you would ever meet. 

She passed away August 15, 2021, at Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage. She left a hole in the heart of all who knew her.

“Her presence will be greatly missed and we’ll never be able to replace the love she gave to all of us,” her family said. “We know God only takes the best and we all have a guardian angel watching over us now.’’

The family would like to invite all in the community who knew Gigi to join in a celebration of her life at 1 p.m. Saturday, October 23, 2021, at Halibut Point Recreation Area Main Shelter. Those attending are invited to bring a dish and story of Gigi to share.

“If you have photos of Gigi we would love to include them at the celebration,” the family said. 

Those wishing to send condolences, assist with funeral costs, or have questions can contact Melody Owens or The Boys at 307 Peterson Ave., Sitka, AK 99835, 907-623-7945.

Gigi is survived by sons Anthony Buchholz and Devin Buchholz, of Sitka; daughter and granddaughter Allison Ball and Korina Pruitt of Fritz Creek, Alaska; parents Melody and Ronald Owens, Sitka; and siblings Lillian Owens (spouse Ian Herbert) of Sitka, Shannon Johnson of Elko, Nevada, Donald Owens of Juneau, Sheila (spouse Calvin) Green of Spanaway, Washington, and Richard Owens of Longview, Washington.

Aunts and uncles are Kimberly Hendrickson of Juneau, Terry (spouse Sherrl) Kite of Everett, Washington, and Robert Kite and Barbara Geno, both of Sitka.

Cousins include Tiffany (spouse Adam) Cochran of McDonough, Georgia; Krystal Davis of Missoula, Montana; Kathleen Geno of Anchorage; Jamie Eucenda of Birch Bay, Washington; and Andrea Skorka of Blaine, Washington.

Also surviving are many other dear uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends who became family along the way.

Honorary pallbearers are some of her kids Anthony Buchholz, Devin Buchholz, Allison Ball, Kenny Chadwick, Trever Hammack, Ryan Harris, Mason Shearer, Vaughn Blankenship, Eric Coonradt Jr., Isaiah Jensen, Joren Yocum, Cody Bergman, Izaac Roth, and Keaton Koelling. Over the years Gigi opened her heart and home to many people and her legacy will live on through all her kids.

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 10-26-21)

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 10:02 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 749

Total statewide – 130,482

Total (cumulative) deaths – 688

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 2,749

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

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 30 new resident COVID cases in the past 7 days, a rate of 351.99 per 100,000 population. Alert status will be high until the rate per thousand is below 100. Case statistics are as of Sunday.

New cases in Sitka – 4 

Cases in last 7 days – 30

Cumulative Sitka cases – 1,088

Cumulative non-resident cases – 102

Unique positive cumulative test results in Sitka, as of 10/22/21 – 1,210

Deceased (cumulative) – 5

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

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October 2001

Bart Meyer earned first place in the Sitka Sportsman’s Association’s annual Alaska Day Biathlon. He was followed by Jeremy McLaughlin, Paul Lashway, Greg Horton and Jack Ozment.

October 1971

The Alaska Day parade was one of the longest ... Alaska Airlines’float with a giant golden samovar and the New Archangel Dancers aboard won first place; the Sitka High band and drill team won second; the Pioneer Bar float won third, and honorable mentions went to the Coast Guard float and Mt. Edgecumbe High band.