TREE LIGHTING – Sitkans gather next to a decorated spruce tree across from City Hall Saturday. Scores turned out for the Chamber of Commerce’s holiday celebration that included caroling, a tree lighting hosted by Mrs. Santa Claus, and remarks by Chamber of Commerce member Loren Olsen and City Administrator John Leach encouraging people to shop in town during the holiday season. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Services Scheduled For Evelyn (Sam) Roehl, 99

Evelyn (Sam) Roehl


Evelyn (Sam) Roehl, a longtime residen, passed away peacefully with her son Ken at her side early on the morning of Oct. 28, 2021, in Lynnwood, Washington. She was 99.

A viewing at St. Michael’s Cathedral will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at St. Michael’s, with a burial serve at 11:30 a.m. at Sitka Nation Cemetery. Immediately afterward a celebration of her life will be held at the ANB Founders Hall. “We are limited to 50 people at a time in the hall due to Covid-19 restrictions,” a family spokesperson said. “\ Please come by, have a boxed meal and visit for a bit.”

Evelyn was born in Sleetmute on Dec. 3, 1921, to Hans and Marva (nee Edifan) Halverson. Most of her adolescence was spent in the Bethel area. She had her daughter, Elizabeth there.

She is survived by her son Kenneth (Kenny) Sam; daughters Elizabeth (Betty) Parent and Laura Sabatis; stepchildren Edwin Jr., Diana Christine, Theresa, Paula and Darlene Roehl and daughter-in-law Amy Sam. Her many grandchildren include Brian and Siobhan Wescott (Elizabeth); step-grandchildren Nicholas Hewitt (wife Marissa); and Jacqueline Middleton (husband Austin) and Gregory Hewitt; and her step-great-grandchild Luka Hewitt.

She also is survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews and friends in Sitka and other parts of Alaska.

 During her over 99 years here on earth, Evelyn survived more than a few dark and seemingly hopeless moments. Those who knew her deepest agree she lived through several completely different lives. The common thread through all of them was her deep and abiding faith which carried her through the most hopeless of times. She was a bright light to all who knew her and will be deeply missed.

She contracted tuberculosis in the mid 1940s and was placed in the Seward Sanitorium for 5 ½ years. She confided to her son how after 5 years there she prayed to God if He would heal her she would become a nurse. Her prayer was answered, and less than 6 months later she was released and went on to be a part of the second graduating class of HVH (also known as LPN) at Mt. Edgecumbe School. Upon graduation she started her nursing career at the Public Health Service of Sitka, which became SEARHC. She quickly discovered she loved working in the operating room, assisting the surgeons. She finished her long career at the Pioneers Home in Sitka.

 Evelyn was a workaholic, working two or three jobs most of her life. This work ethic so impressed the bank, she was given a loan for her house on Etolin Street in the early 1960s. It was unheard of in those days for a woman to get a bank loan. She resided in that house for over 30 years.

She met her first husband, John Sam Jr., at the time she went to work at PHS. They were married until his death in 1987. They adopted Ken in 1962 when he was one day old. She frequently related how John’s family, especially his mother Isabel, accepted her in a way she had never known, and how she finally felt she truly belonged. Grandma Isabel was devoutly Orthodox and Evelyn became a very active member of St. Michael’s sisterhood. She drew much enjoyment from teaching Sunday School at St. Michael’s during the mid-late 1960s and early 1970s.

 Her happiest moments were when she was cooking and caring for friends and family. She loved being Auntie to her many nieces and nephews and was godmother to several of them. She loved picking berries, using them to make jams and jellies. She was a great listener with a calming spirit.

She moved with her second husband, Edwin Roehl, to Anchorage in 1995. Upon his death is 2007 she moved back to Sitka, which she had always considered her home. In 2013, when she could no longer live alone, she moved to Washington State to reside with Ken and his wife.

Evelyn received her last wish. God graciously granted Ken to be at her side when she took her last breath, family members said.

 They also expressed gratitude for all the prayers and visits during her last weeks of life.

Those who want to bring food for the celebration, please contact Roxanne Burkhart at 907-209-0753 or Amy Sam at 206-909-7773. Due to restrictions, all food will be packed and served in food “box” style.

 Memorial contributions to St. Michael’s Cathedral in lieu of flowers are greatly appreciated by Evelyn’s family.

Login Form



Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 12-3-21)

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 10:21 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 312

Total statewide – 146,558

Total (cumulative) deaths – 853

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,117

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

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 13 new resident COVID cases in the past 7 days, a rate of 152.52 per 100,000 population. Case statistics are as of Thursday.

New cases in Sitka – 2

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 1,142

Cumulative non-resident cases – 102

Unique positive cumulative test results in Sitka, as of 11/26/21 – 1,266

Deceased (cumulative) – 5

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

• • •





December 2001

Photo caption: Cathy Hanson shovels snow off the sidewalk in front of Russell’s today. What started as a few flakes Monday evening had mounted to an estimated half-foot by noon today. More was forecast but rain is possible Wednesday.

December 1971 

Several fish fatalities resulted Monday night when a car apparently went out of control, ran off Halibut Point Road and slammed into the rear of Sitka Petland Store. Vibrations shattered fish tanks, and several hundred dollars worth of tropical fish were casualties.