One-Time Sitka Resident Ezera J. Rank Dies at 16

Ezera James Rank

Ezera James Rank was born into this world on August 6, 2005, in Pullman, Washington, to Melissa Robbins and James Barber Jr.

On June 30, 2022, Ezera was taken from this world in a fatal car accident in Anchorage, a little over a month shy of his 17th birthday.

Ezera came to Sitka at age two with his parents and siblings. He attended Baranof Elementary and Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School. He moved to Anchorage  in 2014,  where he eventually attended Bartlett High School. He then moved to Hoquiam, Washington, in 2021, and attended Aberdeen High School.

Ezera was most proud of his work as a teaching assistant with the special ed class. It was told that he always made the students smile and feel as included as anyone else. He took great pride in that. 

He loved Sitka and all the beauty it had to offer. When he wasn’t in school he was outside enjoying everything our beautiful town has to offer. He was a  Tlingit, a member of the Kiksadi clan (raven/frog). 

 In all of his places he called home, he managed to find the best people and enjoy his life to the fullest. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, reading, long boarding, and finding the beauty everywhere he went. 

Ezera was loved deeply by his parents. He will remain one of the brightest lights in their lives as he lives now in their hearts.

He leaves a huge hole in the hearts of his family and friends, who were always entertained by his smile, stories and sense of humor. He truly brought life and light into the lives of everyone he knew and was always there for the people he cared for. He protected his loved ones fiercely.

His relationships with his siblings were unmatched. Family meant everything to Ezera. As he grew, so did his family. He thoroughly enjoyed spending lots of time with his two younger brothers doing the things boys do. And then of course there was his older sister Summer. She had wished on a shooting star one lonely night in 2004 for a companion, a sibling, someone to share her life with. From the time he was born  she called him her “wish on a star” baby. 

As Summer got older,  Ezera and his little brother Asa started spending more and more time together, eventually becoming closer than any two other siblings his family had ever seen.

Ezera was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Boyd Didrickson; maternal great-grandparents Everett Webb and Phyllis Webb; paternal great-grandparents Chuck and Betty Bishop; and his uncle Terry Bishop.

He is survived by his mother, Melissa Rank, of Sitka; father James Barber Jr. of Anchorage;  grandmothers Judith Robbins of Mt. Vernon, Washington,  and Maryellen Bishop of Hoquiam; siblings Summer Robbins of Sitka, Asa Rank of Hoquiam, Tristan Bacon of Sitka, and Zoriah Barber Newcastle of Anchorage; and nephew Raiden Svilar, Sitka.

“He will be forever in our thoughts and from the depths of his beautiful blue eyes, his love will live on in our hearts forever,” his family wrote.

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At a Glance

(updated 5-30-2023)

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 Tuesday, May 30.

New cases as of Tuesday: 165

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 298,078

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,468

Case Rate per 100,000 – 22.64

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 58.70

Cases in last 7 days – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,424

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






June 2003

Sitka Community Hospital board of directors has asked SEARHC to stop providing most health care services to non-beneficiary patients. “During the collaborative process SEARHC has said they’re happy to do anything they can do to help,” said SCH Administrator Bill Patten. “This is one of the things they can do – not provide services to non-beneficiaries.”



June 1973

What began 50 years ago in a Methodist parsonage in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will be celebrated Sunday in Sitka. Les and Caroline Yaw’s four children invite the couple’s many, many friends to attend a golden wedding anniversary reception at the Centennial Building.