Services Scheduled For Michael J. Motti, 76

Michael J. Motti

Michael J. Motti took his final walk into the forest on Friday, November 4, 2022, on Verstovia Mountain trail in Sitka.

Mike was born November 4, 1946, in Valley Stream, New York, to Alice May Frering and Joseph Willis Motti.

He arrived in Alaska around 1952 and lived on a family homestead near Wasilla.

He graduated from West Anchorage High School in 1964, and attended the University of Oregon, Alaska Pacific University, California State University-Chico, and the University of Alaska Southeast.

Mike joined the Unites States Marine Corps in August 1966. He was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, and a Rifle Expert Badge. Mike served in the Marine Corps Reserve until 1972. He was appointed as a Federal Protective Officer for the United States Government in 1971.

After the USMC Reserves, Mike was employed by Alyeska Ski Resort as a ski patroller, providing aid and assistance on the slopes for many years. He was the outstanding ski patroller in the 1975-76 and 1979-80 seasons

In 1980 he arrived in Sitka. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service as the Chatham Area helicopter specialist and area safety technician until 1986, and was credited with helping develop the Boating Safety and Firearms Safety Maintenance and Use Manuals.

In 1986, Mike began his long tenure with SEARHC in Sitka, serving in several positions. He was instrumental in developing the Medevac Program that served many communities in Southeast Alaska, and was director of the Flight Program for the SEARHC Aeromedical Service. He also served as the EMS coordinator for SEARHC. He retired from SEARHC in 2012.

During his 40 plus years of volunteer service with the Sitka Fire Department, Mike served as an EMT, EMS lieutenant, EMT instructor, SAR member, Search and Rescue instructor, and K9 handler to SAR dogs Jaeger, Styker, and Radar. He eventually worked his way up to Incident Commander. He served in this position until his death. 

He was a member of the Mountain Rescue Association, starting in 2002. Mike joined the Alaska Incident Management Team in 2012 and held the following certifications: Planning Section Chief, Situation Unit Leader, Resource Unit Leader, and Debrief Specialist. He was qualified as an instructor for Initial Response Incident Commander, as an Arizona Inland Search Manager, and a Search Incident Planning Section Chief.

After joining Wilderness Medical Associates, Mike traveled to a number of locations, both in and out of Alaska, to teach. In 2018, Southeast Region EMS asked Mike to take his expertise, skills and teaching experience to Thailand.

His Sitka friends, co-workers and neighbors could often see Mike hiking on area trails, including the Cross Trail, Gavin Hill, and Harbor Mountain, with a four-legged furry companion.

Mike volunteered at aid stations with the Alpine Adventure Run, and would often carry 5 gallons of water up Gavin Hill to aid the runners.

He loved hiking, backpacking, teaching, life-long learning, his dogs, watching the Seahawks play, and more than anything, his wife Susan.

He is survived by his wife, Susan V. Royce, her children Karen Royce and Daryl Royce (Kelly Fehrman), grandsons Trevor James Kluting and Logan Michael Kluting, his Search and Rescue dog, Radar, and his extended Sitka family.

The interment with military honors will be held at Sitka National Cemetery 2 p.m. Monday, November 14, for family and invited friends and guests.

A celebration of life will be held to honor this great and giving man, at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 20, at the Sea Mountain Golf Course. All are welcome to share in this celebration of Mike’s life. Those attending are welcome to bring an appetizer to share. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Sitka Fire Department Search and Rescue Team. Dress like Mike!

A memorial bench will be placed on a local trail in honor of Mike and currently a fund is being established to support this project. Donations can be dropped off at the Sitka Fire Department.

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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

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 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

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 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






September 2003

After the season-opening Ketchikan High School swim meet last week, Sitka High swimmer Matt Way is ranked first in the state in the100-meter breaststroke, while Carrington Gorman is ranked second in the 50-meter freestyle.



September 1973

From Around Town: Sitka Historical Society met Sunday at the Centennial Building with the people who had hosted the Historical Room during tour ship visits here. The ladies of the society served a nice Russian Tea from their samovar, and passed around Russian tea cakes.