Fisherman Jake Phillips Dies in Sitka at Age 91

Jack Duane “Jake” Phillips

Jack Duane “Jake” Phillips, a well respected Southeast Alaska fisherman,  died Feb. 9 at the Sitka Pioneers Home. He was 91.

As he requested, no services will be held.

Jake was born June 11, 1931, at St. Ann’s Hospital in Juneau. His parents,  John F. and Ida M. (Barber) Phillips, worked at the Chichagof mine, and Jake’s early years were at the mine. When it closed, the family moved to Sitka.

Jake worked many jobs as a young man – crewed on  a freighter, was a taxi driver, construction worker, and fisherman.

Jake met Nancy Hamilton, his beloved wife, while driving taxi cab in Sitka, a winter job when he wasn’t fishing. Jake needed a boat puller for salmon trolling, and one of her sisters suggested Nancy go. Jake asked Nancy’s mom for permission to hire Nancy, and she gave her approval. Jake and Nancy would marry and fish together for over 50 years.

They fished for salmon, tuna, halibut, and black cod from San Diego to Kodiak Island, but mostly in the outside waters of Southeast Alaska. Jake’s boats, over the years, include the fishing vessels Lila A, Kruzof, Aloha, Nancy K, Shamrock, and Lea. Jake kept his boats in good operating condition, ready to fish.

In 1961, Jake and Nancy moved to Pelican. Along with fishing, they bought the Pelican Wet Goods and operated the liquor store and steam baths.

They had many friends in the fishing industry, Alaskans, other Americans, Canadians, and Japanese. Seafood processors knew his fish were well-cared for and kept on ice until delivered.

Jake served on the Advisory Panel of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, appointed in 1979, during the extension of the Exclusive Economic Zone offshore fisheries of Alaska.

He was a founding member of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. Jake urged involvement in fishery management affecting fishing communities ways of life.

Jake enjoyed hunting and trapping, anchoring his boat in the coastal areas of West Chichagof Island, and Lisianski Inlet and Strait – activities he shared with his sons. He enjoyed his time at Sunnyside and Phonograph Cove.

In his later years, Jake loved reminiscing with his sons John and James, and grandsons, and enjoyed his great-grandchildren.

He was a member of the Sitka Elks Lodge.

Jake and Nancy returned to Sitka in 2004. She died on April 21, 2021.

Also preceding Jake in death was his son John C. Phillips.

Survivors include his son James E. Phillips (Patricia), of Pelican; daughters Joanne Glendenning (Stuart), of Battleground, Washington, and Lynn Ann Phillips; and daughters-in-law Penney Phillips of Juneau and Maura O’Brien Phillips of Petersburg.

His grandchildren are Crystal Stoner (Dennis), Juneau; James D. Phillips (Kyla Westcott), Sitka; Jordan E. Phillips (Mercedes Piedra Phillips), Sitka; Frederick C. Phillips (Shari), Sitka; Carl J. Phillips, Pelican; Jeb Phillips (Angela Bertagnoli), Petersburg; and Aaron Phillips (Carolyn Kvernvik), Petersburg.

His sister Bonnie Grant (Fred) lives in Sitka (children Erika and Lael), and his brother George Casey Phillips (children Ken and Jake) lives in Pelican.

His great-grandchildren are Rebecca, William, David, Aurora, Nola, Darren, Carlynn, Braydon, Blayre and Isla.

Also surviving are a great-great-grandson and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family suggests memorial donations be made to a favorite charity, or to Catholic Community Services (Meals on Wheels program).

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At a Glance

(updated 3-14-2023)

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, March 14.

New cases as of Tuesday: 448

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 294,791

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,449

Case Rate per 100,000 – 61.60

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 – 46.90

Cases in last 7 days – 4

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,293

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






March 2003

Photo caption: Members of the newly formed Sitka Retail in Action Board have formed to promote  local businesses. The first event will be a street fair, “Spring Fever.” From left are Teri Egan, Kay McCarty,  Raphaelle Grangeon-Peters, Cathy Hanson, Bonnie Brenner, Joyce  Robertson and Tammy Thom.



March 1973

By calling Zenith 6000, Southeast Alaska residents now are able to contact Western Airlines reservations without charge to book flights anywhere in Western’s system. The service will continue until such time as the court case involving Southeast Alaska air service is settled.