SUN AND SNOW – Snow evaporates off the roof of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Thursday. More late season snow mixed with rain  is in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday. Sunny weather is in the forecast for the first part of next week. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Task Force Winds Up With Limits Unsolved
12 Apr 2024 15:31

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Sitka Tourism Task Force reviewed a number of recomme [ ... ]

World Flyers Made Sitka Stop 100 Years Ago
12 Apr 2024 15:29

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Almost exactly a century ago, the engines of four modi [ ... ]

California Salmon Fishing Canceled for Second Year
12 Apr 2024 15:24

Alaska Beacon
    In a devastating blow to California’s fishing industry, federa [ ... ]

Gov Claims Poll Backs His Education Policies
12 Apr 2024 15:22

Alaska Beacon
    Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said a poll shows there is strong su [ ... ]

House Rejects Making State PFD Guaranteed
12 Apr 2024 15:20

Alaska Beacon
    The Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a long-a [ ... ]

Arctic Center at UAA Broadens Its Mission
12 Apr 2024 14:37

Alaska Beacon
When the federal government established an Arctic Domain Awareness Cente [ ... ]

April 12, 2024, Police Blotter
12 Apr 2024 14:01

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
April 11
At 2:14 a.m. a report was logged t [ ... ]

April 12, 2024, Community Happenings
12 Apr 2024 13:56

Card of Thanks
Dear Sitka, I would like to say thank you for the outpouring of love and support for t [ ... ]

Southeast Music Fest Opens with Festive Air
11 Apr 2024 15:49

Sentinel Staff Writer
    High school musicians and directors from around South [ ... ]

Changes Made To Improve Recycling at Center
11 Apr 2024 14:11

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Recent changes in the collection of recyclable materia [ ... ]

Sitka Softballers Sweep All Rivals in Tourney
11 Apr 2024 14:10

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Opening the softball season strong at a tournament in  [ ... ]

House Adds, Subtracts In Amending Budget
11 Apr 2024 14:06

Alaska Beacon
    The Alaska House of Representatives has voted to provide state fu [ ... ]

SalmonState Criticizes AIDEA’s Loan Program
11 Apr 2024 14:05

Alaska Beacon
    An Alaska conservation group has released a new series of reports [ ... ]

Despite Quakes, Alaska Building Codes Shaky
11 Apr 2024 14:04

Alaska Beacon
Sixty years after North America’s most powerful earthquake on record r [ ... ]

April 11, 2024, Police Blotter
11 Apr 2024 13:44

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
April 10
A dog was reported running loose i [ ... ]

April 11, 2024, Community Happenings
11 Apr 2024 13:38

Big Rig Event
Set Saturday
For All Ages
All types of vehicles, food and activities are planned for the  [ ... ]

Home Health Receives Boost from Assembly
10 Apr 2024 15:08

Sentinel Staff Writer
    After hearing testimony from a number of residents, t [ ... ]

Assembly to Question 2 Attorneys on Zoom
10 Apr 2024 14:23

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Two applicants for the Sitka city attorney position,  [ ... ]

Sitka Housing Summit Seeks Public Participation
10 Apr 2024 14:22

By Sentinel Staff
    Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Baranof Island Housing Authority and the city will be [ ... ]

Horan to Race Boston Marathon for Charity
10 Apr 2024 14:21

Sentinel Sports Editor
    Years after running cross country and track at Sitka  [ ... ]

High School Music Fest Starts Thursday in Sitka
10 Apr 2024 14:18

By Sentinel Staff
    The Southeast Music Fest kicks off early Thursday, with hundreds of high sch [ ... ]

Wolves Sweep Opening Series
10 Apr 2024 14:17

KODIAK OPENER - The five seniors of Sitka High’s softball team pose for a shot after playing in  [ ... ]

City League VB Tournament
10 Apr 2024 14:14

By Sentinel Staff
    Playing the recreational division City League volleyball tournament, the Pac [ ... ]

House Seeks to Narrow Gap in Funding Budget
10 Apr 2024 13:19

Alaska Beacon
    As the Alaska House of Representatives opened debate on the state [ ... ]

Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

James C. Swainson Dies; Former Alaskan was 55

James Chase Swainson

James Chase Swainson, a former Alaskan with ties to Sitka, died Feb. 20 in Ellensburg, Washington, at the age of 55.

He was born  August 27, 1967, in Ellensburg to Susan and Jim Swainson. James split his time living between both parents, traveling between Alaskan towns to live with his dad Jimmy and stepmom Sparky in Petersburg, with his mother Susan and stepfather Tom Larson in Sitka, and later with his mother and stepfather Mark Goettlicher in Anchorage. 

After graduating from East High School in Anchorage, James moved to Seattle and lived in the University District and on Capitol Hill. During this time he fished during the summers in Alaska and lived a carefree lifestyle traveling around the country following the Grateful Dead. He moved to Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California, where he began focusing on his painting skills. James was an avid journal keeper and wrote almost every day in a diary. His journals were full of art and poetry detailing his daily life.

James met Janet Margot in Seattle and they married and moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he attended the Parsons School of Design. With Janet’s help James was able to overcome dyslexia and graduate as valedictorian of his class with a bachelor of fine arts. Living in New York City was a vibrant time in James’ life as he flourished in the New York art scene.

James and Janet traveled extensively through North Africa and Eastern Europe. On October 11, 2001, their daughter Samantha Exene was born. Samantha is currently studying journalism in Rome, Italy.

James lived in San Francisco during the 1989 earthquake and in New York City during 9-11.

Around 2004, James moved to Seattle where he later met Erin Carnahan and her three children, Madalyn, Joceline, and Devlin. On March 3, 2009, they welcomed baby girl Darby Ann Mary into the world.

The family took full advantage of the many activities that Seattle had to offer and enjoyed camping together, taking trips to Arizona, and long drives to explore new places.

James was close with his brothers and sisters – Jessica, Dylan, Shiloh and Jacob – taking special care to broaden his siblings’ horizons with big city adventures. He was always up for a walk no matter the weather or time of day.

James had the gift of gab and was full of stories. He appreciated tattoo art and had many himself. When his brother Jacob was 15 he visited James in Brooklyn and James gave him his first tattoo, making him the youngest kid in school with a tattoo. That was the kind of big brother he was – always ready to have fun and break some rules.

James was diagnosed with signet ring cell stomach cancer in February 2022 and on July 19, 2022, James married Erin at home with a beautiful outdoor wedding officiated by his Uncle Billy Swainson.

James outlived the doctor’s expectations by many months and on Feb. 20 he died at his home in Ellensburg, surrounded by his beloved books, art, cats and family.

He will always be remembered for his great laugh, his quirky sense of humor, his love of family and his joy of art, poetry and reading. He will be deeply missed.

James is survived by his parents Susan Goettlicher (Mark), Jimmy Swainson (Mary Ellen); step-parents Sparky Swainson and Tom Larson; brothers Dylan Swainson and Jacob Goettlicher (Cait); sisters Jessica Ieremia (Joe), Shiloh Swainson McNalley (Steve); his children Samantha, Madalyn, Joceline, Devlin, and Darby; his niece Jasmine Ieremia; his nephews Tausani Ieremia, Kai Swainson and Ethan Goettlicher; his grandmother Mary Ann Brain; and his many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Login Form



April 2004

Photo caption: Grace Larson holds one of the Easter breads she baked for sale at the annual Rainy Day Bazaar Saturday at Centennial Hall. Hundreds turned out for the event, sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard Spouses and Women’s Association.


April 1974

All youngsters from walking age on up to age 12 are invited to an Easter egg hunt Sunday. Ages 5 and under meet at the Centennial Building; ages 6-9 in front of the visitor center at Totem Park; and ages 10-12 at Totem Park. Some $150 in cash and merchandise prizes will be offered.


Local Events


Daily Sitka Sentinel on Instagram!


Daily Sitka Sentinel on Facebook!