SUMMER FLING – Erika Youngberg and one-year-old son Axel enjoy the light surf at Sandy Beach Saturday as temperatures climbed to 68 degrees under clear skies. The Youngbergs were among some 100 people sunbathing, splashing and swimming to deeper water before the weather turned to showers as was forecast for Sunday. (Sentinel Photo by Reber Stein)





Erik Borgen

Erik Borgen, 73, passed away at home on Sept. 7, 2012, after a long illness, with his wife by his side.

A funeral service will be held 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, at Sitka Lutheran Church, followed by a short reception at St. Michael’s.  On Friday, a short service will be held at dock side at  ANB Harbor starting at 10 a.m. and then his ashes will be spread at sea.  He will be going on his last fishing trip with longtime friend and fishing partner, Walter Pasternak, aboard the boat Cristy Rob.

Erik was born Sept. 12, 1938, to John and Elisabeth Borgen in Bergen, Norway.

Erik’s first wife was Annette Thompson of Kasaan, and they had three children, Caron, Erik and Kristina. But eventually the couple chose different paths of life and went their separate ways.

Erik met his second wife, Barbara Sam, in July 1992 in Sitka.  On one of their trips to Reno, Nev., Erik surprised her by stating “We are getting married at 4 p.m. today,” May 22, 2008.  When Erik married Barbara his family was extended quite a bit – she has nine brothers and sisters.

Erik was a beloved husband, father and grandfather.  He went to Seattle in 1958 after working as a Merchant Marine from Norway.  In 1965, he became an American Citizen and was very proud of his new citizenship.  He owned two businesses including a Brick Masonry Company for over 20 years in Seattle. 

He then worked for Alaska Marine Highway System on  the ferry  Wickersham.  His next adventure was to become a commercial fisherman and he purchased his boat, the Byng.

He was good at all he had done but fishing was what he loved the best.  He commercial fished for as long as he could, even rigging up his boat with oxygen, but eventually had to sell his boat due to illness.  That was one of the hardest things he had to do – fishing was his whole life.  

He loved football and in the last few years he watched a lot of wrestling.  He also had a green thumb and gave all of his flowers names and would talk to them almost every day as he watered them.

He looked forward to visits from all his friends, traveled a lot with his wife, Barbara, and always enjoyed everything.

  Erik will be remembered for his generosity, sense of humor and his love of life,  his family said, and will be missed by all who knew him.

During his illness he tried a few hobbies but was unable to continue.  He built bird houses but the dust was too much so he had to stop building them.  

“Thanks to Dr. Coruzzi and Dr. Wein of Sitka Community Hospital especially the nurses and all the CNA’s,” his wife said. “My husband, Erik, had lots of doctors who took care of him and we would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time in his life.  Also a big thank you to the Sitka Fire Department for their quick response.”

The family also thanked all those who visited him during his last days. “Your friendship and generosity have been so nice and are greatly appreciated.”

After receiving notice of Erik’s passing Father Michael of the Russian Orthodox Church went to his home and gave him a bedside service within an hour.  And Rev. Sandra Rudd of Sitka Lutheran Church gave a short prayer on Friday the 7th and made numerous visits to the hospital, which Erik appreciated very much.

Erik was preceded in death by his parents, John and Elisabeth Borgen; great-granddaughter Aubrey Borgen; and extended family, mother-in-law Bessie Kitka, brother-in-law, Charlie Smathers and sister-in-law: Brenda Sam.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Borgen, of Sitka; his three children Caron Clay (Bill) of Huntington Beach, Calif, Erik John Borgen (Suzanne) of Lynnwood, Wash., and Kristina Garrity (Patrick) of Mill Creek Wash.; seven grandchildren, Jessica (Tyson) Avery, Brandon and Hailey Garrity, Christopher (Melissa) Borgen, Matthew (Jessica) Borgen, Amanda and Sophia Clay; two great-grandchildren, Trevyn Avery and Logan Borgen; nine great nieces and nephews; and his sister, Margot McEachern (Richard) of Escondido, Calif.

 His extended family includes brothers-in-law John Sam of San Jose, Calif., and Fred (Tina) and David (Jo) Sam of Anchorage, and Robert Sam of Japan.

His sisters- in-law are Wilma Smathers of Everett, Wash., Marie (George) Young, Chris (John) Paul and Evelyn (Tom) Schenck of Sitka.

 Erik had become close with his stepdaughter, Roxanne Drake-Burkhart (Ted), and stepson, Eric (Maria) Drake of Juneau, and Roxanne’s son Zachary and daughter Stephanie Burkhart.  When Zachary was 16 he went fishing with Erik for a season and ever since they called each other partner.  Erik also was teaching Zach how to do masonry work that same summer.  Zach has very fond memories of their times together and his children Kayley and Nicole were always excited to see Erik; they made each other laugh and the children said “Great-grandpa is funny!”

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30, 2020, the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 6-21-21)

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 12:21 p.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 13

Total statewide – 68,112

Total (cumulative) deaths – 366

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,602

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

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Sunday.

Active cases in Sitka – 4

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 6

Cumulative Sitka cases – 390 (341 resident; 49 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 386

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

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

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

The State of Alaska DHSS reported Friday the following statistics on vaccinations for Sitka.

Partially vaccinated – 5,340 (72%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,967 (67%)

Total population (12+) – 7,385

Sitka has vaccinated fully vaccinated 77 percent of its senior population (1,478 total), age 65 and older. 

Vaccination data for the City and Borough of Sitka can be found online at:





June 2001

Sitka police and federal authorities are investigating a report three counterfeit $100 bills were passed at a Sitka jewelry store. “It’s difficult to solve it, if you don’t get a good description of them, especially if they are transient or tourists.” said SPD Lt. John Bocza.

June 1971

Photo caption: David Bruce, 10, caught this 64-pound king salmon Saturday fishing with his grandfather, Philip “Peewee” James near Olga Strait. The big fish was 46 inches long with a girth of 32 inches. David and his grandparents live at Mt. Edgecumbe.