Carl A. Peterson Dies; Was a Longtime Sitkan

Carl Aitken Peterson

Carl Aitken Peterson passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday,  September 10.  He was 85 years old. 

Carl was born in Sitka on March 7, 1938, the son of Carl and Alice Peterson.  He spent his childhood in Sitka and graduated in 1956 from Sitka High School,  where he played on the state championship basketball team.

In high school he met Joanne Engstrom and the two were married in 1956 and moved to Fairbanks, where Carl attended the University of Alaska.

Over the next several years the couple had four children and lived in several different places.  In Alabama, Carl served his time in the National Guard.  In Tempe, Arizona, he earned a master’s degree.  His second master’s degree was earned at Cornell University in Ithaca New York.

Carl and his family returned to Sitka in 1964, where he taught science at Blatchley Middle School and Sitka High,  and served as local commander for the National Guard. 

In 1970 Carl and his second wife, Wendy McCarty, moved to Wrangell where he was principal until 1976 when they moved to Tok and he became superintendent of the Gateway School District.  In 1979 they moved to Bethel where Carl served as superintendent of the Lower Kuskokwim School District until 1983, when he retired.

In addition to being an educator, Carl was also a fisherman.  He was a gillnetter, set netter, packer, and longliner. In 1990 he bought a troller and began to spend his summers fishing in the Sitka area. He was active in the politics of fishing and helped establish the chum fishery in Icy Straits.

The last boat Carl owned was,  fittingly, The Last Dance, which he fished until 2019 when his health made it too difficult to continue.

Carl is survived by his wife Mary Ann Peterson and his children Eric (Stephanie) Peterson of Sitka, Carl Peterson of Las Vegas, Valerie (Mike Popp) of West Seattle, and Suzanne Northcutt of Centralia, Washington.

He is also survived by grandchildren Jeremy Peterson, Nik Peterson, Ashley Pietras, Caila Carreno, Scott Baker, Brad Baker, and Michael Northcutt, and 12 great-grandchildren.

An opportunity for family and friends to get together and remember Carl will be scheduled at a later date. Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 2976, Sitka AK 99835.

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