James D. Howard Dies; Former Sitkan was 71

James David “Jim” Howard “Yashenteen”

James David “Jim” Howard “Yashenteen,” Tlingit Coho, unexpectedly passed away Jan. 10, 2021, at the Yuvapai Memorial Hospital in Prescott, Arizona, a day before his 71st birthday.  

He had fallen ill Jan. 2 and had tested positive for COVID-19.

A member of the large, well-known and longtime Sitka family, Jim was born in Sitka Jan. 11, 1950, the son of Margaret and William Eli Howard Sr.

After graduating from Sitka High School, Jim attended the Alaska Skill Center in Seward, earning a vocational certificate credential in accounting.  His first post-education jobs began January 1980 at the Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska in Juneau, where he remained until 1983. He went on to a 20-year career at the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Juneau and Anchorage, that lasted to 2004.  In 2005 he took a job with the Department of the Interior, Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, as a program analyst in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he remained until he retired in 2013.

After retirement, Jim relocated to Prescott, Arizona, a place that grew on him, and he remained there until his passing.

Jim was predeceased by his parents, William Eli Howard Sr. and Margaret Howard; brothers Leo Lonnie Houston, Jr. and William Eli “Buddy” Howard Jr., Frederick David Houston, Charlie Dick Wright and Jacob John Wright; and sisters Irma Gertrude Button, Martha Emma Wright, and Doris Marie Wright; and nephew Phillip Schoonover.

Jim’s surviving brothers and sisters are Frank Glade Wright Jr., Paul Nicholas Wright, Samuel Richard Wright, Sharon Ann Wright-Brown, Phyllis Christine Tischer, Johanna Houston-Iverson, Deborah Picken, and Margeret Florence Wright. From his siblings came many nieces and nephews.

Jim also is survived by the mothers of his children: Evelyn Christine Taylor, with whom he had a son, Jason David Howard, in 1976; and Donna Lang, with whom he had a daughter, Erin Michelle Jessup, in 1988 and a son, Brian Jameson Howard, in 1990.

Jim also is survived by five grandchildren, Tiffany and Addison Katkus, and Michael Jessup, the three children of daughter Erin and Nicholas James Fleury and Quia Geshashw’gt-G’gwot Dangeli, the two sons of Jason Howard; and many close cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, and many friends in Alaska and Arizona, all of them sad to see him go.

Jim is loved and missed by many.  He was well known for his sense of humor and being a person of very few, but very meaningful, words, all which are missed by all.  Son Brian said, “He wasn’t a man of many words, but they were worthy of a man I gladly called my dad.”

He loved bowling, many other sports, and the Seattle Seahawks.  Each year he loved to make an annual visit to Santa Claus and have his photo taken with him. He was very proud of his Tlingit culture and family.

As soon as COVID-19 comes more under control and family members can come together, services will be held and he then will be buried next to his father, William Eli Howard, in Sitka, as he requested.

There are many, many, sad hearts involved here. COVID-19 was part of Jim’s passing. He was known to be a practicing mask wearer, and his family asked that everyone be aware that what they do can have serious, lasting, devastating effects on the lives of others.

“Please wear a mask always and snuggly against your face, two masks if possible,” family members urged. “Do everything you can to help alleviate the existence of this destructive virus.



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At a Glance

(updated 1-12-22)

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 11:55 am Wednesday.

New cases as of Friday: 2,512

Total statewide – 172,329

Total (cumulative) deaths – 955

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,337

Current Hospitalizations – 103

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

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 153 new COVID cases in the past 7 days. Case statistics are as of Sunday.

New cases in Sitka – 34

Cases in last 7 days – 153

Cumulative Sitka cases – 1,531

Deceased (cumulative) – 6

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





January 2002

Classified ads, Rentals: 3-bdrm. house on the beach. $900; 3-bdrm duplex, washer/dryer $945; Great downtown house, 2 bdrms., 2 baths, furnished,
W/D, hardwood floors $850; 2-bdrm. roomy apartment $945..


January 1972

The City and Borough Assembly Tuesday approved an ordinance establishing a transportation committee to advise the assembly and promote transportation services for the municipality. Members are Cecil McClain, Ray Mabey, Clarence Kramer,
Dick Cushing and Burt Hansen.