Walter Clark Dies in Mont.; Was Blatchley Principal

Walter Clark

Walter Clark, a former principal of Blatchley Middle School, passed away peacefully at his home in Missoula, Montana, on January 20, 2021. He was 79.

He was born in Missoula, Montana, in 1941 to Robert and Ann Clark. He attended both parochial and public school, graduating from Missoula County High School in 1959. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for four years, and making lifelong friendships.

Upon his return, he met and fell in love with Cathy of Whitefish, Montana. They were married in 1966. Walt attended the University of Montana and Northern Montana College, earning both a bachelor’s degree in vo-tech education and a master’s degree in education administration.

Walt dedicated his life to enriching the lives of students in Hardin, Montana, as a teacher of auto mechanics, wood working and welding, and then as a principal in Thompson Falls, Montana; Metlakatla and Sitka, Alaska; and Polson, Montana.

As an educator, he earned numerous awards on both the state and national levels for the programs he implemented at his schools. Among his honors were the Milken Educators Award for the state of Alaska in 1991, while he was Blatchley Middle School principal; and the School Administrator Award issued by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

Walt was always up for a challenge, whether in the role of teacher, administrator, dad or grandfather. It could be building or fixing things, helping his children or grandchildren with a school project or any other grand plan that he or they concocted. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and working in the garage.

Mostly, he enjoyed time with his family and he adored all of his grandchildren. Walt made a difference; he made this world a better place. “He is the best man we have ever known,” his family wrote. “We will miss his quick wit and mischievous smile. He was our rock. He is in our hearts and he will forever be our hero.

Walt was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Barbara Irlbeck of Wake Forest, North Carolina, who died in the fall of 2020, and by his loyal dog, Tucker. 

Survivors include his wife, Cathy, of Missoula; daughters Peggy Reely, Missoula, and Judy and her husband Michael Swiger of Portland, Oregon; grandchildren Evan and Anna Reely and Trystan and Kailey Swiger; sister Janet and her husband Art Davison, Missoula; brother-in-law Bill Irlbeck, of Wake Forest; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He will be laid to rest at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held this summe. Anyone wishing to attend, is asked to  reach out to family members with contact information. There will be more family memories posted on Garden City Funeral Home’s website.

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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.