Frank W. Sharp Dies At His Angoon Home at 89


Frank Wilton Sharp

      Frank Wilton Sharp, poet and adventurer, passed away peacefully at his Angoon home on May 12, 2021. He was 89.

      Frank was born in Orofino, Idaho, on Valentine’s Day 1932 to Albert Thomas Sharp of Angoon and Maryellen Sharp (Coghill) of Orofino. Although he wasn’t physically born in Alaska, he was an Alaskan through and through. He was of Tlingit heritage though his paternal grandmother, Mary Nelson, of Angoon. He was an Eagle/Bear and his Tlingit name was Na’ats. 

Frank lived life with all the qualities of the poetry he wrote: intrigue, amazing adventures, near-death experiences, boundless energy, love found and lost, and an unbreakable work ethic. 

Much of his early childhood was spent traveling between Alaska and Idaho, usually unaccompanied on an Alaska Steamship Vessel from Seattle to Juneau. In his youth, he continued to spend time between Alaska and nearly 30 other states with his family as they traveled for work.

Frank briefly attended Lowell High School in Kansas, where he excelled at long-distance running, posting times for his mile that would have qualified him for the Olympic tryouts. Instead, he ended his formal education after eighth grade and began roaming with a rough group of young men. In his own words he was a gangster and on the road to ruin. At age 17, and with the help of his mother, he forged his birth certificate and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Serving during the Korean War, Frank was stationed at Tempelhof Air Force Base in Berlin, Germany. He ended his U.S. Air Force enlistment at the rank of staff sergeant, and returned Stateside in 1953. 

On his way home to Alaska, Frank stopped in California to visit his mother. There he met Alice Ruth Bach. They were married in 1955 and had four children: Kirk, Mark, Mary, and Todd. 

Frank worked hard in Angoon and then later on in Juneau as a subsistence gatherer, cannery worker, commercial fisherman, general laborer, and taxi cab driver to support his growing family. 

He was always striving to get ahead. Then he found his calling working as a boat operator, and then as a game warden with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In 1962, Frank attended the Public Safety Academy then at Sheldon Jackson College. This started a 20-year career in law enforcement as a Wildlife Enforcement Officer. He and his family were stationed in Sitka, Petersburg, Ketchikan and Anchorage. He excelled at this career and retired in 1982 from the Department of Public Safety, Fish and Wildlife Protection as a captain and supervisor in charge of the entire coastline of Alaska. After retirement, he returned to his beloved home in Angoon. 

Complacency was not in his blood, and while in Angoon he couldn’t stop striving to achieve. He was elected to the Angoon City Council and in 1990  became president of Kootznahoo Native Corp. He spent many years working to serve and love his community, while also tirelessly laboring around his home on one project or another  – usually at least 10 at a time.

During those years, he had two devastating events; the death of his son, Mark, 25, in 1983 and the death of his wife, Alice, at age 78 in 2000. They were married 44 years. 

Frank loved fishing and hunting and wrote countless poems about his explorations. From sinking boats to charging brown bears, and an untimely encounter with what was probably the world record king salmon, he filled the tale of his life with enthralling stories.

His passion for the Alaskan wilderness never faltered with age, and his penchant for near-death experiences seemed only to increase. At age 83, a short day hunting trip turned into two unexpected nights alone in the cold and snowy November woods. On the third day, he walked away unscathed, only thinking about a hot cup of coffee, and his next adventure. 

Frank knew our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

He was proceeded in death by his parents Albert and Maryellen, wife Alice, son Mark, and brother James. He is survived by his children Kirk, Mary, and Todd (wife Carolyn), sister Peggy Sears, and brothers, Melvin, Albert and Henry, eight grandchildren, five-great-grandchildren, and many cousins. 

Frank’s legacy lives on through the fruits of his labor and stories shared among family and friends. A parting gift is his book, “A Pioneer Alaskan’s Lifetime of Rhymes and Lines,” which includes many of his favorite poems.

His family invited friends to share their own stories about Frank. They can visit Friends also are encouraged to sign the guest book.

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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 Tuesday: 2,414

Total statewide – 167,008

Total (cumulative) deaths – 953

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,311

Current Hospitalizations – 81

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

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 130 new COVID cases in the past 7 days. Case statistics are as of Sunday.

New cases in Sitka – 7

Cases in last 7 days – 130

Cumulative Sitka cases – 1,467

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.