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Passings: John Dapcevich, Sitka mayor for six terms

John Dapcevich, who served as mayor of Sitka for six terms over 20 years, died Sept. 1 at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, just three weeks short of his 96th birthday. 

The son of immigrants from Montenegro, Dapcevich moved to Juneau in 1928 when he was two years old, and the family lived in the Starr Hill downtown, during a time when the Territory of Alaska was still young.

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He was born in Schuylkill County, Penn. in 1926. His parents traveled to Minnesota and Montana before settling in Southeast Alaska to work in the mines, according to his obituary. He graduated from Juneau High School in 1944 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he was 17 years old and served at Kodiak Island, at the U.S. Naval Operating Base. He moved to Sitka in 1960, and by 1971 he had been elected mayor. For many years, he was a tax preparer and accountant with Dapcevich Accounting Service Inc.

In 1995, John and his wife Janice moved to Juneau to be closer to their extended family, his obituary said. Other than brief stints in Nome and at the Chichagof mining community, John lived his entire life in either Juneau or Sitka. 

He was a lifelong and active Democrat, serving in roles for the Southeast Alaska Democratic Party and the State Central Council of the Alaska Democratic Party, along with many other civic roles, including the board of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, the AARP State Legislative Committee, Tongas Timber Task Force, Alaska Statehood Commission, and chambers of commerce, to name just a few. He served on the Sitka Borough Assembly, Sitka Finance Committee, Utility Committee, Airport Committee, on the Southeast Conference Board of Directors, Sitka Charter Commission, among others.

“His death is a loss felt by many, but also serves as a reminder to live life with integrity, authenticity, and honesty. Though he is gone, his memory, smile, and love of good cheese live on in the many lives that he’s touched, his family said. That includes his wife of 54 years Janice, his sister Natalie Alton, daughter Dayle, and sons John R. (Dick), Dave, Michael, Marko and Bob,” his obituary said. “He left seven grandchildren ranging in age from 30 to 53, including (in order) Richard, David Lee, Steven, Sam, Sarah, Madison, Diana, and Joe. More than a dozen great-grandchildren came to know John, including Brittni, Pearl, Cece, Taylor, Kiersten, Kyle, Max, Kinsey, Annabelle, Alexandrea, Alexander, William, and Oscar. John’s first great-great grandchild, Luca, was born in Juneau in June of this year.”

John’s ashes were interred Friday, Sept. 9 at the Sitka National Cemetery.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Sad to hear, yet it reminds us of the contributions made by that tough and colorful group that came to Alaska from Montenegro in search of GOLD. Stepovich, Butrovich, Pekovich and Dapcevich. Miners and Prospectors, most long forgotten but whose Sons went into leadership positions across Alaska.

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