Lance Corporal Ethan James Peltola, 21, of Waynesboro, VA, passed away December 7, 2023, at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock, NC, much to the sorrow of those who loved him. He was born in Portland, OR, where he spent the first eight years of his life. In 2010, his family embarked on a cross-country move to Waynesboro, his mother’s hometown. He participated in the homeschool community of Classical Conversations until 8th grade and spent his high school years at Ridgeview Christian and Stuarts Draft High School, graduating in 2020 and claiming his diploma in an empty auditorium since it was the middle of the Covid pandemic.
After high school, Ethan spent a life-changing year at International ALERT Academy in TX, where he received emergency response training, solidified his commitment to Jesus Christ, and developed a whole new level of self-discipline. He came home looking for ways he could serve, encourage, and point others to the Lord. The military-style training he’d received at ALERT only whetted his appetite: In October of 2021, he shipped out to Parris Island to join the United States Marine Corps, eventually becoming a Radio Operator. He deployed to the Pacific and traveled to Australia, the Philippines, and Japan, a country he’d dreamed of visiting his whole life and where he could finally get his fill of sushi. Following deployment, his life regrettably took a brief and tragic detour into mental illness. His friends and family grieve not being able to see him become the leader that he was growing into.
He will forever be loved for the fun, spontaneous personality that hid behind his quiet demeanor; for his courage to tackle challenges and rise to any adventure; for his quirky sense of humor that brought laughter wherever he went; and for his genuine love for and devotion to Jesus Christ.
He is survived by his parents, Randall and Eliza Peltola, and younger brother, Titus, of Waynesboro, VA; grandmother, Marilyn Peltola, of Hillsboro, OR; aunt, Christy Parker, of Abingdon, VA; three uncles, Tom (Janet) Parker of McKinney, TX; Roger Peltola of Womack, OR; Robert Peltola of Cornelius, OR; and numerous cousins.
A memorial service will be held at Greenmonte Fellowship (1661 Cold Springs Road) in Stuarts Draft, VA, on Monday, December 18th at 1:00 p.m. Please note that parking is limited, so carpool if possible and plan to arrive early. Overflow parking and shuttle service will be available at Calvary United Methodist Church (2179 Stuarts Draft Hwy) in Stuarts Draft. For those unable to attend the service, it will be livestreamed on the Greenmonte Fellowship channel on YouTube.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ethan’s name to International ALERT Academy in Big Sandy, TX, or Tun Tavern Fellowship, which supports and connects Christians in the Marine Corps.