Democrat Rep. Mary Peltola’s (D-AK) husband died in a plane crash in Alaska, according to the congresswoman’s office.
Peltola’s chief of staff, Anton McParland, shared the grim news in a statement posted to social media on Wednesday morning.
“We are devastated to share that Mary’s husband, Eugene Peltola Jr. — ‘Buzzy’ to all of us who knew and loved him — passed away earlier this morning following a plane accident in Alaska,” McParland said.
“He was one of those people that was obnoxiously good at everything,” the statement continues.
“He had a delightful sense of humor that lightened the darkest moments.
“He was definitely the cook in the family.
“And family was most important to him.
“He was completely devoted to his parents, kids, siblings, extended family, and friends — and he simply adored Mary.
“We are heartbroken for the family’s loss.”
— Rep. Mary Peltola (@Rep_Peltola) September 13, 2023
Eugene Peltola Jr., who served as regional director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Alaska and retired in July 2022, died after the crash of a single-engine Piper PA-18 that he was piloting on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.
The announcement of Peltola Jr.’s death drew an outpouring of reactions from politicians and others expressing their condolences.
“Rose and I are shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of Gene Peltola,” Alaska’s Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy said in a post on Twitter/X.
“We will be praying for Mary, their children, and all of the Peltola family.
“Gene’s dedication to Alaska ran deep, and he will be dearly missed.”
“My warm thoughts and my prayers are with my colleague [Rep. Peltola] and her family on the tragic devastating loss of her husband Eugene,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ).
“I am shocked, saddened and truly beyond words to express my grief at the loss of Gene Peltola Jr. Anyone who met Buzzy felt his warmth, generosity, and charm,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
“It was easy to see why so many Alaskans called him a friend, and how he was so loved by his family.
“He was Mary’s number one supporter and truly her rock.
“My heart is in Alaska today with Mary and their children, and Verne and I offer prayers and condolences to them.”
Rep. Peltola represents the entire state of Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives after taking the place of the late Don Young last year.
She is returning home to be with family, her office said.
“[W]e ask that their privacy be respected during this time,” McParland added.
“Our team will continue to meet with constituents and carry on the work of the office while Mary and her family grieve.”