The husband of Rep. Mary Peltola (D), Alaska’s sole representative in the House, has died after a plane accident in the couple’s home state, her office announced Wednesday.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, Reuters reported.
Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr. was “one of those people that was obnoxiously good at everything,” Mary Peltola’s chief of staff, Anton McParland, said in a statement.
“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,” McParland said. “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.”
Eugene Peltola’s single-engine Piper PA-18 crashed shortly after takeoff near St. Mary’s, Alaska, at around 8:45 p.m. local time on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
The congresswoman, who made history last year as the first Alaska Native elected to Congress, is traveling home to be with family. She declared victory in a special election to serve out the remainder of the late Republican Rep. Don Young’s term, beating former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin.
The Peltolas had seven children between them.
Eugene Peltola worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for over three decades before being tapped to run the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Alaska division in 2018; he stepped down in 2022, according to the Anchorage Daily News.