A Beaverton family is mourning the death of Their beloved son. John Alexander Pelham was 22 years old, and serving as a secret intelligence officer killed in Afghanistan.
KGW reports that according to John’s father, Wendall Pelham, he was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan working as a top secret intelligence analyst. He was in the field with special forces when he was killed by a gunshot. “We do know he was out on a mission doing what they do,” Wendall said, “John always knew he going to be in the military, I believe he had a phenomenal patriotic sense of being part of something bigger.”
Luke Wenker, a family friend of John’s tells KXL, “John has been a member of my extended family for the last six years…A totally stand-up guy and my heart breaks for his family.”
John’s father comments that the family has a rich history of service to the country, as his grandfather and uncle before him were both in the armed forces. This gave him the passion and drive to be a part of his family’s legacy. So after graduation from Sunset High School and a brief stint of College of the Redwoods for a year he joined the U.S. Army.
Wenker states, “he was kind, respectful, and always willing to help those in need.”
John Alexander’s sense of integrity and courage are a beacon of solace for his grieving family, who had no reservations about the potential danger he would face in while he was away.
“I don’t know if proud begins to articulate it,” Wendall said. “We have to have warriors out there every day. Because of what he chose to do, I have a son that’s a hero.”
Pelham is survived by his family, girlfriend (Laura Graue), and countless friends. In a memorial facebook event in honor of John, she had some beautiful and powerful things to say. “…He instantly swept me off my feet with his great looks and unbelievable charm…It didn’t take us long to know that we were meant to be. We frequently talked about our wedding and our future together. I never thought that those dreams would not come true. Throughout the years we spent together John taught me how to love and what it feels like to be loved by another.”
It’s plain to see that John led an incredible life, and had a profound impact on the hearts and minds of the people he cared about. It’s a terrible tragedy to have to feel the loss of someone so young and so good. Graue’s sentiments are echoed dozens of times over as you scroll down to comment after comment about honor, integrity, and overwhelming praise. The dramatic outpouring of praise makes it hard not to personalize this loss felt so deeply.
Among the anguish and grief however, there is the sense of a memory that will not soon be forgotten, and an effect that will not soon be erased. It’s unquestionable that John Alexander Pelham served his country honorably, and continues to serve as an example for both young and old as what sacrifice means, and what true heroism is.
“He’s the love of my life and always will be. John lived his life with a smile on his face and a passion for helping others and I hope to do the same…I know now I have the bravest guardian angel and that he’ll be protecting me for the rest of my life.”