Chris Etzwiler passed away April 20, 2023, surrounded by loved ones at his home after a 9 month battle with cancer that spread to his liver. Chris was born to David and Linda Etzwiler on March 7, 1973, in Helena, Montana. In 1980 the family moved to West Yellowstone, MT. Chris was passionate about exploring outdoors and spent his early years fishing, hunting, snow machining, and playing basketball with his younger brother Mike and friends. He became involved in Boy Scouts starting in elementary school with his dad Dave as his scout leader and mom Linda always there to support, eventually earning his Eagle Scout Award. He attended West Yellowstone School through high school where his love for basketball grew. Chris went on to study Elementary Education at Montana State University in Bozeman. He fell in love with Krista when they shared an art class together. Following graduation, they were married on June 15,1996.
Their beautiful Alaskan adventure began as educators in the rural village of Koyuk for 3 years and then 2 years in the village of Nuiqsut. It was there they welcomed their first son Koby in 2000. The young family moved to Homer in 2001. Second son Ty was born in 2003.
In addition to his commitment to stay home with their young boys, Chris was a substitute teacher for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and a coach for Paul Banks Elementary basketball and Little League T-Ball. He volunteered at the City of Homer Community Recreation program to provide open gym before he started the BRUINS youth basketball program and coached not only his own boys, but hundreds in the fundamentals of the game. He coached Homer Middle School Husky basketball and Homer High School Mariner basketball.
Passionate for kids and for learning, Chris never stopped teaching. He taught at Razdolna Jr/Sr High School and Homer High School. Up to his passing, he was site coordinator for the Project GRAD program, mentoring educators in Homer, Port Graham, and Nanwalek, and overseeing the STEAM Team who served several local schools. Awards for his contributions in education include the official recognition from the Alaska State Legislature, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Golden Apple Award, and the Alaska Afterschool Network Superhero award.
Always an outdoorsman, a hunter, and adventurer, Chris especially loved to fish. He fished rivers. Fished creeks. Fished ponds. The Fishing Hole on the Spit. The deep seas of Kachemak Bay and beyond. Always with a huge smile and a story to tell.
He had his own business in design and printing, creating thousands of jerseys and team gear, and as the “Sticker Guy” selling Alaska themed decals online and in local shops. He attended Faith Lutheran Church and was an active community servant.
Chris is survived by his wife Krista and sons Koby and Ty Etzwiler, parents Dave and Linda Etzwiler, brother Mike and Kesha Etzwiler, nieces Aspen (Lincoln Conner), Olivia, and Gabe.
A Celebration of Life service is planned at the Homer High School gymnasium on Sunday afternoon, June 4, at 2:00p.m. The family invites any friends to join in spreading his ashes in the bay following the service. Come by boat or by beach where the land ends and the sea begins. Memorial contribution details likely to a student scholarship will be forthcoming.