January 14, 2021
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Ethan Mitchell Pleshe (Emily Ann Pleshe)
Ethan was born on August 7, 1976 to his single mom Theresa Pleshe at Calumet Public Hospital in Laurium, Michigan.
He was raised by his mom in Laurium along with the help of many but especially his God Parents: Kathy & Guy St. Germain. Their daughter Lindsey was like a sister to Ethan.
Ethan’s primary and secondary education was through the CLK School System where he excelled not only academically but was an exceptional athlete. Although he was a sprinter in track, he also excelled as a distance runner in cross country. His teammates were very important to him.
Ethan ran cross country his first year at Grand Valley State University where he obtained his undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Physical Education. Ethan did an internship in Washington D.C. for the Human Rights Campaign. This was prior to his graduation from Grand Valley.
After graduation he lived in Ann Arbor for a few years prior to moving to Logan, Utah with his then partner. The fact he loved downhill skiing, this was a great fit for him. After living in Utah, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona to continue his education. While there he went to A.S.U. where he received dual Masters Degree in Macro Social Work and Public Administration.
After graduate school, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where he became a federal employee, working as a service representative for Social Security.
In 2012, Ethan moved to Minneapolis and continued to work for Social Security until health issues caused an early retirement in 2016. He loved living in the vibrant city where he continued to enjoy singing in the One Voice Mixed Chorus where he was able to do a solo at the Ordway in St. Paul, MN. This was one of his “chosen” families. Ethan had a very strong faith which he always credited to his Franciscan upbringing as he was an active member of Sacred Heart Church in Calumet, prior to attended G.V.S.U. in Allendale, MI.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Joseph and Julia Pleshe, paternal grandparents, Phil and Margaret Hannula, and his step father, David Cherubini.
One of Ethan’s loved was singing. He sang in the choir at Sacred Heart from grade school all the way through high school. Prior to transitioning he was a soprano. While in Albuquerque he joined the Gay Man’s Chorus and continued his vocals as a tenor/bass in the Once Voice Mixed Chorus of the Twin Cities. He traveled to Ireland with the chorus for the Gala which is an international LGBTQA event that occurs every four years. That was 2012, then in 2016 it was in Denver, which he also attended.
Ethan had an amazing kind heart. He loved people and advocated for the “under dog” always.
He is survived by: his mother, Theresa Cherubini of Laurium
partner: Janice Deveraux of Minneapolis, MN
His sister: Amber Hannula Anderson and his nephew Dean of Two Rivers, WI
His maternal aunts: Nancy (Larry) Kiviniemi of Ishpeming
Paula (Kim) Winburne of Watauga, TX
His paternal aunts and uncles: Kathy Hannula Tomanec of London, Ontario
William Hannula of Wisconsin
Julie Thibodeau of Ishpeming
His biological father: Robert Hannula of Marquette
His maternal cousins: Eric (Angela) Kiviniemi of Ishpeming, Landon and Sonja, Julie (Steve) Anderson of Gwinn, Kendra, Caleb, and Grace, Aimie (Cory) Massie of Green Bay, WI and Colt, and Cale, Jason (Kelly) Winburn of Dallas, TX, Ally, Brynn, and Carys, and Adam (Morgan Langlo) Winburn of Athens, TX
His cousins from his paternal family, special cousin Michele Jokinen of Minneapolis, and numerous friends and relatives.
Since living in Minneapolis, Ethan was a member of the UCC of Lindale, and then the Living Table of St. Paul.
One of Ethan’s proudest moments of late was when he along with his One Voice Chorus got to sing with Hugh Jackman.
Ethan’s infectious smile welcomed everyone he met, He made friends with everyone easily.
This past summer he was so happy to spend time with his mother in the UP, enjoying his Lake Superior and exploring the many beauties of the UP. The UP was in his soul no matter where he lived.
On January 14, he died in his sleep due to an epileptic seizure. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at Sacred Heart Church on Thursday January 21 at 11:00 am, celebrated by Father Gracious Joseph with Deacon Art Stancher and Deacon Jeremiah Mason to assist. This is for immediate family only and those invited by his mother. Please honor her request. COVID-19 strict precautions will be enforced. A live stream of the service may be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/keweenawcatholiccommunity for any members of the public wanting to watch the Mass.
A celebration of his life will be held this summer.
Contributions in remembrance of Ethan may be made to the following:
One Voice Mixed Chorus, 732 Holly Ave, Suite Q, St. Paul, MN 55104
His family to help with funeral expenses.
From his friend Teqen Zea-Aida
I first met Ethan at our neighborhood caucus fighting against gentrification. All of a sudden there he was, hanging out with a super diverse, Black led coalition of voters pushing for equity. Deep down inside though, Ethan was a Trans and People with Disabilities Advocate.
What made Ethan special, was that even if he didn’t share your background, of fully understand your cause, he understood that his fight for recognition was tied to your fight for recognition. Ethan could see his cause inside your cause.
Ethan was a DFL’er. He was soon to be asked to chair the State Disability Caucus. Everyone knew his perspectives and connections were an asset to moving Minnesota forward. Ethan stood with Seniors and was a Mental Health Crusader. He spoke from a life of hard earned experience and was a respected voice within City, County, and State politics. A light has gone out for Democratic Minnesota.
Ethan was an artist. The written word was his true love. When his health allowed, he enjoyed working with a local writer on editing his papers.
Ethan lived as long as her could with MS. At times it drove him to madness and at other times he could barely move. Due to improper diagnosis and less than stellar care, Ethan had a host of other mental, neurological, and physical issues. Ethan never gave up and he never stopped smiling. He also never stopped advocating for himself and for others. Ethan fought for medical marijuana and was a testimony to its positive impact. My friend Ethan was on of the most powerful Trans Men I have known. Ethan M. Pleshe was a defender of Minnesota’s Trans Community and undoubtedly is now one of the community’s (and state’s) best Angels. In fact, Ethan is one of the strongest men I have ever known. It is my great honor to write this for him. In closing, I want to say that Ethan was Theresa’s adoring son. Through thick and thin he never lost sight of her or his need for her. She gave him her all. And lastly, Ethan was staunchly from the U.P. nature, fresh air and hiking made him strong and kept him going throughout his life battle. It is to the Upper Peninsula that he returns. Free from pain. Close to nature. Near his mother. Having know the love of Janice. Praise God! Receive you loving Son!
For my Ethan
You were my baby, my daughter, my son,
you were brave, yes- and strong in the battles you won.
You knew who you were, you would not be denied
And my peace is in knowing you had peace when you died.
Only God could have known what
Was still left in store…
In his mercy and grace, knew you
Could not take on more.
So God ever mercifully, took you
In his arms…
He had to be sure you would see
No more harm.
But the gift that God gave me,
The gift that was you -
And the strength that God gave me
To help see you through
There are things I’ll hold dearly
With my love and my tears.
I’ll remember the most what you
Taught me these years…
How to be your true self, how
It won’t change your heart
How it strengthened our love,
Did not tear us apart.
Yes, you were my baby, my daughter, my son
The love of my life, you helped me to become
The person I thought that I never could be –
You taught me courage in ways
No one evercould see.
I will love you forever, my baby, my son…
And pray now for strength
To do what must be done.
As a mother, I give you, my love, my dear son
With Grace – Give you back to
The Almighty One.
I love you Ethan Mom
Online condolences for the family may be left at http://www.ericksoncrowleypeterson.com
The Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet is assisting the family with the arrangements.