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Anchorage man struck and killed by pickup was ‘local legend’ and longtime leader of rock band

  • Author: Tess Williams
  • Updated: August 27, 2020
  • Published August 27, 2020

The longtime leader of an Anchorage rock band died Tuesday morning when he was hit by a pickup while crossing Tudor Road in a crosswalk against the light, police said.

Peter Ettinger, 59, was in a crosswalk on Tudor Road at C Street around 7:20 a.m. when he was struck by an eastbound pickup, police wrote in an online statement. The truck had a green light and Ettinger had been crossing against the red pedestrian light.

Ettinger was taken to a hospital but pronounced dead.

Police have not released the name of the driver and no charges had been filed. The investigation into the “dynamics of the crash” is ongoing, the department said.

Ettinger performed primarily in Anchorage and Canada for decades as a lead singer in rock cover bands. His band, named Ettinger, performed often at Chilkoot Charlie’s.

“He was a local icon,” said Sal Addonisio, who met Ettinger more than 20 years ago while working at Chilkoot Charlie’s. The two became best friends instantly, Addonisio said.

Ettinger was a gifted performer who brought the stage to life, said Addonisio. During performances he would pull crowd members up onto the stage to belt out lyrics alongside him and dance to the rhythm.

Peter Ettinger was a well-known local musician who died after he was struck by a car Tuesday. Ettinger toured North America with his band and frequently performed at Chilkoot Charlie's in Anchorage. (Photo by Sal Addonisio)

“People would be jumping up and down, bouncing around,” Addonisio said. “He’d have one hand on the light fixture or up on the roof of the stage and he’d be leaning out into the crowd with the microphone so they could sing along with him.”

Whether it was a mellow weeknight or a busy weekend, Addonisio said Ettinger always managed to gather a crowd and get people out onto the dance floor. It didn’t matter if there were 10 people or more than 100, Ettinger gave his all to the performances. Addonsisio laughed remembering how people would muscle their way through the crowds to get closer to the music.

“He wanted people to come out, have a good time and forget their worries for the night,” said close friend and former bandmate Colin Furness.

Ettinger was passionate about music throughout his life and succeeded in his dream of being a traveling rock star, Furness said.

“I think one time he told me he held down a regular job for like six weeks as a teen and then he said, ’I don’t want to do that, I want to play music all the time.’ And he made that happen,” Furness said.

Ettinger was born in Nova Scotia, where Furness said he remains a “legend in his own right.”

He toured throughout North America, putting on shows in every Canadian province and nearly every U.S. state, Furness said. Not only did Ettinger perform at bars, casinos and weddings, but Addonisio remembers watching him perform for tens of thousands of fans when he performed bigger gigs, like the Junior Hockey Olympics.

Everywhere he went, Ettinger made a new friend, said Addonisio. He was a compassionate man with a big heart and a smile to match.

“He loved going to new places, seeing new things and people and he’d always come back and tell me about all the bars he played or the shows he did,” Addonisio said.

More than anything, Addonisio said, Ettinger loved his family and said his life centered around his young daughter.

Friends As the brother of Peter, and on behalf of his family, I wanted to ask Colin, Ettinger drummer, and one of many...

Posted by Ettinger on Thursday, August 27, 2020

Furness remembers how Ettinger would rarely play music during their sometimes days-long road trips driving to shows. Instead, they would spend the time talking about sports or politics. Ettinger genuinely cared about the people he knew and enjoyed hearing about their lives, Furness said.

Ettinger was a huge sports fan and particularly enjoyed watching hockey and football. Addonisio said he was competitive by nature and the two of them regularly golfed together. Although Ettinger nearly always won, Addonisio laughed when he recalled winning the last game they played at the Russian Jack Springs Golf Course just a few weeks ago.

They spoke on the phone just a few days before Ettinger died.

“He always said ’I love you’ on the phone and I just said ’I love you more, brother, I’ll call you soon,’” Addonisio said. “It’s hard to believe that he’s gone, and there’s a lot of people that are missing him.”