top of page

Llythaniele Fender


Llythaniele Fender, was nicknamed Sporto and would give Pop-Tarts to Iraqi children, buying several cases of the pastries when they ran out. Sporto could only be described as a young man with heart, said Pastor Arley Ellingson.

Fender, 21, of Onawa, Wash., was killed June 10 in Karbala by an explosive. He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Lewis.

Jeremy Brayden was the young soldier’s government teacher. Llythaniele was a quiet kid, very well-mannered. He was very well put together in the way he carried himself, he said.

Shannon Paseka, who graduated with Fender, said he would offer encouragement to fellow students in art class, and was always willing to lend a hand when it was time to clean up. He was never a negative person, Paseka said.

Specialist Matthew Weyant left this remembrance on Fender’s MySpace page: You were more than a fellow soldier to me, and more than a friend, you were my brother. I was always thinking about you since the last time I saw you in Kuwait. Now I will think of you for the rest of my life.

Before his unit left for Iraq in February, he had been living in Medical Lake, Wash. His parents still live there.

Fender was born at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and grew up in this western Iowa town. Fender attended Julesburg High School in Julesburg, Colo., before he returned to Onawa in 2002 and graduated from West Monona High School in 2004. He enlisted in the Army in October 2004.

In a packed auditorium – where soldiers and officers saluted, veterans stood proud, and mourners held their hands over their hearts – Ellingson reminded everyone of the sacrifice Fender made for his country.

“He was playing in the big leagues when it came to things that really mattered,” he said. “He had chosen a life that involved sacrifice. His qualities were measured by things like duty, honor, courage, commitment and, above all, service to others.”

Seventy members of the Patriot Riders Group, a collection of motorcycle riders, escorted Fender’s remains to the funeral service. Afterward, five cyclists preceded the hearse as the funeral procession left the high school and made its way toward Onawa Cemetery, where the soldier was buried.

“Anytime it happens, it’s too bad,” said Herold Meyer of Onawa, a veteran who served with the Army during peacetime. “The whole situation is unfortunate.”

He is survived by his parents, Ellen and Tom Fender.


bottom of page