‘He was much more of a hero than we ever knew.’ Local man who died fighting in Ukraine brought back to Idaho

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BLACKFOOT — A 34-year-old Rexburg man who died while fighting in Ukraine was honored in Idaho and laid to rest on Wednesday.

Dane Partridge was married and had five children. He died on Oct. 11 after being critically injured fighting alongside Ukrainian forces.

RELATED | ‘He had a warrior’s heart.’ Local mother opens up about her son who died while fighting in Ukraine

His mother, Terri Hepworth, said his body came back from Ukraine over the weekend on Saturday to Salt Lake City. He was then transported back to Rexburg on Monday by a local funeral home.

Dane Partridge1
Dane Partridge in Ukraine. | Courtesy Terri Hepworth

Partridge was buried in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Blackfoot.

“That’s what he wanted. He wanted to be with the rest of the veterans,” Hepworth said.

Hepworth said there was a funeral for Partridge in Idaho Falls Wednesday morning, then a ceremony in Blackfoot in the afternoon. The VFW from Madison County was present.

“They did a wonderful ceremony for him. They lined the halls of the church with flags, and they lined outside with the hearse and they did a 21 guns salute and folded the flags,” Hepworth said. “The VFW did a wonderful salute.”

Hepworth said a flag was presented to her, Partridge’s wife and his oldest son.

She said all branches of the military were represented which were the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Army, due to family members and friends that have served. She said there was a woman from Ukraine that sang, and her friend played guitar to honor her son.

Hepworth shared a quote with EastIdahoNews.com that was said at her son’s services by people that knew him. She said his call sign was Bird because his last name was Partridge.

“Bird’s actions and his character in that final battle upheld the most sacred values and traditions of the United States Army Infantry and would have warranted no less than a bronze star with a valor device if this action had occurred under the U.S. military.”

Partridge served in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2012. Click here to read his obituary. Hepworth told EastIdahoNews.com in a previous interview that her son saw what was happening in Ukraine and left in April 2022. He joined the international legion of foreign fighters, a group of volunteers from countries around the world fighting alongside Ukrainians. 

On Oct. 3, he was injured. 

Jenny Corry, Partridge’s older sister, told EastIdahoNews.com in October, that her brother and other men he was with were clearing trenches when they were ambushed by two Russian vehicles. The men were caught in a firefight. Partridge got shrapnel in his brain and suffered from a broken neck and an injured arm. His comrades carried him out.

Corry said Partridge was in a coma for eight days at Zaporizhzhia Regional Medical Center and passed away while he was on life support.

At his services on Wednesday, Hepworth said she learned even more about her son and what he had done while in Ukraine.

“Dane was respected, and he was loved, and his skills were needed. I am impressed with the kind of man he became over there,” she said. “He was much more of a hero than we ever knew.”

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