By Gwen Huneck
It is with great sadness that I share with you the news of the death of my Husband , Stephen Huneck, Thursday January 8th. Tragically Stephen took his own life. Stephen had been despondent for some time now and was being treated for depression. Like many Americans we had been adversely affected by the economic downturn. Stephen feared losing Dog Mountain and our home.
Then on Tuesday we had to lay off most of our employees. This hurt Stephen deeply. He cared about them and felt responsible for their welfare. I could see how devastated he felt and tried to reassure him that the most important thing to me was that we were together. I told him how much I loved him, that he had accomplished so much in his life he should feel proud not ashamed.
I said how I was constantly being told by visitors to Dog Mountain how much they loved his artwork. They also told me how meaningful the Dog Chapel was to them and how grateful they are that Stephen had created it.
Stephen and I discussed his feelings of despair and he said he would be seeing his psychiatrist the next day and would talk it over with her. He seemed to be looking forward to his session. He got up early Thursday morning to go see her. Stephen drove to the doctor’s parking lot and while parked in his car, shot himself in the head.
I wished I could of reached him some how. Stephen gave so much love and joy to the world through his warmth and openness as a person and a great artist. I hope he will be remembered as that joyous soul.
One the last page of the “Dog Chapel” book Stephen wrote “you too can build a chapel, in a place that’s always open in your heart.”