A Reflection from Anne Kunkle (Rick’s wife):
“Today was a beautiful day. Rick was taken off of the ventilator this morning and died at 11:25 am. His peaceful death is just one of the many miracles we have been blessed with.
Rick’s mother Leah took him on a guided meditation at the ocean while she and his sister Cheryl smothered Rick with love and tears. When they joined friends and other family in the waiting room, the immediate family stayed close by Rick's side.
Aaron, Claire, Chris and I caressed Rick's head, held his hands, moistened his lips, rested our heads on his shoulders, smothered him in kisses and hugged him and each other. Through silence, humming, reminiscing, singing, reassuring and consoling we let Rick know that he was loved, that we cherished our relationships with him and that we were so glad for all he has been for each of us and that he was free to let go of his mortal life. I would have never thought I would describe Rick's death as beautiful, but it was so wonderful to watch all of his pain and struggle fade away and have him slip into a blissful sleep. God definitely wrote the story! This final chapter of Rick's life was one where Rick was surrounded by our closest friends and family.
Immediately following his death I asked Rick's mom and sister to help me bathe and dress him and lay him on the Log Cabin quilt that his Grandma Winger gave to us on our wedding day. My dear friend Cecilia led us in a ritual of prayer and blessing Rick's body. It was a gift to one another to sing, pray, bless and share together. I am so glad that each person was able to bless Rick in such unique and meaningful ways. In singing "Take Lord Receive", I felt that the Suscipe, a prayer written by St. Ignatius Loyola, was never more heartfelt. We were singing the prayer that Rick has taught us with his life.
I appreciated all of the love and engulfing, yet tender hugs I received today. Hopefully this glimpse of Rick's final day helps you rejoice in the peace Rick has found.
Thank you for loving Rick and our family.”
Vigil and Funeral Mass Arrangements
A Vigil and Funeral Mass for Rick will be held at St. Michael Catholic Church in Olympia, Washington.
1208 11th Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501 | 360-754-4667
The Vigil will be on Friday, March 10 at 7:30 pm
Everyone is invited to attend this evening of proclaiming scripture, singing and sharing our journeys with Rick.
The Funeral will be on Saturday, March 11 at 11 am.
All are invited to a luncheon following the funeral in the Gathering Space, which adjoins the sanctuary.
Donations In Memory of Rick
Please consider making a donation to Homes First! [See below]. This organization is offering exactly what Rick always dreamed of doing in his retirement. He wanted to provide low-income rental housing to those in our community who most need it. Here is a brief look at what they are offering to members of our community.
Since April 1990, Homes First! has worked to increase the supply of affordable housing for community members in need. We have purchased a variety of houses and apartments or duplexes and rehabilitated them. We continue to search for opportunities to partner with our local community to purchase and provide housing for the most vulnerable in Thurston County. We also work with variety of other non-profit organizations to provide housing and services for developmentally disabled community members and others who need a little extra support.