We would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming love and support that you have shown us the past few weeks. Seeing and hearing your stories has been a cherished source of comfort. We also want to thank all who attended and watched the memorial service to honor Donnie’s heart and spirit in such a wonderful way.
We would especially like to thank everyone for graciously allowing us to grieve, giving us the space we needed to process so many emotions. Although there were occasional questions about the nature of Donnie’s passing, we know most of you trusted that we would address this as we were able (which is the purpose of this note).
While many knew Donnie for his passion for life and for bringing the gospel to young people, he was first and foremost the most wonderful husband and father we could have asked for. Not only did the world lose someone who was greatly helping others, but we also lost the love of our lives. He was the kindest, most loving and caring man.
If you heard Donnie preach before and after 2008, you probably noticed a difference. After 2008 he focused more on the love of God and the power of mercy. The reason (as he often shared) was that he went through a valley of Clinical Depression. With the support of friends and help of his doctors, Donnie was able to get through that valley and emerged with a greater depth of compassion and tenderness in his ministry. He had new depth in the way he loved people, more than he already had, and was more deeply moved by the pain that many experience.
After 10 years, Donnie entered another valley of Clinical Depression in the last couple months. The devastating effects of this condition trouble the thinking and can do so in greater measure when medications are being introduced and stabilized. This is what Donnie experienced. In those clouds of darkness and pain, impacted by the negative side effect of the medication, Donnie, sadly, took his own life.
Clinical (Major) Depression isolates its victims, and can be difficult to address because of the stigma which often surrounds it. It can be a silent battle that many face alone. With compassion and love, however, we can support others who face this challenge—without judgement. We hope that through our transparency there can be a more open and understanding dialogue of mental health issues and less misunderstanding of others who suffer, particularly in the body of Christ. This is an important arena of ministry, and we will no doubt come back to it in the future.
In the meantime, we as a family want to thank everyone for your love, support and prayers; and for keeping in mind what a sensitive time this is for us. Donnie’s unique ability over the years to understand and speak to others in pain was because he knew what it was like to be in pain himself. We are so proud of our father and husband that despite this challenge, he fought for 62 years to leave this world a better place than he found it. Donnie’s legacy will live on through us and the hundreds of thousands of lives he has touched through his faithful service to God and his love for others.
Cindy, Brooke, Anna & DJ
We love and appreciate all your kind words and stories about Donnie. To help us celebrate Donnie's legacy, The Hunt family has kindly created a place to share your favorite memories or heartfelt words. We have found such comfort in your support.