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Jay William Kunzle
January 13, 1960 - December 30, 1999
 
What initially was thought to be the flu was followed by a swift and shocking decline. Jay William Kunzle succumbed to necrotizing faciitis on December 30, 1999. His life-partner Mark Martin, his father and mother, Jack and Marcella Kunzle, his beloved sister Jackie Scholl, his brothers John, Jr., Mike, and Jeff, as well as his nieces and nephews survive him.

A voice mail to me on Sunday, December 26, said to come quickly to Arlington Hospital. Jay was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. He was the youngest in our family. In the message, my older brother John said " . . . he's the sickest person in the hospital . . . hurry." He was admitted that morning. Four days later he was lost to us. Lost and gone forever. I often think of my brother . . . I wish I could touch him. I wish I could talk to him. I would tell him a few things I admire about him. I'd tell him I admire his caring, selfless nature. I'd tell him I admire the bonds he maintained with people, and how he made his place in this harsh, beautiful world. And I'd tell him he taught me a great deal about tolerance. He'd dismiss these sentiments. I admire that about him too.

Driven by his own complexities and all he held dear, at the end of the day Jay was a simple man. He was a good son and a kind person. His kindness was never hidden, nor was it ever on display. He gave it away freely. In small and loving ways he gave himself away; He prepared meals for friends and family get-togethers, he baked cookies (who can forget his signature gingersnaps?!), he was generous to his nieces and nephews, he helped Mark's mom plant flowers. I believe these things renewed and fulfilled him. The things Jay gave away were pieces of himself. They are small treasures. They renew and fulfill us even now. It's sad and joyous all at once, the heart's longing for a loved one taken so suddenly and the heart's joy for having these - and so many more - memories to treasure. We are lucky that he was in our lives. He is with us still.

As a child I remember feeling wonder and excitement when he was born. I remember the day dad brought 'Jaybird' and mom home from the hospital. Mother laid him down on their bed. He was a little guy on that huge bed. When he was a toddler my brothers, sister and I sometimes would argue about who Jay would sit with to watch television. When he and I sat together, I would press my cheek against his. We would watch TV and cuddle. It is my sweetest memory of my brother. He gave himself away even then. Jay was with his brothers and his dear sister on Christmas Eve 1999. It was a Friday night. His nieces and nephews were there too. Jackie and Larry's home was aglow with the spirit of Christmas. Privately, Jay told Jackie about the pain in his right shoulder. He said he had trouble lifting his arm. He would see a doctor about it on Monday. It was the last time we were together. He was overwhelmed with illness and passed away so quickly.

Life is precious and so fragile. In our haste to live life, we often lose sight of important things. Sometimes we fail to embrace the bond between souls that above all else enrich our lives. With the clarity of hindsight I see this. I miss my brother. I wish I could touch him now. I wish I could press my cheek against his and tell him he is not lost or gone . . . but forever here in my heart.


Jay's Loving Brother, Michael Kunzle
mikek@harkinsbuilders.com

January 2000
 

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April 22, 2003