‘Depression Is A Beast': McMurry Family Vows Greater Mental Health Awareness After Mick’s Death
Mick McMurry's mental health rapidly declined after back surgery in February, which lead to his suicide earlier this week, his daughter and a family spokesman said Friday.
"This is somebody who'd never been sick and never had taken much medicine, and it had it had an after-effect of some depression," George Bryce said at a news conference at the home of Susie and Mick McMurry.
"Depression manifests itself in many different ways, and can sneak up on you," Bryce said.
"Some people that suffer from depression have a way of hiding it. And we knew that something wasn't quite right, and we were kind of saying, 'is that really Mick?,' and then the next day it was really Mick," he said.
Renowned businessman and philanthropist McMurry was found at his residence on Newport Street early Tuesday. Natrona County Coroner Connie Jacobson said the cause of death was a a gunshot wound, and the manner of death was suicide
Family and friends will host a community service at the Casper Events Center at 2 p.m. Tuesday. "It's going to be a hell of a celebration," Trudi McMurry Holthouse said.
Bryce and Holthouse thanked the public for their support. They also urged people to carry on McMurry's legacy by doing something for someone else, or in his words, "Pay It Forward."
But most of their remarks dealt with the devastating effects of depression and mental illness, and its tragic end game.
"Depression is a beast that no one should have to face alone," Holthouse said.
Holthouse said her father's decline was quick after the surgery.
Her father would refer to a gathering "black cloud," yet he hid the symptoms well, she said.
"He's so poised about himself and handling people," Holthouse said. "The way I looked at it was just a change of heart like an enlightening was happening and he was coming to us with deep sorrow and grief," Holthouse said.
The family supported him, but that apparently wasn't enough, she said.
"It just got to be such a burden, he couldn't bear it anymore, Holthouse said. "His body had never failed him like this before. He had never not had a clarity of mind, and his heart was just so heavy, but you know, we didn't know, we didn't know how heavy it was."
Bryce, a trustee with the the McMurry Foundation, said mental health long has been the step-child of the overall health care system and people need to be more aware and aware of what's happening in others' lives
The McMurry Foundation has supported mental health and depression awareness, but her father's death will sharply change that because she wouldn't wish that on anyone, Holthouse said.
"You can bet there will be some things that we will now be more focused on and take note to help more people. You just never know when someone is as desperate and destitute as that," she said. "It will be a priority."
One of Holthouse's last times with her father underscores this focus, this desperation and this priority.
Last Thursday, they went out for coffee.
"He told me that that was the first time in 20 years that he stopped long enough to think, 'I need to go to coffee with my daughter.' And we sat at Perkins for an hour and he just told me how much he loved me and I get to hold on to that forever.
"There's millions of stories, but for me, in the last week, I just want to go back to coffee with him just one more time."