Created on Saturday, 06 April 2013 Written by REUBEN MEES
Logan County Cancer Society fundraiser on display beginning today
For many local artists, painting a door is a way to heal and reflect on the loved ones they have lost.
Adam Skidmore attaches a base to the door created by Wanda Stahler and Robyn Wunderle outside Wren’s Florist on Friday evening.
Such was the case for Sally Engle and her art students, Wanda Stahler and her daughter Robyn Wunderle and Kristy Clement, each of whom painted doors for the Logan County Cancer Society’s Doors of Encouragement fundraiser that will be installed today throughout downtown Bellefontaine.
Organizer Melody Couchman expects 73 doors, which is up from 53 at last year’s inaugural event, to be on display through April 30 when they will be auctioned. The event last year generated $27,000 and this year’s has already brought in $15,000 for the cause, she said.
“This project means so much to everyone who makes a door. So many are for someone special,” Mrs. Engle said. “The story you find with many people is it is a journey of healing and helping.”
She painted a door for her 33-year-old daughter Mandy Engle Harvey who died of cancer in August 2011 after a six-year battle. Her West Liberty-Salem Elementary art students also painted a door with more than 300 stars with words remembering the people they knew who have been touched by the disease.
It was a difficult decision when Mrs. Engle was asked to paint a last year — just months after the loss of her daughter — but this year was somewhat easier.
“When Melody sent out an email to see if any art classes were interested, it was December 2011 — just four months after I lost my daughter,” she said. “I looked long and hard at it, and I thought if I didn’t do it, Mandy would probably come down and kick me.
“I know she would be happy because this is raising money for cancer. Each year she would raise money for cancer. She even started a charity called Caps for Cures and they knitted chemo caps for hospitals.”
And the first year helped her heal.
“My kids helped me through it as I helped them through it,” the art teacher said. “We tried to make it the most fabulous door and the most encouraging door. It helped me with the journey I’ve been making since August 2011.”
It was a similar story for Mrs. Stahler and her daughter as they remembered husband and father Bob Stahler, who died of cancer in December 2010.
Sally Engle’s third- through fifth-grade art students at West Liberty-Salem painted this door to inspire hope that includes more than 300 stars of their loved ones and words of inspiration. EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES
“I was so impressed with them last year that when I was asked in December, I was more than happy to do one,” the talented watercolor painter and former art teacher said. “I did it mostly for Bob.”
The door is a floral pattern with a wreath of flowers painted in the glass window and painting supplies affixed to the door.
“We wanted to bring out the artistic theme and a floral garden and then we used words we thought were inspirational.”
And it was an excellent opportunity for the mother and daughter to bond.
“She’s been in my arms all these years with art and has always been very talented with art,” Mrs. Stahler said. “It was just fun. The grandkids thought I painted one side and Robyn painted the other and they said how much they looked alike. But actually we worked our way around the door together and I would add to her work and she would add lines to mine.”
The duo cranked out the bulk of the work on the door in about two days in December before Mrs. Stahler left to spend the winter in Florida.
For Mrs. Clement’s door, she chose to honor her close friend Natalie Comer, who died in January of a heart condition.
Traveling abroad at the time of her friend’s death, she wanted a special way to recognize Natalie.
“I was trying to think of something to honor her because I really didn’t have any closure and she was one of my best friends,” Mrs. Clement said. “We walked around downtown and looked at the doors last year and she thought it was such an awesome project. I think she would be tickled.”
Read the full story in Saturday's Examiner.