Thursday, February 23, 2006

For Jack

I heard about Jack Lunde long before I ever met him, as if his personality was too large to just hand over to someone without properly prepping them--in my case, weeks in advance. (Turns out it was.) He finally appeared on an Easter Sunday, when a bunch of us were gathered at Lisa Eisen & David Hudec's house. Lisa had made a leg of lamb and a tablefull of other perfect dishes--such are her talents.

We had a conversation about D.H. Lawrence in a loud bar once when Jack was reading Sons & Lovers, and I had the realization--I think it's pretty safe to assume a lot of people may have had this realization at some point--that Jack was a lot smarter than I had given him credit for, that I had been fooled by all of it: the bawdy sense of humor, the reputation, the beefcakiness. "What do you like about it?" I asked him--meaning the Lawrence. "Oh, you know, emotional manipulation, family dysfunction. It's a real feel good kinda book," Jack said.

He was loud, and he was a little obnoxious (and sexy as hell,) and I would be lying if I said it didn't sometimes feel as if people tolerated his complexity--we all have those friends. One thing about that Easter Sunday that sticks out in my mind is Jack proclaiming, about the habits of gay men: "I know how it works, you diddle-dee-doo and then he fucks you in the asshole!" I liked him, tremendously.

Jack, so many of us miss you. If the uncertainty of the other side became less frightening than every single day, then I hope that wherever you are, some peace has found you.


Garry Dufford said...

I am very sad today. I've just found out about the demise of my good friend Jack Lunde.

Exact information is sketchy right now, but it appears that he took his own life. I can't reach his brothers, and have little information from the Denver authorities, but have been told that he was found approximately a week and a half ago. The coroner's office said it was a suicide. Fuck.

My wife said that she always felt so special around him. That powerful charisma had a cocky side, but he had a big, kind heart beneath it all.

Why would he do this? I wish I knew. I'll miss him greatly. I wish we'd kept in closer contact, but ran in different circles. He was my daughter Isabel's godfather. The empty space he leaves in our lives will be impossible to fill...

Dan Rubin said...

Empty indeed Gary. Jack was one of my closest friends for over ten years. Truly, more of a brother to me than both of my own put together. We lived together twice -- once in SF and a few years later in New York -- and spoke constantly with our free Sprint to Sprint phone plan.

I was well aware of Jack's all-too romantic entertainment of ending the pain with a gunshot to the head. Maybe it was denial but I never thought he'd go all the way with it. Too many friends. Too good-looking. Too much appreciation for all that life has to offer. etc., etc. It appears that depression, booze, and a stubborn resistance to getting some real help just got the best of him.

I think we can all say without fear of contradiction that we will never meet anyone like Jack Lunde again. He was everything that a good friend should be -- supportive, trustworthy, empathetic and loyal. He had that rare gift for physical comedy and, contrary to his steady work as a commercial model, he was one of the least vain people I ever knew. Jack only lied to me once in the years that I knew him. I remember exactly where we were sitting in the apartment we shared in Queens when he said: "I'm going to know you when you're old Danny." It's a huge understatement when I tell you how heartbroken I am that he didn't keep that promise.

Feel free to email me at if you'd like to correspond or talk about any of the particulars surrounding this tragic event.


Paul Lunde said...


My name is Paul Lunde, I am Jack's younger brother, the oldest of three now, and a sister of 21. Thank you all for your understanding in regards to lack of returned phone calls, lack of invitations but it has hit me and my brothers hard. I had the pleasure of knowing Jack my whole life, he was my inspiration and many times prodded me (ever so gently) into moving across the country with him, from San Franscisco to Queens. I have moved from San Diego to now live with my youngest brother Daniel whom Jack lived with. This is something none of us imagined would happen again. Thanks to those who had shared experience with Jack. I hope this never happens to any of you any time soon.

Anonymous said...


I was emailed this site from a friend. I too knew Jack through Robin. We met Jack and his younger brother Paul at Charlie Browns one night. He was very entertaining and kept us both laughing. He and Robin ended up dating for some time and I know that she cared deeply for him. He was always kind to my daughters and made them feel special. He was one of a kind that is for sure. Jack had a way with people. It is so sad to know that he is gone when he had so many people that cared so deeply for him.

My deepest thoughts go out to his friends and family. I hope that you will continue to have Jack live with in you.


Christine said...

Oh. fuck. This is Christine, an old friend of Jacks. I occasionally "Google" Jacks name. Last time I checked it seemed he lived in Denver again and I saw a head shot of him. I thought he might be modeling and/or acting and he looked so good in the photo I had hopes that he was now a sober chap.

Today he came across my mind and I decided to Google him again. I am devastated. Oh, Jack. FUCK. My older brother also committed suicide. Paulie, I am thinking of you and trying to send you some good vibes and love through my tears. Dan, I will email you for more info. Oh, I am so sad.
I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you through the years and I am trying to conjure up your faces and connect through this tradegy.

Jack and I were close when he was in San Fran. We had a great year at Burning Man, and co-housed in a little apartment in Queens, New York for about 4 months. I tried to get ahold of him after 9-11 but was unable to do so. He will always hold a very special place in my heart.

I will miss you, Jack. Good luck on your next journey.

Bless you all.

Beth Levin Kelley said...

Hey,this is Beth Levin and I am an old friend of Jack's from Denver. Shit, its been 3 months and I am still so fucking sad. I was glad to find this and each of you who loved him too, from all of the different incarnations of Jack's life. It helps to feel less isolated in the mourning.Paul and Dan, my heart breaks for you guys, I know you couldn't come to Pete's for the "service" but my thoughts are with you guys. I am truly blessed to have great memories of sweet,crazy Jack. He is dearly missed. Anyone feel like reaching out, please feel free.


Anonymous said...

I miss Jack so terribly.
I hope someday I can think about all the things I loved about him without the sadness... his total lack of political correctness, the jocularity, the way he liked to cook for me and was always bugging me to eat more vegetables, the way he made me laugh at myself (etc., etc., etc...).
I hope someday I can stop thinking "what if I had done this or said that?". Everyone--I'm sorry that I couldn't stop this from happening. He said that he wanted to get help and I knew he'd been making moves toward that end, so I thought that was the plan. Knowing Jack, I feel like I shouldn't have been so naive--I should have realized that the actual plan might be different than he was letting on. I think a good piece of him did want to stay with us, but obviously the other piece was greater. I feel so badly that he was in so much pain. Wherever he is now, he should be proud that so many people loved him so much.
The five months that I knew him were at times a bumpy ride. I recognized his soul instantly and was drawn in quickly, but he was sometimes less than honest with me and I struggled with that. I would always let him talk me into sticking around, though, because I didn't like the idea of not having him in my life. In retrospect, I think Jack learned to live by his wits early on, and his tricksty (as he would say) way of manuvering out of tough spots was part of that. But then again, he would sometimes "let it all hang out" when he talked about himself and his history. He was complicated, but very much worth the trouble. My heart is broken and I will miss him forever.
If anyone wants to talk or needs more info to help with the healing process, my e-mail is

peter mickelson said...

Summer 2004

Here’s a glimpse:
We had Jack living with us for six months, June to November, the most beautiful time of the year in Portland. I saw him for the first time in years at my mother’s funeral a few months before. That night we both over indulged and more responsible family members whisked us away to different states. A few days after that, as I was waiting for my return flight home at O’Hare, Jack called to tell me that his mother, my mom’s sister, had died in his arms, just hours ago.
I wouldn’t see him again until he moved in.
But we had been planning for a long time, very covertly on his end. He needed to get out of New York, and I had been baiting him with the natural beauty and bounty that Oregon had to offer. And of course we were to begin our Great Collaboration, that elusive entity that we shared and spoke of for our whole lives; we were finally gonna get down to it. Jack’s enthusiasm is infectious, and he naturally makes those around him feel like rockstars, larger than fucking life. His belief in our project, whatever it was to be, was so strong that it sustained my own belief, and I was very excited for his arrival.
My wife and I had moved out of our loft downtown into a great big house up north near the University of Portland, creating a space for this chapter of our family, “Lyonesse West,” or something. A couple of weeks before Jack was to arrive, my wife found out she was pregnant. We went through the usual stages of freakout through acceptance, but when we told Jack he was very excited.
He was actually sitting in a bar in NYC with his old friend Rob during that particular phone call, when I broke the news. He swore a solemn, sincere, and sweet drunken-oath to defend our baby from any danger, including ravenous grizzly bears at the door. Rob was in the background doing a vaudeville version of Jack arriving home late some night to defend the baby, singing “Danny Boy” and hiccupping uncontrollably. It might be the funniest phone call ever, and I’ve had some funny ones.
So we were still on.
And what a crazy, amazing, beautiful and heartbreaking summer it was. More to come...

deb dufford said...

I check this sight several times a week. My name is Deb Dufford and my husband Garry wrote the first comment to this blog. We hadn't heard from Jack in a few months and he was weighing heavy on my mind in mid January. I had a very vivid dream about him a few weeks later and googled him. Then I found this sight.

I think of Jack alot. Since his death I have come across old letters from him when I wasn't looking for them. Postcards from him fall out of books that I pick up. Not to mention some crazy yet amazing dreams that he shows up in.

I hope I am not spooking anyone out. I just think he is OK. I miss him and wish his time here hadn't ended like it did. I wish our daughter (his god-daughter) had a chance to spend more time with him. I also wish he was here so I could have teased him about how many women loved him.

Jack was one of a kind. I miss him and I loved him.

Jami Hoffman said...

Happy Birthday, Jack. We miss you more and more.

Aaron Sosnowski said...

I was up at the Russian River over memorial day 2007 and was having a hard time sleeping at night. On one of those nights as I lay awake Jack popped into my head and the thought that a mutual workmate from back in '97 had years later mentioned to me that Jack was in a tv commercial.

With the advent of You Tube and Google I had this thought that when I get back from my mini vacation I would google and/or Youtube Jack Lunde to see what the hell this magnificent character was up to.

So here I am after just having read through this blog and I am stunned, shocked, but then again maybe not that surprised.

Our lives are circular in nature and I believe this is where we always say something that happened is ironic.

It so happens that after work today I will see a friend visting SF from New York. The last time I saw her I was in New York, this was also the last time I saw Jack, that was in the fall of 2000.

It's ironic or should I say circular that I am seeing my friend after all these years and thought of Jack randomly in this same window of time.

Jack and I were not that close, I was a young buck fresh out of college and we opened a restaurant together. I was young, hungry, and impressionable. Jack was an obvious magnet. There were so many things about him that I admired as a young man. He was always quick to compliment me, he admired my height and as he said, "my euro good looks." The last time I saw him in New York, he bragged that I came from "good stock."

I guess what I am trying to say is he always made me feel good about myself. I have a feeling he did that for a lot people despite the fact that he was down at times, maniacal, a pain in the ass, etc.

I was aware that he hit a low point in SF and when we connected in New York he was doing so much better. He was in full pursuit of his acting career, still living life by the seat of his pants, and blazing his own trail through life.

Jack, I wish you would have stayed around but you were afterall a blazing comet, one of the brightest most flamboyant I've ever known.

Thanks for the memories compadre.

Aaron Sosnowski

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone.

Thank you all for sharing your experiences about my brother. It has been over a year now and as we get nearer to Jack's birthday I miss him more than ever. I am lost without my brother and fear for my own future. I plan on leaving Denver, it is hollow for me now. Thank you all again. Paul

Anonymous said...

Garry said... and your brothers are in my thoughts today on Jack's birthday. I wish you all nothing but the best. He is today as he always will be missed.

deb dufford

Anonymous said...

I dreamed I called you on the telephone
to say: Be kinder to yourself
but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes on this way
trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered about the left-over
energy, the way water goes rushing down a hill
long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from
but cannot leave, burning-down but not burnt-down
the red coals more extreme, more curious
in their flashing and dying
than you wish they were
sitting long after midnight

- by Adrienne Rich

Eugene said...

Like several others of you, I too would Google Jack from time to time. Two and half weeks ago was my most recent search. The search lead me to this blog.
I knew Jack in the mid 80s but had lost touch with him several years later. Until now all of my searches were futile.
I was (am) shocked to learn about Jack's death.

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday, Jack.
I think of you often.
Love, Lisa

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday, Jack.
I think of you often.
Love, Lisa

Anonymous said...

Jack, still love and miss you and think about you often, even after all these years.

Lisa said...

Dear Jack,
I still think of you, especially today.