For most people, a call at 3 a.m. would be upsetting. For Renee Green, the early morning call from her son Kahlil Guinn was something she looked forward to every day.
Each call was his 15-minute opportunity to check in on his mother and make sure she was doing well. Now, the mother of three wishes for nothing more than to get just one more call from her middle child.
“He was always caring, positive and gave encouragement,” says Green. “He had a way of motivating the people he talked with.”
Guinn, a father of six, died by suicide on Sept. 4. He was 46.
Green says she had no idea her son, a Marine Corps veteran, struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression until she discovered his Veterans Affairs medical records after his death. Guinn was the type of person who did not want to burden people with his issues while being a pillar of support, she said.
“It is very, very hard for us,” says his mother. “He didn’t show us what he was going through inside, and he always kept a smile on to help other people get over their milestones.”
After Guinn’s 12 years in the Marines, he stayed active in the Kansas City veteran community, participating in fund drives for various causes. Among them: mental health.
Green hopes that others suffering in similar circumstances will reach out for help instead of trying to work through their troubles alone.
“I want people to know to love yourself and take care of yourself. I wish he was able to speak more freely of his lack of peace,” she says.
Green feels comforted by the many messages and stories she has received about her son. Many friends, his classmates from Shawnee Misson West High School and business acquaintances posted heartfelt messages about his death.
“You did your best. You gave the world what you had to offer. A voice to many, a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on.”
“My heart hurts for him and his family… My brother I hope you found peace.”
“I was lucky enough to know this amazing human, Kahlil Guinn. He was a brother and protector to everyone that met him.”
“I promise to keep making you proud Kahlil. I love you and miss you tremendously!”
Green and her family now have the task of keeping the memory of Guinn alive for his children, who she says were the center of his life. The family plans to have a celebration of life with military honors at 2 p.m. Oct. 1 at Offkey Karaoke Lounge.
“So many of the Westport businesses who knew him through his work have reached out to share what an important part of the area he was,” Green says.
She says she finds peace in a message he recorded for his family before his death: “I am proud of you, I love you. Love yourself and you will continue to make me proud.”
He is survived by his mother, Renee Green; siblings, Tony Garcia and Rashanda Green; children Jordan Guinn, Reagan Guinn, Jayda Hankins, Dasha Valentinovna, Azaria Brewster, Elias Chilcote. He is also remembered by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles and friends.
If you or someone you know is at risk of self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24-hour support at 988.
John Houston, retired worker for General Motors Co., died Aug. 23. He was 84.
Houston was born on Jan. 28, 1939, in Louin, Mississippi, to Dunk and Bernice Houston, the youngest of his parents’ six children. His family moved to Kansas City, Kansas, in 1948, and he graduated from Sumner High School in 1959.
As the son of a reverend, Houston grew up in church and carried his faith into his later years as a member of Abundant Life Church.
Houston worked for General Motors for over 33 years in various positions. While walking to work, he met Beverly Ivory and the two married in 1969. They had five children and the couple were married for 49 years.
Houston loved the outdoors and enjoyed activities such as fishing, hunting and cooking his freshly caught game for his family. His family says his boat and gun collections were his most beloved possessions. He took many trips with his children and grandchildren, teaching the next generation to appreciate nature.
He is survived by his children, Virgie Houston, Kim Houston Frye, John Houston Jr., Jason Houston and Jermaine Houston. He is also remembered by a host of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Brad Boldridge, marketing and development researcher, died Aug. 31. He was 46.
Boldridge was born Oct. 2, 1976, in Atchison, Kansas, to Marvin and Marjorie Boldridge. He was the couple’s youngest child.
He graduated from Atchison High School in 1995 and in 2008 he received a degree in business management from Friends University. Boldridge was married in 1999 to Althera, and the couple spent the next 23 years together and had three daughters. He will be remembered as a caring husband and father who spent hours of quality time with his family.
Boldridge spent his career as a marketing and development researcher for companies such as Neilsen, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Farmland Foods.
He is survived by his wife, Althera Boldridge; daughters Alexandria, Gabrielle and Kerrington Boldridge; mother Marjorie Boldridge; brothers Mark Boldridge and Steven Boldridge. He is also remembered by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.