We want The Durango Herald and its readers to know about our familys and friends disgust and distaste in the Heralds printed obituary of our son Kitt Stone Harman on Nov. 10. Our story is to celebrate his life, not how he sadly died.
The last sentence of the Heralds obituary, The cause of death was suicide were not our words. This was not released in the familys submitted obituary and was inappropriate and totally unacceptable. TheDurango Herald had taken it upon itself, by someone unknown as explained to us, to insert the last comment.
To all the families in Durango and surrounding communities who have endured this lonely and tragic death of a loved one, we feel your sorrow and despair. There is help offered by various groups and organizations available with love and support in this wonderful community. Stay strong, because life is good.
Jimi and Marita Harman
Editors note: The Harmans are correct; the sentence explaining the cause of death was not in their words. Herald obituaries are written by Herald staff writers in accordance with Herald policy and style. Information submitted for obituaries is typically edited for content, language and length, and may also include additional information gathered by the Herald. Obituaries are considered news and are published at no cost. Herald policy is to include cause of death whenever possible as a matter of legitimate public concern. In the case of Kitt Harman, the cause of death came from the coroner and was reported as a news story in the Herald on Nov. 9 after his body was found near Lake Nighthorse on Nov. 4. Withholding information about cause of death, particularly in the death of a young person, raises questions and may promote rumors. When the cause of death is suicide, it is the Heralds policy to list that as the last line in the obituary so that family and friends can cut it off if they wish in saved copies. It is the Heralds ownerships belief, however, that suicide is a too-frequent tragedy deserving of more attention from society, not less. The Herald also publishes paid death notices, one of which the Harmans submitted. Paid death notices are handled by the advertising department and can include or leave out whatever information the survivors want, subject only to normal advertising standards. The Herald extends its condolences to the Harmans.