Donald Charles Skonieczka, aka Rabbit, passed peacefully at his beloved home in Colorado City, CO in the loving embrace of family on November 9, 2022, at the age of 82, after a 22-year journey with cancer.
Don was born November 30, 1940, in Erie, Pennsylvania to Alois Skonieczka and Margaret Kloor and is preceded in death by his parents Alois and Margaret, siblings Richard Skonieczka, Marge Eccles, and nephew Isaac Leichner.
Survived by his lover Wendie Stauffer, Colorado City, Co; daughter Angelina Skonieczka, Albuquerque, NM; daughter Lily Rose Butcher, her husband Mark Butcher, and their four children, Silas, Ruby, Quinn, and Ethan, Poway, CA; mother of his daughters Ramona Ellen Ludwig, Santa Fe, NM; brother Kenneth “Buzz” Skonieczka, Erie, PA; sister and brother in law, Pam and Terry Leichner, Denver, Co; David Skonieczka, Erie, PA; nieces and nephews, C. Richelle O’Conner and family, Sandy Kocur and family, Cheryl Maloney and family Rick Skonieczka and family, Andrea Dorè and family, Michelle Skonieczka Murphy and family, Michael Skonieczka and family, Forest Gabriel Leichner and family.
Rabbit was a rebel who marched to the beat of his own drum his entire life and as many have said it was a drum he crafted himself from objects and unconventional materials he found beautiful. It has been said that those who hear not the music think the dancers mad. Those of us who heard his music are forever better because of it. He made an impression on everyone he met. He loved to debate and have conversations about the human condition, which he emphatically referred to as Sophisticated Slavery. He was a compassionate and knowledgeable healer who would not hesitate to tell you that you were consuming too much sugar or dairy.
He was the father of two gorgeous, strong and intelligent daughters, in whom he instilled a love of nature and taught to be compassionate and loving. He told them that if they went into any situation with love that they could not go wrong. For the past 29 years, his companion was Wendie who he affectionately referred to as his Lover. The two of them grew spiritually together, built a beautiful life, and enjoyed many adventures including gardening. The addition of his son-in-law made possible the expansion of the love he felt for his family as each grandchild arrived.
In 1962 he was accepted to Adam State College where he studied Psychology. After he got his degree he was drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam era. He entered service at Fort Dix, New Jersey in 1966 and was honorably discharged in 1968 having served at Lyster Army Hospital, Fort Rucker, Alabama.
His love for open water began growing up on the shores of Lake Erie. In 1970 that love was realized in grand fashion as a crew member of the Barquentine Clipper, Regina Maris, embarking from Lisbon, Portugal through the Panama Canal and disembarking in Ensenada, CA. That love continued from the first time he entered the San Luis Valley. Mount Blanca, Crestone, San Luis Lake, and the Rio Grande River were familiar surroundings. The people he met became family in his home away from home. Those connections brought him back to The Valley time and time again.
For 10 Years he prayed for a vision to lead him through the maze of physical life. During this time, his heart would tell him to be humble and live a simpler life. In November of 1979, he had a vision in which he was doing acupuncture. The person was getting better from the acupuncture and he was shining. He sat up in bed, told himself this was powerful, and immediately started studying acupuncture.
With a degree in Psychology, the connection between how emotions impact our physical bodies was immediate. One of his favorite psychoanalysts was Carl Jung, who wrote the forward for the book entitled “The Secret of the Golden Flower”. The book revealed an ancient teaching that humans have a flower in their hearts, a Golden Flower that must be nourished and watered, taken care of with our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and way of life. When we take care of this Golden Flower within, our hearts grow and glow. When we don’t, the resulting dis-ease takes its toll. Considering names for his business, the Golden Flower within his heart spoke to him in a dream and asserted “The Golden Flower Health Clinic” would convey his heart’s desire to help others.
The Pueblo office of the Golden Flower Health Clinic opened in 1990, having relocated from Alamosa, CO. With more than 40 years of experience in environments of healing, he observed that if one can abide in the NOW awareness, moment to moment, they can purify themselves of all attachments and suffering.
Early in the diagnosis, they were drawn to the Tibetan Bön teachings, which continue to inform their paths. In accordance, his body lay in repose at the house for 72 hours and then underwent a water cremation. Forty-nine days of prayers are now being offered, which auspiciously concludes on December 31st. Celebrations of his life are encouraged, as they spontaneously are inspired. In lieu of flowers, all are invited to initiate group hugs, often. Remember to trust your heart and offer a coyote howl to the moon. Donations may be made to the National War Tax Resister’s Coordinating Committee.
In his own words:
When one focuses on their heart
One will find a golden flower
When one waters this flower with the nectar of their
Love, gratitude, and compassion
This golden flower will grow up
To the crown of your head
So you and those around you will experience
The light of this beautiful Golden Flower