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Infection kills videographer

Dawn Picken and Sean Stanelun during a vacation. Courtesy of (Courtesy of
Dawn Picken and Sean Stanelun during a vacation. Courtesy of (Courtesy of

Stanelun, 48, became sick in September

Spokane videographer Sean Stanelun, 48, died in the early morning hours of Jan. 23 at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, after battling necrotizing fasciitis and several medical complications that followed the initial infection in September.

Stanelun was married to Dawn Picken, of Greater Spokane Inc., and the couple have two children, Fiona, 6, and Finley, 4.

Stanelun began his career in TV news, working as a “shooter” for stations in Baltimore, Md., Arlington, Va., Grand Rapids, Mich., Seattle and finally for KREM-TV in Spokane. He met Picken while they both worked in TV news in Grand Rapids – the couple married on Dec. 3, 1999.

In 2004 Stanelun left KREM-TV to start his own business, Manito Video Productions.

Stanelun shot many wedding videos – a welcome opportunity, he said last fall, to create lasting and beautiful memories for people celebrating happy occasions.

At the onset of his sudden and severe illness, photographer friends from the Inland Northwest Party Resources Organization picked up his assignments and completed them for free. It was also INPRO that put together a successful fundraiser in November, raising almost $10,000 toward Stanelun’s medical expenses.

Throughout Stanelun’s illness, Picken used the social networking site Facebook to keep friends and family up to date on how things were going. Her posts almost always immediately received encouraging comments.

“I kid you not, there are days where it saves my life,” Picken told The Spokesman-Review in October.

A memorial service has been scheduled for Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. at Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Grand Boulevard.

“We were not prepared for Sean’s death, even after four and a half months of serious illness,” Picken wrote in a short statement. “While we are heartbroken and stunned, we are also blessed and grateful for the tremendous amount of love we have received from family, friends, co-workers, and people we don’t even know. Thank you.”