Passing of an SMSU Student

Nicole Schwing, Managing Editor

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SMSU first year transfer student and art major Jonathan Mellow died March 24 in his off-campus apartment, a victim of suicide. He was 28.

Mellow, who went by the nickname Spencer, “faced a life-long struggle with mental illness and addiction. Through his blogs, he endeavored to provide home and understanding to others who suffered,” according to an obituary in NewsOK of Oklahoma City.

A prolific artist whose artwork is featured in several homes in central Oklahoma City, Mellow aimed to help children through art therapy. On the Facebook page for Mellow’s Time to Fight Studio, he described his personal interest as “giving back to the community and using the art scene in OKC (Oklahoma City) as our weapon.”

On Moleskine, a notebook company’s website that invites artists to publish and share their work, Mellow defined himself:

“Recovering drunk, perpetually entertained, lover of little things, driver of Cadillacs, writer of words, rabble rouser, enemy to bigots, worshiper of red meats/baaaaaaacon, and connoisseur of fine Beards.”

Lisa Lucas Hurst, Assistant Professor of English at SMSU, wrote on a condolences page on

“We were lucky here in Southwest Minnesota to have Spencer shine his light on our campus, if only for a short while,” Lucas wrote. “He is missed.”

Christopher Baune, a freshman Psychology and Criminal Justice major, also commented on the website dedicated to Mellow:

“Spencer, I didn’t know you long which is such a shame, but we were all a little bit better off after meeting you,” Baume wrote. “My prayers are for you and yours. I know you’re in good hands now. Nevertheless, you will be forever missed. I’m so sorry.”

Baune also said Mellow “was just a down to earth person who always challenged you.  He even challenged our professors.  Not in a negative or disrespectful way, he just made them think and work a little bit harder to make us understand.”

Mellow’s art can be viewed online at and His Facebook page also features several of his pieces and more information regarding his studio.

Spencer is survived by his parents, Dr. Mark and Patti Mellow, his sister, Robyn Mellow and many friends and extended family, the obituary said.

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