Whitney Hendrickson tribute: Sculptor unveils memorial dedicated to widely mourned teen

Two years ago, I wrote about the tragic death of eighteen-year-old Whitney deMoraes Hendrickson, who died in a freak accident caused by a reckless driver at a gas pump in Colorado Springs, and the remarkable tributes to her short but eventful life that followed. Now one local artist, moved by what he's learned about her and her family, has created a memorial for Whitney that will outlive all who mourn her.

On Saturday, friends and family gathered in the Victorian gardens of Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs -- where, fittingly enough, Whitney had her first summer job. There Whitney's parents, David and Clelia Hendrickson, and her siblings, Wesley and Marina, unveiled a bronze by Green Mountain Falls sculptor Scott Stearman, who had sought out the family and offered to do the piece after hearing of the girl's death.

"I didn't know them," Stearman told the crowd. "But as a member of the community, my heart broke for them. It was frustrating, because I wanted to help but I didn't know how."

Drawing on photos of Whitney and modeling by her sister, Stearman caught his subject in a characteristic pose, in flight -- she and her friends often snapped pictures of each other leaping in the air. The work is mounted on marble from Marble, Colorado, and will be a permanent addition to the remembrance gardens at Miramont -- a perfect setting for a tribute to a spirit that reveled in sunshine and blue skies and towering mountains.

See photos below. For more on Whitney and her parents, whom I've known since my college days, go here and here.

More from our News archive: "On a dark day, celebrating a good life."
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast