David Jackson O’Quin

September 6, 1971 – February 26, 2013

David Jackson O’Quin passed away on February 26, 2013 at the age of 41. David was the beloved son of his father, Bill O’Quin, his mother, Sharon McCrory Balser, and his stepmother Gail Robins O’Quin. He was the brother of Shannon O’Quin Wingon, as well as a stepbrother to Jason A. McEachern, Ashton Constantine, Rob Constantine, and Madeleine Conger. 

David with classmates in junior high.

David with classmates in junior high

Growing up, David spent time in New Orleans and in Dallas/Fort Worth.  As an elementary student at White Lake School in Fort Worth, Texas, David received the  Outstanding Student Award. In junior high, David served as treasurer for the Junior High Government Council. He also played tennis and soccer throughout his time in school. 

Over the summers, he would stay with his grandmother in Louisiana. His time there was spent joyously swimming with his siblings, hanging out with his family and friends, and occasionally shooting bottle rockets for entertainment. David had a great relationship with his family, especially his father. As a family, they took several memorable trips together. 

David enjoyed drawing from a young age. His father expressed that David had drawn him a “Happy Plane,” which was an airplane with a smiley face. His father still has this drawing today. As David moved through high school, his interest in art intensified. He began drawing beautiful artworks of birds and became fascinated with multi-media art, which led him to earn a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Texas, where he graduated cum laude and earned a second degree in Spanish. 

As a college student, David took classes in Chile to better learn the Spanish language and familiarize himself with the culture. He became fluent, learning the language so well that he was able to differentiate between Spanish accents. He could tell if someone was from Chile, Argentina, Spain, or Mexico. After graduating, he and his father went to Spain together. They traveled all over the country, stayed in hostels, and saw the beautiful artwork that the country had to offer. After college, David attended the University of California Los Angeles where he received his Master’s in Fine Arts.

David was diagnosed in his mid-20s with bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and paranoid schizophrenia. Additionally, David had anosognosia, a cognitive disorder that impaired his ability to perceive his mental health conditions. On February 13, 2013, David was suffering from serious psychosis when he was detained. He remained incarcerated up until his passing 13 days later. He was 41 years old.

“The silver lining to this is the Bridge Center for Hope,” said David’s father. 

After David’s passing, four more people with mental illness died in jail the following year. In response, David’s father opened the Baton Rouge Bridge Center for Hope, a center to provide pathways to treatment for people experiencing behavioral health issues and to link providers to create an integrated continuum of care from prevention to rehabilitation. In the early months of 2021, the Bridge Center for Hope opened its doors to provide mental health and substance use services for Baton Rouge residents.

David left behind his cherished companion and beloved dog of 14 years, Bogie.

David with Bogie

David with Bogie

Author: Patara Ogunc