woman leaning on spirit husband
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
January 11, 2024 ·  5 min read

Local photographer captures spirit of love after groom dies

A romance was cut tragically short when the groom died four months before the wedding day. However, during a creative and heart-wrenching photoshoot, their photographer captured the spirit of love. Grab a few tissues before you see the results of this emotional shoot. 

A Sweet Love Story 

Evan Winner and Olivia Kunkler went on their first date in 2019. Even then, they both knew that they were meant for each other. 

“I just knew, and he knew too,” says Olivia. She remembers her first impression of Evan: he was “very courteous, very sweet, a gentleman.” She adds, “I was really attracted to him talking about his faith and wearing a cross necklace.” [1] 

As they continued to date, their relationship only grew stronger.  

“We started going to church together all the time. Our faith was our biggest foundation,” says Olivia. 

Then, on March 7, 2020, they went for a walk near the Jesus statue outside of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe. There, by the pond, Evan went down on one knee. 

We walked around the path around the pond, and we prayed a rosary together. And then we were taking pictures, and he said, ‘I love that you pray with me. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?’” says Olivia. 

They set their wedding date on January 2, 2021, at the St. Henry Catholic Church. “Coming together in the church was something both of us really wanted,” says Olivia. 

As the months went on, the couple had many plans for their new future together. They made the wedding arrangements and even began building their home in Fort Loramie, just outside Sidney. But the fairy tale was not to last. 

Evan Winner kissing Olivia Kunkler on the forehead in a remembrance photo shoot.
Photo credits to Jeff Muller of ClouStudio 

The Sudden Tragedy 

On September 15, 2020, their plans came to a halt. They had just finished the foundation on their new home when Evan was killed moving a track hoe onto a semi. He was in critical condition and was airlifted to the hospital. However, he passed away before Olivia could speak to him one last time.  

He was holding onto his cross (necklace) at the scene,” Olivia says. In her interview with WDTN, she wore that very necklace over her heart. 

We don’t understand this now, but we will. It will all make sense someday,” says Olivia. “Evan’s biggest thing was never fear to die, or else you’ll never live, and I live by that daily now.” 

The day after the tragedy, his family and community had a mass for him. That’s when a unique idea occurred to Olivia, who was coming to terms with the death and the wedding that will never be. She had already begun to cancel the wedding plans. 

It occurred to me during mass that I should get in my dress and take the pictures,” said Olivia. Through her immense grief, she sought to find meaning in the horrible situation as well as a way to keep the spirit of their love alive.

The grave stone of Evan Michael Winner
Photo credits to Jeff Muller of ClouStudio 

So she spoke with her engagement photographer, Jeff Muller of ClouStudio.  

“I asked him if he knew how to do the holographic pictures, which he had never done before,” says Olivia. “I put Jeff up to a challenge.” 

He was eager to get on board. “Soon as she told me what she wanted to do, I was on board. I was like, whatever you want to do,” said Jeff. 

Evan Winner and Olivia Kunkler holding hands in a field.
Photo credits to Jeff Muller of ClouStudio 

The Photoshoot That Captured the Spirit of Love 

So they met at the church on the day that was supposed to be her wedding. Olivia’s family as well as Evan’s came to support her. His missing presence was palpable to everyone present. Olivia wore her wedding dress and both sets of parents bought Olivia her flower bouquet. They also went to take pictures at his gravesite. 

Throughout the shoot, Jeff kept on thinking of ways to keep Evan’s spirit of love alive in the photos.  

I wanted to create pictures that would last her a lifetime,” says Jeff. 

In his Facebook post, he goes into detail about how emotional the whole ordeal was. 

Throughout the years of capturing memories for people, there have been moments where I have gotten a little emotional but none more than this shoot. Even though I only met Evan twice, his smile will always be ingrained in my memory. My deepest condolences go out to Olivia and Evan’s family.” [2] 

Olivia Kunkler's sitting besides husbands grave.
Photo credits to Jeff Muller of ClouStudio 

His efforts were well worth it. “The holographic pictures, the one looks like he’s coming out of the clouds in Heaven, and the other one, I can literally feel him touching me. They’re just real. You just feel him.” 

However, Olivia did more than pose for pictures when they got to the gravesite. “I wrote him a letter that morning, something I probably would’ve done on our wedding day. I read that to him when I was out at the cemetery,” she says. 

Although Olivia’s wedding photo album is unlike any other, she treasures these photos as they demonstrate the spirit of their powerful love. “They’re the most beautiful pictures ever,” she says. 

Olivia Kunkler saddened and leaning on husband's grave stone
Photo credits to Jeff Muller of ClouStudio 

Keep Reading: Dad’s heartbreaking post after losing partner to postnatal depression: “Seek help early on”


  1. Local photographer captures spirit of love after groom dies .” WDTN. Kelley King. March 18, 2021 
  2. ClouStudio, LLC Photography and Design. Facebook. January 20, 2021.