Award-winning Christian Contemporary Music artist Steven Curtis Chapman is grieving the recent shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville in a deeply personal way. Katherine Koonce, head of the school and one of the victims who was fatally shot, was a personal friend.
More than just a casual friend, Chapman said that Koonce was a key figure in the grieving and healing process his family endured when Chapman’s daughter Maria tragically died after accidentally being struck by a car that was driven by Chapman’s son.
Chapman shared about how Koonce impacted his life and his family in a recent appearance on Anderson Cooper 360.
After mentioning unconfirmed reports that Koonce was killed while running toward the shooter, Cooper suggested that this might not be surprising to Chapman given the fact that she ran toward his family during their darkest moments of grief.
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“Absolutely,” Chapman replied. “She was an amazing person, and she would run—that would be like her to move towards, step into trouble, pain, hard things. That’s why her life marked our family so significantly.”
Prior to the death of his daughter, Chapman already had a positive relationship with Koonce, who helped his sons in their education as students at The Covenant Church while on the road with Chapman and his band.
“[Koonce] found a way with us to help them go on tour with me, me and my band, and kind of do homeschool tutoring with her,” Chapman explained. “So when they weren’t on the road, they were either in her office or at her house.”
He went on to recount, “She had an unusual, amazing way with boys to know when it was time to, you know, close the books and let them do their shenanigans or whatever and laugh with them, and then be, you know, stern and all of that.”
After the tragic death of Chapman’s daughter, Koonce became a “mentor, friend, confidant.”
“She was all of those things—and teacher of so much more than what they learned in books,” Chapman expressed.
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“It’s not an overstatement. We would have said this a week ago. We would have said it a month ago. We did say it all the time,” Chapman continued. “We would say that Katherine Koonce is one of the people who helped save our son’s life through walking with him…and just caring for him and moving into as hard, as awful as that story was for us, she ran towards it.”