Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Lynn & Emmeline

Lynn VonDemfange found dead of apparent suicide ~ Writes her own obituary

By Terry Shirley

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Writer and artist Lynn VonDemfange was found dead of an apparent overdose last Sunday according to Detective Morris Pate of the Eureka Springs Police Department.

  Pate and ESPD Officer Thomas Achord answered a call from a neighbor at VonDemfange's apartment at 33 ½ Spring St. around noon last Sunday.

Evidently, VonDemfange took her own life in that she left a self-penned obituary that reads as follows:

  "To be submitted to Vernon Tucker at the Citizen

  "Lynn Marie Steely VonDemfange, 39, died [Sunday Feb. 3rd] in Eureka Springs. She was born May 9th, 1968 to Billy Clinton Steely and Betty Rose Steely in Kansas City, Mo.

  "She had worked as the editor-in-chief of Kansas City Home Design magazine, an editor at large for Country Home magazine, a columnist at Kansas City magazine and also The Lovely County Citizen. She had also been featured in a 2004 decorating book Better Homes and Gardens Trade Secrets published by Meredith Co., had been a photo stylist for Hallmark Cards and was a long time antique and art dealer, designer, artist and writer.

  "She is survived by her husband, Edward Francis 'Chip' Walsh IV of Kansas City, Mo.; her mother Betty Steely of Raymore, Mo.; her sister Karen Steely and husband Craig Wallace of [Washington]; her sister Brenda Steely and husband Dean Funk of O'Fallon, Mo.; her brother Robert Steely and wife Martha Steely of Crossville, Tenn. And her nephew and nieces: Clinton, Amanda, Anna and Olivia Steely whom she dearly loved. She also leaves behind her beloved dogs: Blitzen, who lives in Kansas City with her husband and her dearest Emmeline, who was here with Lynn but will now return to Kansas City."

  During VonDemfange's tenure at the Citizen, she used the pen name "Augusta Charlton" for her column "Love Springs." Her columns generally focused on romance. She took exception to the commercialization of Valentine's Day. She felt most romantic relationships fail and advocated that people who are afraid of commitments should wear a label and put it where it wouldn't be missed. She believed advanced education leads to a diminished sex drive.

  She criticized those in fervent pursuit of "another half," and asked, "How can I know what is right for me if I haven't really decided what I really need, really want and really don't want?"

  The last communiqué the Citizen received from VonDemfange was a Letter to the Editor which was published in last Thursday's edition. In it she wrote, "Elected city officials -- you have finally pushed my buttons. In-house Eureka politics have hit another new pitch of ridiculousness. (And the prominence given to them in this publication is also suspect. Maybe validating the circus is contributing to perpetuating it? And for that reason I even question my contribution by sending this letter!) … and if the Citizen rethinks its role in this lunacy then it would be less found [in] side-of-the-road debris."