Photographer: Joe Crimmings
After years in the magazine business, Beth Eslinger knew how to plan ahead. As our managing editor, she thought about patios in November and holiday gift guides in July. She leaned into the future so consistently that we should probably write her name in italics.
Unfortunately, even her death seems ahead of its time. Our colleague and friend Beth – Beth – died on March 7 at the age of 52 after a quietly courageous struggle through cancer. We miss her every day.
Beth joined the dsm team in 2020 after many years with Meredith and brought with her an astounding supply of ideas to fill these pages with delight. In a single brainstorming session, she could come up with enough content for a dozen issues about food, gardening, home design, weekend getaways, colorful local characters and, often, their pets. (She enjoyed taking her dog, Kona, to report a story about dog parks for our next issue.)
The best magazines invite readers to discover new corners of the world or to see familiar territory in new ways. In the current issue of ia magazine, our annual statewide publication, Beth’s account of a hike she and her daughter, Eva, took through Effigy Mounds National Monument reflects Beth’s multisensory appreciation for her surroundings. She was attuned to everything – the wildflowers, the squirrels, the chattering birds above and the layers of history underfoot – and eagerly shared that experience with readers. She reveled in the present moment, which is why it feels strange to think of her in the past.
Last fall when our staff took a series of personality tests to help us understand what makes each of us tick, Beth’s results surprised no one. She was off-the-charts on creativity, warmth and enthusiasm. Folks with similar profiles “are light-hearted and encouraging, and they often like to spread their optimistic spirit to others,” according to the general assessment that sounded like it was written specifically about Beth.
That optimistic spirit was bright and buoyant even until the end. Beth was looking forward to moving downtown. She was looking forward to watching Eva, a junior at Iowa State, put her horticulture studies to use at Kemin Industries this summer and then in Oregon this fall. She was looking forward to watching her son, Ethan, graduate from Roosevelt this month and head off to the University of Iowa.
She was looking forward to the next issue of dsm – and the next one, and the one after that. So even as we miss her presence, we know her vision will guide us for a long time to come.
– Michael Morain, editor in chief
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