AVON LAKE, OH (InsideEdition/WCMH) — With just 105 words, a family decimated their late mother, whose passing they took as an opportunity to air their decades-long grievances.
The obituary started unassumingly enough, explaining that Kathleen Dehmlow (nee Schunk) was born in the winter of 1938 to Joseph and Gertrude Schunk of Wabasso, a tiny city of less than 700 people in the middle of Minnesota.
When she was 19 years old, Kathleen married Dennis Dehmlow in 1957. The pair wed at St. Anne’s, a Catholic Church in the heart of the small community, and they had two children, Gina and Jay.
The details of Kathleen and Dennis’ first five years of married life, or what Gina and Jay’s early childhoods looked like, were left unclear as the epitaph jumped ahead to when life took a tumultuous turn.
“In 1962 she became pregnant by her husband’s brother Lyle Dehmlow and moved to California,” the death notice read. “She abandoned her children, Gina and Jay who were then raised by her parents in Clements, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Schunk.”
But what was clear were Gina and Jay’s feelings toward their mother and the reckoning with which they believed she would be met.
“She passed away on May 31, 2018 in Springfield and will now face judgement,” the obit read. “She will not be missed by Gina and Jay, and they understand that this world is a better place without her.”
The obituary was accompanied by a photo of Dehmlow and was published in the Redwood Falls Gazette, her hometown newspaper. It has since been removed from the newspaper’s website and from legacy.com, where it had also appeared.
Jay, who changed the spelling of his last name to “Dehmalo,” now lives in Avon Lake, Ohio, according to WKYC.
He told the Daily Mail he and his sister had some reservations about writing such a scathing obituary, but said they wanted the truth to be revealed.
“We knew there would be backlash but it really has helped us to finally get the last word,” Dehmalo said.
He said his mother had abandoned them so completely, childhood friends were shocked she had not already died.
Other family members have been criticizing Dehmalo and his sister, but both say they would publish it all over again.
“You can’t believe the dysfunction of the family,” he said to the Daily Mail. “They’ll never know what we went through but it helped us [to write this]. We wanted to finally get the last word.”