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Forever Miss August: Cancer Takes Playmate Sharry Konopski At 49, by Steve Stav

My Facebook friend Sharry Debolt (nee Konopski) left this earth August 25 after a long battle with lung cancer. She was a really nice, cool gal who said very lovely things to me before and after my wife died last year. Though we had little in common besides cancer and living in the same state, we nonetheless had a few interesting and funny FB conversations. Sharry was a bit rough around the edges, a straight-shooting girl-next-door in a timber town. She also was once considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful women.

Sharry was Playboy’s Miss August 1987, and was my age. To my knowledge, she lived almost her whole life in or near Longview, Washington. I remember that we “met” when I came across her name on FB and sent her a funny story about friends and I – on our way back from Seaside, Oregon in ’88 or ’89 – debating going to a pizza parlor in Longview, seeing if the local celebrity was working that day. Sharry had worked there before, and a bit after, modeling for Playboy.

Sharry, by then a mother of two, avoided hitting some deer on a road near Longview one night in 1995, but the car accident left her a paraplegic. She went on to pose for Playboy again, a couple of years later. She made some personal appearances on the heels of her “comeback;” I once told her the story of how, in the late 90s, I intended to go down to a bar two blocks from my house in Seattle where she was signing autographs one night. I wound up falling asleep on the couch after work, and missing the whole thing.

Struggling with medical and living expenses for many years, Miss August had a very challenging lifeā€¦ but obviously was a fighter. Not too many shrinking violets come from Longview. I knew she was in the hospital, aware that it was serious, but I didn’t know it was dire… of course, I should know how close “serious” and “dire” can be. I figured that she’d bounce back again, and if I indeed went to Tahoe and Oregon this month I would bring her some flowers or something on the way back.

I feel badly that I didn’t think to just go see Sharry; I could’ve been there in three or four hours. For some reason, I always think there’s more time.

Steve Stav

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