Friends say the body discovered Monday morning in a Volunteer Park lily pond was 49-year-old Amy Vanderbeck.
A longtime part of Capitol Hill and the Seattle coffee scene, Vanderbeck was a popular Vivace barista and opened Watertown cafe on 12th Ave with two fellow Vivace employees before closing the venue in 2010. Writing about Watertown in 2009, the Seattle Times said Vanderbeck had been pulling shots since 1985, starting at a Nordstrom’s espresso cart “and moving in 1989 to Vivace’s original espresso cart outside Washington Mutual on Broadway.”
Vanderbeck also worked in tech and as an audio engineer and video producer.
In 2016, she began producing the Struggle to Connect podcast. “Spurred by her therapist to leave the house a minimum of 2 hours a day,” the description reads, “Amy Vanderbeck wanders around Seattle visiting her friends and sticking microphones in their faces.” In the most recent episode from November she catches up with an old friend at Vivace. “I define a friend as someone I’ve been in the foxhole with at some point in my life,” she says. “Someone who has been right next to me when something shitty or completely awesome — but mostly shitty — has happened.” Through the episode, the two discuss love, work, sex, and Capitol Hill.
Her body was found Monday morning by a worker in Volunteer Park. Police say there was no indication of foul play.
The King County Medical Examiner is investigating the death. UPDATE 3:33 PM: The medical examiner released information identifying Vanderbeck Tuesday afternoon. The results of the investigation of her death are pending toxicology reports that sometimes take weeks or longer to complete.
UPDATE 1/11/2017: If you or anybody you know needs assistance or is in crisis, call (206) 461-3222 for help.
A Friends of Amy Vanderbeck giving campaign to raise funding for her funeral expenses and a possible memorial has raised more than $17,000 from friends and loved ones.
Her friends and loved ones will gather Friday at Century Ballroom and then walk together to Volunteer Park’s lily pond.
UPDATE 1/13/2017: Vanderbeck’s family has asked CHS to help them reach out anybody who knew and loved Amy about the gathering Friday to remember her and mark her life. “If you knew or loved or met her, come out,” Vanderbeck’s sister Lisa Weir tells CHS. Weir especially hopes to connect with people drawn to the issues of mental illness and loneliness that Vanderbeck spoke about in her Struggle to Connect podcast. “Just because she’s gone, it doesn’t mean they’re less important,” Weir said.
We are gathering to celebrate Amy. Century Ballroom, Friday, January 13. 2pm to 6pm Tell everybody who loved her. That’s why we have a big room. Everyone who loved Amy is welcome – everyone who loves us is welcome. We will march to the pond following the gathering – wear layers. Bring memories, photos, yourself. Please share post with your Amy circle. She touched so many lives – we can hardly reach wide enough.