August 19, 2015

From Todd Craig:

"Could the love that always and never was have made a difference

I now you are a part of me that is missing

and I struggle with it too

If I could go back in time to change my life

I would want to change two

You remember.  The full moon.  The rock quarry.

I wasn't ready then.  I am now.

Why am I so selfish?  The fact that I didn't know till now, I think, makes it hurt that much more.  My own fault.

Please forgive me.  I am so sorry.  Now I can only hope we will find each other in the next life."

November 6, 2013

Hey Deb:

Amanda is now a freshman in college at Miami University in Ohio.  As I recall you did some photo work in Ohio so please keep an eye on her, ok?!  Each day I know she feels your presence and knows you are guiding her along her path in life.

She has a project she is working on right now and she is focusing on you and Boo Boo.  We went through some pics of you all tonight and wish we could somehow get you back!  We know you are looking down on us and we miss you so much!  Love ya!

Brian and Dawn

October 21, 2012

Miss You !!!

November 18, 2011

A message from Robin...

Hi Debra,

It's me Robin, or as you would say "Raaaaaaabiiiiiiinnnn!" I was your muse in 2005 - 2006. One day I did the terrible model "no show" and you were rightfully upset with me. I wrote to you over the ensuing years feeling terrible as it was indeed an isolated poor form incident on my part. I truly thought you were upset with me all these years until last December, 2010 I finally googled your name and was in utter disbelief.

I'm so happy that your website is forever on the world wide web. So many of my images remain; cover of the Opera, shoes, feet, legs, beauty, etc....I was able re-live each of those days shootings as if they happened yesterday. Your constant laughter is what prevails most in my memory. I also loved and admired how you were such a hands on photographer. You wanted to help with the lighting, brush my hair aside, stack the apple boxes, lie on your stomach so you could get the perfect angle even though you had assistants to help you. You made me so comfortable, in whatever we were shooting, even in the complete nude! I still model today, and have yet to meet a photographer as hands on as you.

You introduced me to another lovely muse of yours, Marlee. The 3 of us had some grand times shooting till all hours of the day. (Marlee if you're reading this please get in touch). So much fun and creativity was had at your studio on Bryant. That was the time that I learned you were genuinely interested in me as a person, and not just a subject to shoot. I found it odd but quickly learnt that it was indeed a wonderful connection as you taught me to be more open, me, such a recluse who did not mind being photographed.

Sometimes I see flashes of blond hair braided into pig tails and I want to run up and tap you on the shoulder. Other times I hear your voice or that infectious laughter. Thank you for introducing me to the world of photography and for creating such lovely images. Thank you also for your sense of strength in dealing with death (your sister and my mum). In a way I'm kind of glad we never had to say good bye. It's as if you allowed me keep some of your energy for me to revisit when I am in need.

I'm so happy Frankie has your strong traits as you've encapsulated in your photographs. You have obviously left such an indelible mark. Love to you and your family.



December 3, 2010

From James Yuanxin Li:

Dear Debra:

You are much in my thoughts this Thanksgiving weekend. The last time we talked, it was over a plate of dolmades at the Greek restaurant in North Beach. That was such a joyful afternoon as your daughter, dressed in her princess dress, wandered amongst the small tables clutching her bright pink wand. You were so proud.

I always looked forward to going to our mutual friend’s events knowing that, halfway through the evening, you’d show up and add your boundless energy to the mix. I think I must have circled the inside of that art gallery in the Embarcadero at least four times looking at all the student artwork before you arrived. Thanks for always being willing to talk about your craft with this point-and-shoot, always-set-on-automatic photographer. You were constantly generous with your time and your words.

James Yuanxin Li

November 18, 2010

Three years on

Debra, I still miss you mightily. There aren't many day when I don't think of you, and I so often find myself telling stories about you and our trips together—and the extraordinary people we met—because you found everyone extraordinary.


November 22, 2009

I was thinking about Miah today

I was thinking about Miah today, she is amazing and funny and beautiful. My best friend is such a strong woman. I thought about what could make her so strong- in the heart, the mind and the spirit. My thoughts went to Debbie. How she must miss her, long for her. How everyday Debbie’s courage must inspire her. My heart goes out to all that knew her better, all that she made stronger. Those who she touched, even with just a smile or a hello. We all miss her, even the world who didn’t know her.

Thank you so much, I wish you the best in the world


November 18, 2009

Thinking of you today and always!

July 27, 2009


Thank you for your inspiration and all the gifts you bestowed on me.
I miss you so much.


July 25, 2009

July 24, 2009

Thinking of You...

It's your birthday and I am thinking of you...I find myself doing that more and more these days.

June 4, 2009

Debra in Scotland

I came across some more photos of Debra from our photo expedition to Scotland in 2000 that I had somehow misfiled. Here she is loading film into her Pentax using both hands and her mouth.

These photos were taken in Daviot Scotland.

March 27, 2009

Everytime I hear it, I think of you.....

Why did she have to go
So young I just don't know why
Things happen half the time
Without reason without rhyme
Lovely, sweet young woman
Daughter, wife and mother
Makes no sense to me
I just have to believe.

She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting
And I know she's smiling saying
Don't worry 'bout me.

Loved ones she left behind
Just trying to survive
And understand the why
Feeling so lost inside
Anger shot straight at God
Then asking for His love
Empty with disbelief
Just hoping that maybe.

She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting
And I know she's smiling saying
Don't worry 'bout me.

--- Instrumental ---

It's hard to say goodbye
Her picture in my mind
They'll always be of times I'll cherish
And I won't cry 'cause.

She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with jesus and her loved ones waiting
And I know she's smiling saying
Don't worry 'bout me.
Don't worry 'bout me.

Don't worry 'bout me...

January 1, 2009

_______ She Walks In Beauty ______

by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Composed June, 1814

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

For my friend, my family, my love

I will look for you always..

With Love

Elaine Hollifield Kuykendall

December 28, 2008

Memory from Anthony G

Debra was very nice to me. I only talked to her twice, maybe three times.

Not that it matters, it really takes one time to remember her. It wasn't just because she was beautiful, she had a certain spirit that glowed beneath the surface of her skin.

Finding this tribute and watching the video was moving, emotional and very special. I could feel how powerful her spirit was thru the words that were written and the photographs that were posted. That video was amazing, it made me feel like I just got taught a lesson on how to live and especially how to smile. What a smile, such joy and energy!

How fortunate are all of you who really knew her beyond a couple of conversations. My heart goes out to you, I can feel your heartache. Although, I can say with confidence, that she will live thru your love, which is a thing that cannot be measured, but, be assured, that your love is so tremendous, it can genuinely touch a person who barely knew Debra.

I hope your grief and sorrow can eventually transform into a celebration of her life and that you can honor Debra by living your life as fully as she did.

—Anthony G

November 18, 2008

Letter to Debbie

Dear Debbie:

Time passes by and slightly changes the colour of grief. As you affected us in your life, you still do. Deb, I know you would be happy to hear this:

  • I went to Asheville in April. I reconnected with your family. You know how important you were. It is a gift to have them back in my life.
  • Ray took me out for breakfast. Remember how he would take us out for biscuits and grits before school? He is still the best hugger there is. He makes the world a better place with his hugging.
  • I talk to Sue regularly. She is still one of the most amazing women I know. Always was, always will be.
  • Sue kindly gave me the black sweater I knitted for you in 1986. I wear it in my workspace at home when I work late evenings. In the beginning it was sad, now it gives warmth and brings back memories.
  • I have one of your framed and signed pictures from the mountains of North Carolina facing me when I wake up in the morning.
  • Judith and I have re-established our friendship. We just spent three days in New York together. We played “Hey Jude” very loud in the hotel room and Judith demonstrated to me how you used to sing that song to her every time you spotted her in high school.
  • We talked about you many many many times. Judith and I always cried together, still do. We also laughed and giggled at good memories and knew that you would be thrilled by us being together again. I introduced her to Chianti wine from Italy. We missed you there at the table.
  • Danny is my friend on Facebook. We mail. I hope he can teach my boys to waterski one day when I bring them to North Carolina and Lake Lure. His girls are extremely beautiful.
  • Miah is going to Paris. I hope she will make it to Oslo.

Thank you Debbie for the positive impact you still have on our lives.


My Kind of Girl...

"She wore a raspberry beret. The kind you find in a second hand store." Thanks for the great memories, Debbie. You were one in a million!

hey little buddy

i really miss you.

love bye.

letter to Debra

Dear Debra:

I can't believe it's been a year. A long, strange, horrible, sad, hard year, not just for me but for so many people I know. But it's looking up — there's a new sense of optimism around here, and across the country as well, because of Obama, and I think you would have loved that. I wish you were here to feel it, to be warmed by it.

I didn't know you very well, not like most of the people on this blog. I knew you first as one of those two beautiful blonde girls always coming into the Red Herring with Bart for photo shoots. Then I knew you as one of his best friends, who he would travel with every year for fun, and I confess I was jealous of that for a while. Not because I didn't trust you two together, because I did, but because you seemed to have so much fun and I wanted to join in. It was only in the last five or six years that I got to know you as you, the electric talented laughing dancing celebrating always-late Debra, the flame to which so many moths were drawn. If we had met outside of Bart I like to think we would have been close friends, we might have made space in our lives for each other. But as it was I really enjoyed getting to know you, to see you change and grow with Frankie. You are my role model for graceful, non-"helicopter" parenting.

These are the things I remember about you today:

  • Us talking about fiction. We were always swapping books, like Running With Scissors. You told me you loved it when people asked to use your photos on their book jackets Someday I had hoped one of yours would be on a book of mine. :-(
  • You coming into our house carrying the 2-year-old Frankie under your arm like a rolled-up carpet, laughing
  • The dinner party you had where you managed to get Kelly and other people to cook everything while you played sparkling host
  • Your fearless fashion sense, which I always envied
  • You at our wedding: You came straight from the airport and got up in front of the mic to "witness" for Bart, even though you were so, so sad, and tired, and the only reason you gave for why Bart should marry me was because I would "let him go on trips with us [you and Kate]!" And I am so sorry that I wasn't always gracious about that.

Debra, we will always love you, always miss you. And even though we weren't close, who you were as a woman, an artist, and a mother deeply inspired me, and I will carry little pieces of you in my heart and my head forever.

love Bonnie