January 29, 2008

January 24, 2008

An All-Too-Brief Admirer

The following two poems are posted on behalf of Marlene Kuehfus Guerin, a very special caregiver of Deb's grandmother, Ilene Hein (Grandma Boo-boo). Marlene only met Deb on one occasion when Deb came into town (Buffalo) when she had a break in a shoot, but as with everyone else she touched, Deb's impression on Marlene went well beyond that one visit:

The Equalizer of Her Time
Debra McClinton, Photographer

She flies into town on a silver bird to shoot a site unseen.
A cultured woman with her dueling choice clutched in hand.
She has the aptitude of greatness to make larger than life
the details others over-look. Her camera readying in calm hand,
calculating. Caught in her cross hairs is a perfect image to shoot.
Already framed in her mind she looks for the exact, placement,
the colors, and the shadows. They have to be tastefully unique.
They are all part of the show she targets. Look! She aims again.
For what is she searching, that splendid, timeless moment? In that
instant, a split second is caught in view for everyone to embrace.
She zeros in on her target. Snap goes the shutter repeatedly.
This gives her options of choice, the one that tells a story.
Thinking, "As they say in theatre, 'This will knock them dead'."
She spoke with such passion. Her enthusiasm glowed, loving life.
Her laughter resonates. With her toothy smile, she captures you!
An awesome artist whose Trademark is the essence of Sensational.
Seeing her work will tantalize you to search for this shooting star.
A slip of a young woman with a camera, the equalizer of her time.
By Marlene Kuehfus Guerin
August 15, 2006

November 27, 2007

Dear Debbie,

I am deeply moved that you felt you had go away and leave us.
Who is going to care for those poor people others walk by and never see?
In all your travels, you took care of the weary winged little bird. You knew, like all creatures big or small, the need of being loved.
Living each day as tho' the last, giving of yourself before time had passed. You took flight just as the beautiful butterfly, touching each of us as a flower.
One so charming as you, how could we not expect that you would capture us so completely? You had that special something that so many of us could only hope to aspire.
As a photographer, you had a way of capturing a person in an unusually, perfect setting. However, I swear you even caught what the person was thinking. Unbelievable!
Your outstanding love and respect for family and friends everywhere will outlive us all. The wonderful family relationship you had with one another is vastly lacking today.
You proved that when you traveled out of your way to see BooBoo, waiting 2 1/2 hours on a bridge. An unexpected traffic jam for you was worth the wait just to say hi to your Gram for a brief visit.
Quickly you took pictures of your spinning top, Franky Ray, with your beloved grandmother. Prouder you could not be, for she is a replica of you, an inquisitive girl that wants to taste the world.
You came and went like a whirlwind, accomplishing more in one week than some do in a month. Fearing nothing, you embraced life with vitality that spread like sunshine to others.
Truly a moment with you and you were forever in our hearts.
I will say farewell for now Debra. I will see you when the meek ones inherit the earth.
For GOD's forgiving love we can be grateful. HE gave HIS only Begotten Son, Jesus, for us. HE will remember all the good deeds you unselfishly did for others.
In this hour of sadness may HIS Blessings bring peace to you and your loved ones.
Remembering you in tears and laughter shouts to the world, " You have lost a beautiful person!"

Fondly, An all too brief admirer,

Marlene Kuehfus Guerin"

January 22, 2008

Deb we miss YOU!

We planted two trees over the long
weekend in deb and frankie's name.
We chose the peach tree for deb and
the apple tree for frankie. Our kids
and our friend Don helped us plant
them to ensure that they would
THRIVE. I miss Deb tremendously
& I think about her each and every

January 19, 2008

As I See You Through the Window

We discovered this poem in our 12-year-olds (Amanda's) cubby drawer in the mud room where she generally keeps most of her schoolwork. She wrote it during "writer's workshop day" at school where the kids were challenged with writing a story or poem about anything that came to mind at the time.

To give a little background---Deb was in town several years ago for a family wedding and knew that Amanda had started expressing an interest in photography. So one day she took Amanda to a thrift store and bought Amanda her first camera. Imagine the excitement of getting her first camera---and even better that it was from her cousin Deb, a famous photographer!

It goes without saying once you read the poem that Deb has touched Amanda in such a deep and profound manner. As with all of us she ALWAYS looked forward to spending time with Deb and has talked about wanting to be a professional photographer for about as long as we can remember.

As I See You Through the Window
by Amanda J.

As I see you through the window,
I see you standing there, so
peaceful and happy. I think
about the joyous times we used
to have together.

I hear many stories about you now they seem so
happy. They always seem to make us laugh and
smile even if we are down.

I remember many features about your face
from your blue eyes to your long blond hair,
which was short when I last saw you. I will
always remember those boots you used to
wear, so crazy and unique.

Although you are gone now I think about you
often, I think about you when I am sad and
happy. I am very proud of what you have
accomplished and that is why I am going to
follow in your career footsteps. - As I see you
through the window

January 17, 2008

Like a Rose

I've been in a state of semi-shock for the past two months.  I heard about Debra's death initially from a most unlikely source -- my seven-year-old son who is a classmate of Frankie Ray's.  His class had been told of the sad news just after the Thanksgiving break.  He told me this just as we were snuggling up in his bed to go to sleep, after we had read a book. "Something bad happened to a mother of one of the kids in my class."  I was stunned and heartsick. 

I did not know Debra well.  I'd probably never had more than a cumulative thirty minutes of conversation with her in addition to several casual greetings during the time that Frankie Ray had become a student in the same class as my son.  But what made me most heartsick was that my longest conversation with her came two weeks to the day before her death.  We met, naturally, at a kindergartener's birthday party at Jackson Park in the Potrero flats on 17th Street, near Live Oak school.  We were playing pickup baseball and I was pitching as we talked. Every time I drive by that park, which is on the way between my kids' school and my gym, I look over near the pitcher's mound of the little baseball field and hope to see Debra there, just as she was there on what was an unseasonably hot day.

She told me about some of her struggles and I tried to be supportive of her, encouraging her to keep up what had seemed like a good fight against her problems.  In retrospect, I might have seen some of the warning signs of her impending death.  Could I have said something that might have helped her?  Could I have given her sage advice?  (I am a physician, with my own heroic rescue fantasies.)  But of course, it wasn't meant to be.

I didn't even know then that she was a world-class photographer.  I found out when I Googled her after her death.  I knew she was gifted artistically and, in fact, I had asked her if she was going to help us again with our school auction in the spring.  Her designer's eye really helped to make our auction appealing and successful.  She said, "Well, I don't know.  I've got myself spread a little too thin, I've got to protect myself, I've got to start saying 'No' to some things."

Debra was obviously very physically attractive, but, as many others have mentioned, her glowing persona was even more beautiful, more radiant.  To me, Debra was a flower of our generation.  She wasn't a famous one, like the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela, but she was a flower nonetheless in a generation in which flowers are few and far between.  She was a shining star, a diamond.  I hope this doesn't sound trite, but in some ways, perhaps she was just too kind, too good, too sensitive, too aware, too beautiful for this world.

I will really, really miss her.  Our school community will really, really miss her.  You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.  But the message for me, going forward, is to live like Debra lived. 

January 14, 2008

just a little something....

I check this blog daily to see all the kind words people leave in memory of my sister. I still struggle everyday with everything, but slowly I am healing.

I think about her laugh and it brings a smile to my face.

I think about all the times I talked to her and about all the questions she asked and i felt embarrassed to answer them but did because I knew she wouldn't judge me.

All my memories of her are always on my mind, like when i was 8 and she caught me doing something wrong and would TALK to me about it and help me understand why it was wrong.

When we went to robbers cave and she would climb the rocks with her little sisters and snap pictures and we would have the best time ever.

From poker nights at the Barry's to coming to every graduation.

Random calls were always my favorite b/c everytime I called her it was her voicemail I got and it was always full.

I now, more than ever would love to talk to her. Just to hear that sweet voice say my name one last time.

Here are a few more pictures I have on my computer. I hope to find more so I can post them so everyone can see the beauty Debbie held....

Those infamous poker Nights at the Barry House!!!!

(Top) Myself, Deb, and little sister Nicole

(Top) Myself, Our dad, Deb, and sister's Nicole & jamie
(Top) Our Dad, Nicole, niece Caitlin, and Deb

January 10, 2008

Book dedicated to Debra

Crate & Barrel released its "Real Simple Weddings" book today, with many beautiful photographs by Debra. They apparently dedicated the book to her memory. You can buy it in any C&B store or online (link fixed, sorry).

We haven't had any new posts here in a while; Bart and I are sad. I have some printed memories from friends and family in North Carolina that I am working on scanning and posting. If you have photos you want to share, you can mail them to me and I will scan them and mail them back.

Also, it looks there is no recovering the recording that was made at the San Francisco memorial. If you or anyone you know recorded any part of it, please contact me or Bart.