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

November 17, 2008

I cry all the time.....

It's seems like yesterday I spoke to her on the phone....'s hard to believe today is the day i received the terrible call...

The tears still find me when I think of her.

The sound of her voice always made my day better.

But now it makes me cry...

I love her...I miss her...

a lifetime ago

it's hard to believe it's been a seems like a lifetime ago that we had her in our lives and it seem like yesterday that we could hear her laughing....or crying....or consoling or making us feel like the most special people in the world...
i haven't written anything on this blog yet, mostly because i can hardly explain how any of this feels, or has felt over the last year, and mostly because everything i ever seem to write about her hardly seems worthy of the love she gave us all...
so now, a year later, i just want to say that i still miss her terribly..and i know everyone feels the same way....and i know that feeling will never go away.
and i'm glad to feel the pain of losing her so powerfully now because it makes me feel closer to her. and it helps me remember the sound of her voice..
i'm not in town now, but i hear it's very hot there and i can imagine that she would have loved this time of year....celebrating frankie's birthday on a hot sf day....and getting ready for thanksgiving...and enjoying obama....:) and plotting when she would meet him...
dear debra, i love you and i miss you, and i have so much to talk to you about....please come visit soon....

love, kate

November 5, 2008


Debra would have loved loved loved this. In May of last year she outlined her secret plan for us to meet the Dalai Lama and encourage him to endorse Barack Obama. She knew someone who was going to see the Dalai Lama and we going to tag along and take photos, and ask him for the endorsement.

That would have been such a gas to see the Dalai Lama meet Debra.

August 26, 2008

Debra McClinton exhibition and online print sale Aug 28-Sept 1

Dear friends and family of Debra/Debbie:

The "Celebrating the Photography of Debra McClinton" exhibition starts this Thursday, August 28th, and runs through Monday, September 1 in San Francisco. An opening reception will be held Thursday from 6-9 p.m. at Gallery 291 at 291 Geary Street (on Union Square). We tried to send an email or a print invitation to everyone for whom we had contact info.

The purpose of this exhibition is not only to publicize Debra's stunning photographic legacy, but also to make it possible for those who loved her to own a piece of her art at an affordable price. The good news is, even those of you who can't make it to the show will have the opportunity to purchase a print basically at cost. A 16"x20" print is $200, a 20"x24" is $300, and a 30"x40" is $400.

A secure e-commerce website has been set up, and you can order prints using a major credit card or PayPal starting midday Thursday, August 28, through Monday, September 1 only. The limited window is because this opportunity is just for friends and family, not the general public.

The gallery website has the images that will be in the show and for sale, and there is a separate secure e-commerce site where, starting Thursday, you can purchase prints. If you have questions, they are probably answered here.

The show and the image sale are made possible by the generous donations of time, materials, or images by Alex & Becca Ashton of ZipFly Design, Ed Carey of Gallery 291, Griff Williams of Urban Digital Color, the McClinton family, Stephanie Rausser, Bart Nagel & Bonnie Powell, Kate Powers, and Tony and Frankie Ray Hollifield. We all hope to see you at the show Thursday night.

August 18, 2008

I’ll Never Forget Her Spirit

I crossed paths with Debra for nine days only back in March 2001, when I met her at a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. When I embarked on this trip I felt nervous and shy, going with a group of people I did not really know. Debra was one of the first people I met before we even left San Francisco on the flight. I was immediately struck by her beauty and energy. She had such a unique fashion sense that she wore so well. But mostly, she was just so nice! I don’t know how it got decided that we would be hut-mates once we arrived, but I was glad to share the living quarters with her. She made this shy, invisible person feel important and interesting. She wanted to know about me; she wanted to know about everyone she met, and she listened intently when you spoke to her.

She moved around so athletically and gracefully and was a wonderful yogini—with a little baby on board. She took photos of everything, everybody, capturing moments in time in this beautiful environment. I sat back, closed off a little, reserved but wanting to come out of my shell. And she epitomized what I wanted to be—a free spirit! But one thing I never forgot—something she did for me that was just from a place of love and true compassion.

One night, I had a real scare when I passed out after becoming dehydrated. I was in and out of consciousness for a long time, and people were trying to bring me back to earth. I truly felt I could have died at any time, but the strength of people around me brought me back, and I came to…slowly and weakly.
When I went back to the hut, Debra came too. She talked to me for a long time about anything/nothing important and I didn’t want her to stop because it made me know I was alive. I told her I was scared to go to sleep- scared I wouldn’t wake up. So she offered to have me sleep next to her, and she spoke to me until I drifted off, calmly resting. I’ll never forget her kindness and nurturing towards me- someone she’d just met a few days prior. And I’ll never forget her spirit which inspired me to come out of my shell a little, through her influence. It’s like she was an angel, demonstrating how to truly live and love and appreciate all in every moment. All this from nine days of knowing someone. I can understand how much she impacted those who knew her longer, and my heart goes out to you. I’m sure we will all carry a little piece of what she left us in memory and spirit forever.


July 27, 2008

Most days, I do.......

I didn't forget....

I just couldn't bring myself to this page on her birthday....

I still miss her everyday and think about her everyday.....

It still breaks my heart that she will not be here to see Frankie Ray

grow up, get married, and see her grandchildren.

I breathe a litte more everyday but not as much as i used to.

I wish her happy birthday in my dreams.

As thats where she will only be...

I miss you

I miss your smile

And I still shed a tear

Every once in a while

And even though it's different now

You're still here somehow

My heart won't let you go

And I need you to know

I miss you

I miss you


Happy Birthday, to my dearly departed sister.......

July 25, 2008

B I R T H D A Y . 4 0

Last year on your birthday I called you from Tunisia. Happy birthday Debra. Now I can only call you when I'm dreaming—it's almost satisfying in its weird way—but I still miss you in the day-to-day and I miss stealing you away New York, to Vancouver, to Scotland.

I couldn't remember if you had a favorite flower—but then I thought that no matter what flower I gave you, you would say it was AMAZING and the best flower ever—you always appreciated everything so much. So here is my little floral mix for your birthday.

You are missed by all.


Happy Birthday Debra

From Christabel Savalas:

Here is what I would like to say for Debra as she turns 40 in heaven.

Debra was a ray of sunshine and she spread so much warmth and light that touched everyone who crossed her path. She will always be a part of us, as she always lives in our hearts. No matter how much time passes, Debra will always be with us in spirit. She is probably busy taking photos of the angels and everything that is around in heaven.

—Love Christabel

July 16, 2008

Save the Date: Celebrating the Photography of Debra McClinton

Hi everyone: Very excited to announce that the photographer Stephanie Rausser, a dear friend of Debra's, is putting together a show of her work for Labor Day weekend, Aug. 28 to Sept. 1. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, Aug. 28. Details above; just click the photo to enlarge. Another friend, Alex, is building out the Gallery 291 site for the show. We will need people to help hang and take down the show; email Stephanie to volunteer.

May 3, 2008

how could you ever say no to what she told you to do?

From Tracy Spence Brown:

I just found out about Debbie last week. I haven't seen her since high school. She graduated 2 years before me, but would still call me on her trips home from UNC during my last two years of school. I'm sure that you don't remember me as Debbie had so many friends. We met when I stayed at your home for a weekend when Marna was your exchange student and when Debbie and I were close.

Debbie, well, she was...Debbie. She was able to persuade my dad to buy me my first 35mm camera in 1985. She had only met him once - at a Reynolds basketball game - and told him that it was a hobby that I needed to foster. She told him that I was creative and had an "eye" for all things photography and that it would be an absolute shame if I did not have the tools to develop my talent. My father lived in another state and I would not see him for months after this conversation. The next time he came into town, almost 9 months after Debbie told him that I must have this camera, he appeared...Nikon FG and Sigma zoom in hand. That was the Debbie I knew and remember now. With her beautiful smile and amazing eyes, how could you ever say no to what she told you to do?

I remember her as a cheerleader...dressing up as David Bowie one homecoming...and as someone who talked me in to trying out for varsity cheerleading at the end of my sophomore year. When the results were read over the loudspeaker and my name was called for the squad, she was standing outside of my geometry class waving to me through the window in the door...big smile and two thumbs up.

My parents went out of town one weekend and I stayed at your house. Deb and I made cookies...she made the best cookies in the world. Everyone there made me feel like I was part of your family, if only for the weekend. My favorite part, though, was riding with her in her bright yellow MG convertible. She always made me feel like I was the most important person in the world, even though I knew that I was not. Regardless, after all of these years, that's what still sticks with me.

When I was about to graduate, I talked with Debbie briefly about college. She encouraged me to apply at Savannah College of Art and Design. I was not as sure of my talents in design and photography as she was, but I did keep her encouragement in the back of my mind. Eventually after trying my hand at traditional college, I applied at SCAD, attended, and graduated in 1993. I moved to Seattle for a while working as a graphic designer. I had a very successful career and often wondered if I would have made that college choice if Debbie wouldn't have encouraged it.

I never saw, spoke to, or heard from Debbie after the spring of 1988, but I have thought about her often. I even saw her sister Kim down here in Savannah briefly in the late 80's and she gave me an update on her life as well as Debbie's travels. I have always wondered what happened to both of them, and now, through this blog, I see that they both live on in their amazing daughters who each carry their mother's smiles.

Even after 20 years of not seeing Debbie, the pain of her death resonates in my heart. Debbie was just that strong...that much of a force...a feeling that you never let go of...the optimism in all gray days. I hope that in some small way Debbie now realizes that her life touched so many people in a positive way. She was loved by me and so many others.

—Tracy, from Savannah in Georgia

April 15, 2008

To Sue and Raymond from Charlene Reeves

Dear Mama Sue and Papa Ray:

It is late Wednesday evening or should I say very early Thursday morning. I cannot sleep and was thinking about you both and decided to write you a note.

For beginners, Deb’s service was wonderful and absolutely perfect. It gave everyone there a sense of who she was, how she carried herself with kindness and how very much she is loved. I believe it to be a gift when a person finds their true calling and anyone who looks at her photographs can see she was doing what she was meant to do. She gave parts of herself back to the world in her work and they will forever remain there. She led a life of significance.

While Deb without a doubt was a very special person; I believe she acquired her heart and compassion from her parents. You are some of the most remarkable people I have ever met. I respect and honor you for so many things. For the loyalty and love you gave to Deb on a wonderful journey and to that journey’s end. For the commitment, patience and love you have demonstrated in raising a beautiful granddaughter. For the faithfulness and devotion confirmed by your friends. For the acceptance and kindness you have given to me again and again.


I am so very, very thankful to have all of you in my life. I cannot begin to express how much it meant to me to be included and asked to help with Deb’s service. You both have taught me many things and there is nothing I would not do for any of you. It is a privilege to have you as part of my family.

I also give thanks for having the brief opportunity to know Debbie. If a life is measured by what you do with it in the brief time you are given, then Deb’s life surpassed all measures. I do not think there was one person that she met that was not touched or influenced by her. Think of how many people that is and how far that travels. It is something we should all work towards. I don’t think I will ever be able to look at a sunset, glorious sunrise or any of nature’s other beauties again without wondering if somehow Deb is not playing a part in it. I believe she has found a peace we all seek but few of us ever find.

Know that I love all of you very much and will help however I can.

April 5, 2008

Some readings from the Asheville memorial service

Read by Kathryn Ruff Hildreth:

Here is the passage I read at Debbie's memorial. It is from Toni Morrison's Sula, one of the greatest stories of friendship in American literature. We felt because Debbie was so close to so many people, and because she brought out the best in those around her, this particular passage would be a fitting tribute to her.

Debbie was a brilliant and warm conversationalist. I remember vividly many of our talks over the years. I miss her and think of her every day.


Her old friend had come home. Sula. Who made her laugh, who made her see old things with new eyes, in whose presence she felt clever, gentle, and a little raunchy. Sula, whose past she had lived through and with whom the present was a constant sharing of perceptions. Talking to Sula had always been a conversation with herself. Was there anyone else before whom she could never be foolish? In whose view inadequacy was a mere idiosyncrasy, a character trait than a deficiency? Anyone who left behind that aura of fun and complicity? Sula never competed; she simply helped others define themselves.
—Toni Morrison's Sula

Read by Holly Ruff:
Sing Me to Heaven

In my heart's sequestered chambers lie truths stripped
of poet's gloss.
Words alone are vain and vacant and my heast is mute.
In response to aching silence, memory summons
half-heard voices, and my soul finds primal eloquence
and wraps me in song.

If you would comfort me, sing me a lullaby. If you
would win my heart, sing me a love song. If you would
mourn me and bring me to God, sing me a requiem, sing
me to heaven.
Touch in me, all love and passion, pain and pleasure,
Touch in me, grief and comfort; love and passion, pain
and pleasure.

Sing me a lullaby, a love song, a requiem. Love me,
comfort me, bring me to God. Sing me a love song, sing
me to heaven.
—Danile Gawthrop; text by Jane Griner

March 31, 2008

I dreamed about Debra last night

And just plain woke up sad.
Watched the video again and cried.

And then I scanned this Polaroid of her from our time photographing Christie Hefner in Chicago at the Playboy offices.
Isn't she cute in those bunny slippers?

Later when the photo shoot was over and we'd had dinner and wandered around a very freezing Chicago downtown—we were accosted by a man with a horse and carriage who implored us to be his last fare of the evening at a discounted price. Debra, being a sucker for anyone's plea for help said, "oh let's go!"
My god what a terrible ride that was, somehow the smell from the horse's diaper was pumped directly into the plastic covered cab we were sitting in—we choked, gasped and laughed all the way through a too cold, too smelly and thankfully too-short ride.
But such is the charm of Debra's company and her enthusiasm for every experience, that I look back on that so fondly ...and with tears in my eyes.

Debra, I miss you so much.


March 12, 2008

My cousin and my friend

I have been sitting on several hard copies of remarks that were made at Deb’s memorial in Asheville because I had a pinched nerve and couldn’t type much. Now I have a new scanner and software. Many apologies for the delay.

This one was written by Dawn Jablonski:

As Debbie's younger cousin, I grew up idolizing her. Even though we were only 15 months apart she always seemed so much older and wiser. She was somewhat my protector because for some reason I was always so scared of Kim. Growing up I spent many summers down here in North Carolina with Debbie, and I will always cherish those memories.

There were many things about Deb that separated her from other people. For example, I am sure that most of you who spent time talking with her realized that Debbie was not just hearing what you had to say — she was actually listening. Her mind seemed to be always churning as she absorbed your words and challenged your statements. I remember right after Brian and I were married, Deb kept us both up most of the night wanting to understand why we needed a piece of paper to prove our love... I honestly left that conversation feeling I had been in a mental fight for my life; drained at the end (and honestly a bit confused and to why indeed I did need that piece of paper) but also so gratified that she was actually listening and giving different perspectives.

She also had such a strong impact on people from the first moment she met them. My grandmother has nurse aides who stop by to take care of her throughout the day. After Debbie's brief visit to grandma's, one aide was so (enthralled) impressed that she wrote a poem about Debbie. I would like to read just a few lines from the poem entitled The Equalizer of Her Time: "She spoke with such passion, Her enthusiasm glowed, loving life. Her laughter resonates. With her toothy smile, she captures you". That's it — she would capture you! She had these brilliant blue eyes that seemed to be able to look into your soul. Debbie certainly touched so many lives with such little effort.

Then there were the people Debbie met throughout her life. I really do not think that Debbie ever realized how much she touched so many with her personality and actions. I remember hearing the story of the homeless man in Santa Barbara who asked Debbie for money. She didn't have cash on her that day but did have her checkbook. Yep, she not only wrote the man a check but then proceeded to take him to the bank to make sure he/would get the money he needed.

Debbie was unselfishly giving...I take that back. Except when it came to muffins. Debbie was notorious for eating only the muffin tops. Anytime there was a box full of muffins you would know right away if Debbie knew they were there — all the tops would be missing.
I remember in high school Deb wore this huge watch, it was actually a man's watch. I remember always wondering why she wore it. I don't think that it was to tell time. Debbie didn't believe in time. She always seemed to be running late. She lived in the moment. I envied her for that... to be able to stop and see the beauty in the simple things, the things that we take for granted. Debbie knew that life is about the journey and taking the time to capture the moments.

When you think about Debbie's profession, photography was truly the perfect match for who she was. In addition to being a mom, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, an aunt and a friend, through her photographs we got a chance to view the world as Debbie saw it.

So today let's not dwell on the sadness of this occasion; but let's reflect on our own personal memories of Debbie and keep her alive in our hearts.

I am grateful that Debbie was a part of my life and I am thankful for all of the memories that will keep her alive in my heart, because Deb was not only my cousin but she was also my friend.

—Dawn Jablonski

"The sister I never had"

From Stacy:

Debbie was the sister I never had.

We first met as middle school cheerleaders for the A. C. Reynolds Rockets. Debbie was a year older than I and had Jay Beachboard wrapped around her finger. I thought she was magical. In high school, we cheered together again and bonded over camp and The Jackson Victory Tour. We told everyone a white sequined hand had waved to us from a limo window and we just knew it was Michael.

We cruised around town in her yellow MG convertible, she always wanting the top down, and I always wanting it up. We thought we were cool. Debbie introduced us as Jessica and Alexis to many a young man on Patton Avenue and at Mr. Gatti's Pizza in Hendersonville. We were always cousins from someplace else, New York City, Charlotte, Charleston, Richmond, New Orleans ... It was funny to listen to her spin the tale and try to keep a straight face while talking to these new strangers.

Debbie and I loved to "wrastle" and "psyche" people. We started a baking company called The Cookie Crumble Company (3 Cs for short) and sold a dozen cookies for a dollar. We'd stay up all night making cookies and fall asleep on the kitchen floor.

Debbie inspired me. She brought me out of my shell. Debbie was adventurous and exciting. She encouraged me to be more, do more, and live more. She was the wind beneath my wings. With her, my shyness seemed to evaporate. Any time spent with Debbie was bound to be full of questions, laughter, more questions, and meeting people. She dove into everything that interested her and embraced things so completely. She unconditionally loved
those she touched.

My freshman year at Chapel Hill, we shared a dorm room in Alexander. We didn't really like our bunk beds, so like many dorm students, we decided to build a loft. We measured, designed, and hammered. We were so excited to have a sturdy place to lay our heads and some room underneath to entertain. We climbed up into our loft that first night and giggled and laughed because we realized we hadn't accounted for the thickness of our mattresses.

Debbie said, "My nose can almost touch the ceiling," and I said, "My boobs can almost touch the ceiling," and we laughed some more. On graduation day, she called me and said, "Let's go naked under our Carolina blue caps and gowns. Let's just wear our cowboy boots!"

Don't worry Ray and Sue, I still can't seem to find those pictures...

Life took us to separate parts of the world and on different adventures, but Debbie always managed to find me, or I her. We met in Warsaw, Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto, and Asheville. When I lived in Michigan, she came to meet my first grade students in Detroit. The kids adored her. She explained the different parts of her camera and the process of developing film. I watched as she asked questions of each precious child, and snapped a picture at just the right moment to capture the beauty and personality of each one. For the rest of the year, the kids asked me when Miss Debbie was coming back to take more pictures of them. They thought she was their personal photographer, and that's how Debbie made you feel, like you were the only person there.

The last time I got to spend some time with Debbie was this past year, when she brought Frankie Ray to Raleigh to visit my chaotically organized family for a few days. We laughed over the possibility of switching lives every couple of weeks so we could understand and enjoy what we were experiencing. I wanted to travel to exotic locations to photograph and meet famous people and she wanted to see what having 3 kids with one on the way felt like. We had a blast, drinking coffee on my porch swing, watching all the kids play and getting into a pillow fight, discussing life and its complexities, and sipping red wine well into the morning hours.

Debbie was the sister I never had. I will always think of her when I bake chocolate chip cookies, look at the small sliver of a silver moon hanging in the night sky, or see an eagle soaring high above looking for the perfect place to land.

—Stacy Andrew Arch

Debbie Debbie Do, my angel

From Uncle Bill:

You requested that I put in writing what I spoke during Debbie's memorial. Of course, this is not verbatim as I have a hard time remembering what I said five minutes ago let alone a week ago, but I will try.

I used as a reference a little book called "When You Lose Someone You Love ... Comfort
for Those Who Grieve” by Richard Exley.

The Apostle Paul tells us, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who
mourn" (Rom. 12:15). And the writer of Ecclesiastes declares: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: ... A time to weep and a time to laugh, A time to mourn and a time to dance."
—Ecclesiastes 3: 1,4

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him...He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him."
—I Thessalonians 4:13, 14; 5:10

The Hein Family has had a habit of having nicknames for various individuals. One in particular Grandma Boo Boo who is the matriarch of the Hein Family. She is now 88 years old and is sitting in the front row. Her traits have affected all of us, myself, Sue, Bonnie and have transferred down to our children, especially Debbie. Just as an example Grandma Boo Boo does things her way. Just last week for her 88th birthday I bought her a brand new high-definition 43" plasma television to replace her 29" TV. After watching the TV for approximately 15 minute she said it was too bright. I tried to adjust the brightness, however, Grandma Boo Boo was still not content and as a matter of fact she said "Get rid of it I don't like it". Needless to say there was no changing her mind so I therefore took it back to the store (which did not take back returns) and tried to explain my situation. After talking with the store manager for over 15 minutes I asked him if he wanted to talk to my Mother and have her explain it to him. He graciously declined and immediately gave me a full refund. I could have or should have purchased a pair of sunglasses for my Mother!

Debbie McClinton is very much like her Grandmother and always does whatever she likes to do. My nickname for her was Debbie Debbie DO.

"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, "You are my servant"; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand....
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you. Do not fear; I will help you. "
—Isaiah 41 :9,10,13

I personally, firmly believe in the bible and in angels. Debbie was truly an angel to me back in 1993 when I was going through my divorce. I was depressed and at a very low point in my life. One afternoon Debbie came out of nowhere, of course, not living in Buffalo but showing up and asking me out to dinner. She knew at that time that I was hurting because of the divorce yet she took time out of her schedule to come to Buffalo just to talk. I distinctly remember Debbie paying for dinner and being such an encourager with her beautiful smile and blue eyes. She was my angel that day who brought me peace and comfort.

"When you pass through the waters, 1will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers,they will not sweep over you....
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior....”
— Isaiah 45:2,3

I know Debbie has peace and comfort now!

February 17, 2008

My friendship with Deb

I have been struggling with my thoughts about Deb for a few months now. The fact of her loss fluctuates between seeming real and totally confusing because of my lack of knowledge about what happened. And then as I have been far away for 8+ years, sometimes it seems very unreal and impossible. I heard the news about Deb @ 3 weeks late, so I was unable to attend the memorial, which I heard was wonderful. Not having that sense of coming together with others who love her, which lends to a semblance of closure, has left me floundering a bit with putting it all together in my head.

My time with Debra living in the same city was short - only @ 2 years. I had the fortune to meet her in 1997 when we both were working for Stephanie in Berkeley. I was in graduate school for art photography and was not a very good assistant, and Debra really helped to coach me thru some tough days. She and I were instantly drawn to one and other, each one of us more curious about the other. We bonded away from work days over long chats and looking at pictures/artwork. We had a similar sensibility and were drawn to similar things. I was also drawn to her work, in part, because of her exquisite technical skills and I think she was drawn to my work, in part, because of the conceptual investment it had (allowed by time in graduate school). Together we were excited by the idea of having a collaborative photography exhibition, one day. Even after moving to LA from SF, I believed there would be a time when that show would happen. I would be honored to share the walls of a gallery with Debra. I looked forward to making it happen....

Debra was the only person who ever officially photographed me and I am thankful that I was able to be a part of her creative process and see her magic at work. The images she made of me are incredible. As someone who is more comfortable behind the lens, I remember feeling at ease with Debra- I felt lucky she was looking at me. I trusted (and still do) her vision more than most. One of the pictures we did was in Golden Gate park and in between shots she let me wear that black north face jacket and her bathrobe to cover my freezing toosh! After we were done we went to Cliff House for tea and talked and talked. I will never forget that day because I felt like our connection grew deeper. The strangest thing for me is after learning she was gone I madly searched for pictures of her. I had her pictures of me, but I wracked my brain to think of where a picture OF her could be. I am a photographer and I have pictures of all those I love, but I was at a loss for where an image of her was. Feeling distraught and frenzied, I plowed thru the boxes and envelopes only to come up with one image of her from Stephanie's wedding. One picture only. But I am so thankful I have that one.

My friendship with Deb was one that did not require a lot of upkeep and consistency. When we would see each other it was as if no time had passed and we'd dive into the topics, big and small, instantly. I know she was this way with many friends she loved. After I left SF we fell out of regular touch, but she remained in my mind one of my most dear friends and inspirations. Someone I always wished and believed I would have more time with. The last time we saw each other we had a visit at her house and it was a few weeks after her sister passed away. That was the only time I met Frankie Ray. We sat there for hours catching up on everything, as it had been a few years since we had seen each other. I remember leaving that afternoon and wishing so much that I could stay and just spend more time. And I thought that for sure I'd see her again sooner than later, now that we had reconnected. Then time just flew by.

I want to share two stories with you guys- because for me they were so bizarre, and leading up to the day I found out she was gone.

Last May I was home late at night- distracted by matters of the heart. I flipped on the TV to HBO and a show about LOVE came on and of course I was sucked in. As I watched and listened to interviews about desire and love, a beautiful black and white image emerged on the screen- and suddenly I was struck in my tracks because this beautiful image was of me. An image Debra had taken of me. I was floored and freaked out - wondering what are the odds that I'd be up late watching a weird love show only to see Debra's image of me on TV.... The image is on the cover of a book, so I knew it was out there in the world, but to see it on TV was too much. I had not been in touch with her for probably @ 2 years (I think) at this point and instantly emailed her and in the mail I said - 'maybe this coincidence happened at the very least to put us back in touch.' The next day we spoke briefly and then had a series of emails where she filled me in on some major changes she was going though. She said she had taken a sabbatical from work and life sort of, but that she was really happy. I was startled by some of the changes she mentioned, and her being happy about them was a little unexpected, but I was pleased to hear it. I wanted to talk more, to hear about it all. To no avail. I tried to see her in September when i was in SF for a concert, and she only sent me back a short (non Debra-like in tone) email saying she could not. I didn't think much of it. I next emailed her about another visit on November 26th, and was not surprised, but was disappointed I never heard back from her at all. I had no idea-- she was gone already. The next strange thing happened December 5th. I had a meeting with a photography consultant and in the meeting some advice that Debra had given me came up and I asked the woman if she knew her (she did not). I showed her the book cover with that same Debra image on it and was going on and on about who Deb was and her work and the coincidence of seeing that picture on TV etc. etc. Literally an hour and a half later, after that meeting, I got the phone call from a friend in SF who had just heard about Debra. The wind was knocked out of me. I had just been talking about how we had gotten back in touch. A week prior I had emailed her hoping to see her on Dec 1st..... how could this be that she was gone?

Thank you so much for letting me get all this out. I am sorry for the long windedness. Debra has held a very special place in my heart since we met years ago. Her photography and vision are profoundly inspirational to me. The legacy she left us with in her photographs has to be cherished and protected. As a human being, she touched with such grace, so many people. Deb's generosity, compassion and authenticity are unlike most. She left her mark on us in our hearts and in pictures. Hopefully that mark will continue to inspire each of us. To be more open, to listen better, to wonder more, to really try to see. Somehow I don't worry about her now. I believe she is OK and onto the next adventure- she transcended to another level. It was just a little too soon for all of us still here. The loss for us is enormous. But let's allow our memories and love for her, the funny tales, visions of her smile and boots and her spirit, to be a guiding light.

Wishes of peace and healing to Deb's family who I did not have the chance to meet, and to all her other friends who love her dearly.

All my best,

Lacey Terrell

February 4, 2008

A Few Memories to Share


What a smile!

Tabby, Kristi & Deb at our Christmas Celebration

Mere minutes before the now infamous Duck Hunt -1984ish

Deb & Frankie Ray

Deb & Frankie Ray - January 2007

Deb & Miah - January 2007

Asheville Celebrates Deb

The Asheville Memorial Service - Allen Sisters

Well, I guess it's time to get this posted. It's not easy you know. It means you have to sit down and re-read your notes. Which of course will remind you of all of the thoughts that went into making your part of the memorial REAL for the people that were there. Our job was to tell Deb's tell everyone who she was so that they, too, could share in our celebration of her life. And also so they could share in our unfathomable sadness. This was a dreaded, tearful task. But what's a few more tears in this bucket that has grown into a leaky barrel? time passes & the rest of our little Asheville memorial group makes it's way through life, you might see their words here too. (just ask MMS!)

There were so many people at the Memorial Celebration, which was held at the NC Arboretum. A peaceful place cradled in the Blue Ridge mountains that Debbie loved so much. Standing room only. 150 seats. People were lining every wall and were spilling out into the hallway by the handfuls. It was said that more of Deb's high school class attended this service than attended their last reunion. That's really no surprise. She had a following before she was born and she probably has one now. Knowing Deb, she's probably teaching Jesus how to catch the best shots in ambient light. Of course, that would only be after she had learned EXACTLY, and on the most profound of levels, just what he thought about the world today.

So here are the notes my sister and I used for Deb's service. My sister's are first. Mine are next. Please understand that we were given one very clear rule, "keep it light".

Kristin's Notes:
The Allens and McClintons first met when Deb and I were in the 5th grade. She and her family had just moved to Fairview from Buffalo.

At first I was not really that fond of Debbie. She was the new kid on the block and everyone seemed drawn to her…imagine that !!! It wasn’t that I was all that popular prior to her arrival but this was Fairview and here is this cute bouncy new girl telling stories about bagels and cream cheese and hoagies made with turkey and provolone. Who had ever heard of such things. Well, I obviously got sucked into this cult and so did Tabby Taylor.

That is when the 3 of us began a journey that still continues today. As Dad and Mr. McClinton always jokingly say, “Those girls grew up in the same bed together”. We were inseparable in those days. Always at one of our “three homes” baking cookies or making fudge or something.

One of our first serious tests of a friendship was in the 6th grade when we decided to enter a talent show at Fairview Elementary. We somehow choreographed a dance number to Michael Jackson’s “Rock with Me”. Tabby helped me to piece the details together the best we could. I knew that at some point… in addition to what we called dancing, Tabby and I did cartwheels but I couldn’t remember what Debbie was doing at that same time. We both concluded that it had to be some sort of back flip or round off or something fancy like that because of course Debbie was the cheerleader of the group. The final piece that I could not remember and maybe for good reason was not that we did not win but what we wore. Remember, this was the late 70’s…We wore white satin shorts with red trim and matching satin shirts. Pretty.

Tabby and I talked and laughed about how we can’t believe we actually had the nerve to do that. I decided it had to be because we were just too young back then to know any better.

The next great measurement of my friendship with Deb was when her on again off again boyfriend at the time, Ronnie Fisher, asked me to the 6th grade dance instead of her. During one of their off again times of course. Deb and I never skipped a beat. We were fine and eventually she and Ronnie were “on again”. And in hind sight….Debbie really didn’t have a thing to worry about. Maybe somehow she already knew that.

Then we moved on into middle and high school. Always riding around town in the finest of luxury vehicles. The 3 of us could often be seen in the Hay wagon. This lovely station wagon was used primarily to transport us and often hay and feed for Rusty and Flicka, the family horses that Debbie insisted on riding despite her severe asthma. Then there was Dad’s, eventually to be mine, Carolina Blue Ford Pinto… with a luxury rack. Another fine ride. Somewhere in there was what would later become affectionately known as the grocery-go-getter and many other impressive generations of automobiles. Until finally…the Red Rabbit !!!! Salvation had arrived .. that is until Jana burned out the clutch one night as we all drove home from a Reynolds Football game. She was supposed to be the responsible adult taking care of us.. Yea right….

Which brings me to my final story….We call it…”The Duck Hunt” It was 10th grade. Deb and I planned a weekend trip to Appalachian State University to visit Jana. My first college life experience. Can’t be certain it was Deb’s. First order of business when we arrived was to “fill the cooler” so to speak. Well, the University is in Watauga county..which at that time was a dry county. So the three of us and Jana’s roommate jump into her Sunshine yellow VW bug. She had obviously moved up in the car food chain at that point. We drove one county over to Blowing Rock, bought some beverages and promptly returned to campus. Jana’s dorm was situated around a pond. On this pond there were reported to be ducks…Debbie in all her wisdom and several wine coolers later, not necessarily in that order, decided that we should go in search of these ducks. The 4 of us bundled up as it was the winter and cold. Like a fine tuned military reconnaissance team we cautiously and quietly approached the pond. We did not want to startle the ducks or Campus police. As we moved around the pond it became clear that one of our team was missing. We quickly retraced our steps and followed the cackling to find Deb literally stuck up in a tree draped over a limb like a proud leopard with her prized gazelle. We managed to coax Debbie out of that tree and somehow found our way back to the dorm. But…we never did find those ducks……

I don’t really know how to close this little mini tribute cleanly. And maybe that is because it doesn’t need closing. When I first got the news about Debbie I immediately went to the Internet to see if I could find out anything mostly because there was no way I could have had an actual conversation with anyone at that point. What I found amazed me. Google Debra McClinton and see what you find. Her name is all over the Web. She touched so many lives in so many ways. The tribute to Deb will live on forever. Deb was and still is the brightest ray of light that I have ever encountered aside from my own mother. Her boundless joy and spirit will live on in me forever. I have been blessed to have had her in my life. I love you Deb.

In Loving Memory

Kristin (Kristi) Allen

Jana Allen Childress's Notes:

Deb hated mayonnaise

She hated corned beef hash.

She was a school bus driver when she was in high school
…so were her friend Stacy & I.
Can you believe that our fine state let 16 year old high school students drive our children around?

Deb was a cheerleader for the Reynolds Rockets…
And she was their 1986 Homecoming Queen

She earned a degree from UNC Chapel Hill. Go Tarheels!!!

However, I am sorry to report…
she never graduated to a B-cup bra.

These are just a few of the things that made Debbie grow into an amusing, kindhearted & creative adult. These very traits, combined with what Kristi and Holly just said, made her a successful photographer, not for its technical aspects but because she brought an element of humanness to her work that was so real.

She had the ability to wrangle Charlie Sheen’s wedding party into playful photographs…

His new bride should’ve seen the writing on the wall that very day though...because Charlie was cutting a rug with his photographer by the end of the evening. Who could resist our Deb?

She had the sheer…iron…will to turn down Robert Redford when he needed a photographer…no time in her schedule?

And it was just another day for her when she photographed Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and again with Alice Walker, author of the Color Purple

She compassionately captured images of a woman that had suffered the ravages of chemotherapy. And her finesse made this frail, delicate woman feel beautiful again

Deb photographed billionaires & the homeless,
top models AND the delightfully rotund
all with her signature style and grace

It seemed that every time I visited Debbie in San Fran, she felt it was her duty to remind me that I loved to be behind the lens of a camera too and that I shouldn’t let that that passion fade. She made a point to include me on photo shoots almost every time I visited.

And so it was with Amy Tan. Author of The Joy Luck Club and several other books.

This shoot lasted about 4 hours….that’s with Deb & two assistants schlepping tons of photo equipment up the 67 steps to Amy Tan’s home, finding a suitable location, setting up each shot, checking lighting, taking polaroids,

But I need to tell you. Deb was amazing with the Chinese-born Ms. Tan. She was unassuming and modest….and wasn’t even going to mention her own months in China until I said something about it.

She was content to compliment her on her exquisite silk outfit and talk to her about her little Yorkie that would race around the room searching every crevice if you yelled “go find Bin Laden!”

Deb’s style was unobtrusive & endearing….she had no need to speak of her own life….she wanted to learn Ms. Tan’s stories rather than tell her own…

This was Debbie’s way with everyone….always….

SO, after 100’s of shots of this woman inside her home, Ms. Tan was accompanying us as we loaded the equipment when Debbie said “let’s do a few more on the steps”.

Ms. Tan sat down, elbow on knee and chin in hand.

I held the reflector & Deb shot away. It was one of these pure, simple, uncontrived shots that People Magazine chose to run.

Just like our Deb.

Pure. Simple. Uncontrived.

One more story…

Every Christmas Eve since the early 80s, my family (the Allens) and the McClintons, have shared a traditional family celebration together. We never quite knew what to expect from Deb as far as what she would wear, you know……she was our “chic friend from San Francisco” and up on all the newest styles and such.

I don’t think she was quite the fashion barometer most years in her two-days-worn jeans and her 10-year-old North Face down jacket with duct tape holding it together, but she always made a fashion statement with her feet.

Now it is no secret that Debbie loved boots. Any kind of boots. All kinds of boots. Danny said that one time he counted over 20 pairs.

Last Christmas, Debbie confidently walked in wearing leather knee high boots

Normal right? Well, these were quite something because they were silver metallic.

Now these boots were an easy $600 dollars from a shee shee San Francisco boutique
……or were they actually $15 dollars from a second hand store? I don’t think we’ll ever know……..

But they were just like our Deb.

Unique. Out of the ordinary. And Sparkling.

February 3, 2008

Deb and Frankie on stage

I just came across this video. I made it with my digicam, so the quality isn't so hot. We were at Stern grove, I believe it was Sat Oct 6, 2007. We had a lovely few hours fooling around. Watching this makes me really sad.

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