In loving memory of Deborah (Debbie) Louise Cole, who died on October 25, 2022, in Lakeside, Arizona. Debbie was born on October 4, 1952, in Van Nuys, California.
Debbie was a joy to everyone she had the opportunity to meet. Despite suffering a serious brain injury that left her developmentally disabled at 18 months old, she lived a full, productive, and rewarding life. She grew up to be a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving, perpetual little girl, albeit in an adult body. Her mom was fond of saying “When life gave Debbie lemons, she made delicious lemonade.”
Debbie attended school at what is now Zia Therapy Center in Alamogordo, NM, from its earliest beginning, in 1960. Her parents, Elizabeth, and Richard Cole were among Zia’s founding families; and Debbie was a beloved fixture there for over 50 years. With support from her family, the staff at Zia, and many other loving caring folks in the community, Debbie participated in Special Olympics, numerous social and craft activities at Zia and in the community, church activities, and summer camp in the mountains throughout most of her life. She even gained employment as a document shredder at Holloman Air Force Base, where she retired after 20 years of faithful service.
After Debbie’s retirement in 2015, she moved to Eagar, AZ with her sister Lisa, to be closer to family and friends living in the White Mountains. She loved her family, her dog Doodle, listening to oldies, classic rock, and even country music, making latch-hook rugs, playing games, reading the Bible, shelling pecans, eating at Golden Corral, and Elvis Presley. She enjoyed riding her three-wheeler bike, visiting, and playing games with friends and family, and being the center of well-intended attention.
She also enjoyed loving and being loved by many who were forever impacted by her lively spirit, tenacity, and genuine infectious laughter. She was preceded in death by her loving parents, Elizabeth E. and Richard W. Cole; sister Ruthanne Louise “Rudi” Cole; and nephews Robert, Richard, and Bobby Cole.
She is survived by her sisters Barbara and Lisa, and brothers Rick, Jim, and Mike. She also leaves behind many nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and her lifelong friend Elaine Sanchez as well as special friends Verna Styck and Geneva Patterson, who were her mother’s best friends and akin to family.
Debbie was a joyfully optimistic soul with a contagious smile and laugh. When she smiled the whole room would brighten with delight. She is dearly missed. Those who knew and loved Debbie can be comforted knowing she will be healed of all infirmities and will soon be reunited with and basking in the loving embraces of ones who have preceded her in death, in Almighty God’s new world to come. We love you forever Debbie Doodle. Services will be held at a later date.