Deborah Degenaar Smithson, 63, known as Debi to her friends, was born October 5, 1949 in Niskayuna, New York, the second of two children for Lt. Colonel Henry Barrett Degenaar and Thelma Jo (Bickley) Degenaar.
After spending her early childhood in New York, she relocated to Dallas, Texas with her mother and sister.
A business school graduate, Debi was employed by a number of prominent concerns during her professional career, including the Federal Reserve Bank and Republic National Bank in Dallas. She married John Edward Smithson March 27, 1974. Their only child, John Edward Smithson II, was born December 25, 1987. After living in New York, Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia, she moved back to Webbers Falls in 1993 and remained there the rest of her life. A devout Christian, Debi served as church secretary for New Hope Baptist Church in Muskogee, and worked each year with children at church camp. She also was employed at Rainbow Mart in Gore, where she became well-known to the community.
Debi passed to her Lord on February 8, after a long struggle with leukemia. She is survived by her son, John Edward Smithson II, of Tahlequah, her sister Deanna Degenaar of Garland, Texas, and an aunt and cousins located variously in Texas and California. Debi blessed many with her gentle, loving spirit and her warm, easy-going manner. She will be deeply missed.
It was Debi's request that those who wish to do something in her memory do not send flowers or food, but rather make a donation to their local church, in memory of her, specifying that the money be spent to help send kids to church camp.
The memorial service will be held Saturday, February 23, 2:00 pm at her home church, Cornerstone Tabernacle in Gore, Oklahoma.