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Debra A. Smith
05/17/1958 — 12/07/2023
From Richland, WA | Born in Kennewick, WA
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Celebration of Life
Richland, WA 99352
Richland, WA 99352
Debra A. Smith
On May 17, 1958 a baby girl was born at Kennewick General Hospital. Her name was Debra Ann Carlson, the daughter of John and Margie Carlson. Debra (Debbie) grew up with her older sister, Susan Carlson, and attended schools in Kennewick throughout her young years. Debbie had tomboy-ish tendencies and would often be found playing stickball with the neighbor boys.
It was during her eighth-grade year at Highlands Middle School (Go Scotties!) where she met the love of her life and her future husband. At that time, they paired-up to complete a science project together – which earned them an A grade. Later, Debbie attended Kamiakin High School and graduated in 1976. While there, she earned varsity letters in Cross Country and Tennis. She started dating the boy she met in eighth grade and they became engaged during their senior year in high school. Debbie married Steven Smith on Christmas Eve, 1977 and started a nearly 46-year journey as his wife and forever partner.
After graduating from high school Debbie completed training in cosmetology and worked at many different styling salons in Kennewick, Pullman, and Benton City. Although the Tri-Cities was home, she moved to Pullman, WA for two years to support her husband in his studies at Washington State University. Also, during the two years living in Pullman, Debbie pursued an interest in horticulture by completing classes on the WSU campus. Upon returning to the Tri-Cities following her husband’s completion of studies and after completing several horticulture classes, she accepted a position at the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser where she worked as a research technician in the bean genetics program.
Then, in 1984, Debbie became a mother for the first time – to Erin Ciara Smith. At that time, she became a proud stay-at-home mother. A second daughter was born – Brittan Alyssa Smith. Then, a third daughter – Kelsey Marcelle Smith. She loved being a stay-at-home mother, which allowed her to devote all her time to being a fully engaged mother. After the children were in school, Debbie finished her Associate Arts degree at Columbia Basin College in 1997 while earning an impressive grade point average. She wanted to complete the degree to be a good example to her young daughters. Debbie became a cook for the Kennewick School district where she enjoyed working with young people – who, in turn, enjoyed working with her.
Late in her adult life Debbie began to develop her spiritual being – her so-called third eye, where she explored the metaphysical and non-traditional beliefs. She shared this interest with her daughters and friends. She was regularly visited by her angels and obtained strength, inspiration and courage from them. During this time, she developed a deep spiritual connection with her then-deceased maternal grandmother, Millie.
She enjoyed hosting youth soccer coaches from the UK who would stay at her house for several weeks at a time during several summers, developing enduring friendships with them. The outdoors was also a big part of her life where she enjoyed fishing, hiking and camping with many close friends. Also, she was very proud of the two houses that she built with her husband, acting as owner-builders, with very fine results. But perhaps her proudest moments in life were watching her three daughters become strong, independent women.
Debbie was called into heaven by her angels on December 7, 2023 following a short battle with cancer. She was preceded in death by her mother, Margie Rose Carlson (Duden). She is survived by her father John Carlson; sister Susan Arey; three daughters Erin Bush, Brittan Ornstein and Kelsey Gomez; ten grandchildren and her husband Steven Smith.
Her approach to life was exemplified by a phrase from one of her favorite songs, sung by Leann Womack; “When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, dance. I hope you dance.”
In lieu of flowers, Debbie would appreciate donations to be made in her name to Mikey’s Chance pet rescue, PO Box 4535, West Richland, WA, 99353. Thank you.
I spent many a day on the soccer field sidelines with Debbie while our daughters and husbands sweat it out. I always loved her calm and wit, she took such good care of her girls and her husband. I know that she will be dearly missed. Thinking of you Steve and girls.
Linda and John Clark
Special things I remember about Debbie (in no particular order).
She made the best lasagna ever.
She was always a true friend
She had the best laugh and such a great sense of humor. She was a real animal lover: cats, dogs, birds, squirrels, beavers. She rescued and kept many and saved others from harm. She’d feed them all if she could.
Debbie was a great seamstress and loved to knit. She loved her home and how special it was that she and Steve built so much of it themselves. When Debbie spoke about my brother it was always with true love and tenderness. She was a fabulous mother and grandmother. She had the most kind and patient and big heart for everyone. She will be greatly missed.
Debbie was my sister in law, but she was more like a sister to me, the sister I never had having two younger brothers. We shared a lot of the same interests and hobbies. I loved her laugh and her stories about her girls and all of her 10 wonderful grand children. I will miss her tremendously. Love you always Debbie. Miss you forever.
My thoughts are with you
What an amazing person, what an even better friend. She feared nothing & she loved with all her heart and soul. What I hear so often is her laugh. She laughed like she did everything else in the world — as if it was heard by the gods. No one can duplicate that. I miss hearing her say, ‘I have one more question…’ that could be a long just one more thing. She became such a welcome visitor to my house & my family. She understood and embraced my child’s idiosyncrasies. My child being 38! She adored her girls. She found them to be pure gold. When she asked about things it was for/about her children. She found them to be so amazing & strong. They were educated & well-formed individuals who needed nothing more in life then loving their children completely unabashedly. Her grandchildren were her sweet spot. Whether it was about her special boy who is becoming a thespian, or her beautiful girl who is finding the mystical side of life, her 10 grandchildren were equally loved & appreciated. It goes without saying that the true love of her life was her husband. He was her everything. Her rock of Gibraltar. He could be found in his workshop making all sorts of goodies from their bedroom set to a bookshelf for all her metaphysical books she was obtaining. When she talked about him, all these years later, you could still see the light in her eye twinkle. She was an incredible friend to me. When she passed I was wearing a bracelet she gave me. A little bit of red paint spotted on where the heart of the tree of life is. I knew. She let me know most things. I’ll miss her with everything in me. Her family was fast becoming mine. I love you Deb. And you would have loved k-pop when i inundated you with it on that last visit we didn’t get to make. Kisses & loves. No c-pac machines anymore, you can sleep peacefully.