MEYER, Deborah Ludeman|
Debi passed peacefully from this life at home on June 10, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. She was surrounded by friends and family who were so important in her life. Debi lived courageously with cancer for over 28 years; living every day fully in spite of significant medical challenges and bringing with her insight and an optimism which was a frequent inspiration to all around her.
Born May 24, 1952 in Cotulla, Texas, Debi was the third and last child of Ben and Annette Martin Ludeman. After his service as a WWII pilot, Ben returned to Cotulla and founded Ben's Western Wear, a store still thriving today. Annette was the family genealogist and traced their origins to the Mayflower.
Debi's family called her "Boosie" because she followed her big brother, Ben around like a little caboose. He later saved her life by donating his bone marrow when she was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 34. She subsequently was diagnosed and treated for uterine cancer and thyroid cancer, and also developed heart valve disease - all considered to be the unavoidable side effects of the total body radiation used during the initial treatment for her leukemia.
Debi was a small town girl with a huge heart and boundless energy. She was very playful and mischievous, and early-on she developed the ability to be fully present with the people around her. In high school Debi was a head cheerleader, class president, salutatorian, basketball player, editor of the annual, helped her mom in the yard and worked at her dad's store during the Christmas rush and summers. She had the freedom to ride her bike or roller skate anywhere as long as she was home by dark. She loved to stay at the family ranch, play with her cousins, swim in the lake, play with the Mexican goats, ride horses and sometimes work cattle.
She started to college at Baylor and later graduated with a degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston in 1974. She moved to Indianapolis to work at Riley Hospital for Children, then got a MA degree in Educational Psychology from Butler University. She directed the Special Education Department at Zionsville, Indiana School District, where she met her first husband Patrick McCarthy.
After her only child, Michal Leah, was born, Debi decided to move back to Texas to be closer to her mother and so that Michal could get to know her grandmother. Debi worked as an Associate Psychologist for AISD until she was diagnosed with leukemia in 1986.
Debi often said, "If I had never had leukemia, I never would have met Chuck". Debi was a volunteer at St. David's Hospital where she met the Reverend Chaplain Chuck Meyer. Theirs was an instant connection and resulted in 12 joy-filled years of marriage and a loving stepfather for her daughter, Michal. Chuck's love for his remarkable daughter is known through a book he wrote called Twelve Smooth Stones: A father writes to his daughter about money, sex, spirituality and other things that really matter. Additional stories about Michal are in many of his other books.
A car accident took Chuck and severely injured Debi in November 2000. Even in the face of loss, Debi demonstrated courage and a will to live, plus gratitude for the years she shared with Chuck.
Debi brought her incredible spirit of living kindness, paired with laughter and playfulness, into her work in the cancer and grief support community for many years as a board member, counselor, volunteer and benefactor. Many times during her busy years of illness she remarked, "I don't have time to die."
Debi was a loving mother to her daughter Michal, always supporting her passions for life (and sending famous Debi Meyer care packages wherever Michal's travels took her!) Debi was joyfully present in all the big milestones in Michal's life, notably walking Michal down the aisle during her wedding and celebrating news of the coming of her first grandson due this fall.
She is survived by her daughter Michal and son-in-law Michael DeChellis; her sister Kate Ludeman and her husband Eddie Erlandson and niece, Catherine; her brother Ben Martin Ludeman and his wife Rose, and niece Norna and her husband Dan and their children, plus her extended family and a large circle of dear friends.
Debi wishes to thank her long time doctor, Michael Kasper, and retired nurse, Bobbie Moles for their care and attention over the years; the staff of Hospice Austin for their kindness and attentiveness; her next door neighbors, Jim and Doris Mohler; and her many loving friends and family who were present throughout her illness.
In honor of Debi's passion for gardening and her love of flowers, birds and butterflies, Debi asks that people plant flowers in her memory instead of sending them. She prefers donations be made in her memory to Wonders and Worries, Hospice Austin, The Cancer Connection or The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. Or go sit on her butterfly bench in the newly created Luci & Ian Family Garden at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Michal invites friends to wear blue, Debi's favorite color, to the Memorial Service, which will be held on Wednesday, June 25th at 7 p.m. at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin, Texas. A reception will follow.
Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from June 15 to June 23, 2014