BLAKE, Deborah (Debbie) Thomas
Deborah (Debbie) Thomas Blake died peacefully at age 62 on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton, after a long and courageous fight with cancer. Debbie was born December 22, 1950 in Brooks, Alberta, to Douglas and Mary Elizabeth Blake. Debbie was actively involved in athletics and the outdoors throughout her life. She learned to swim at an early age, winning numerous awards, and was named Calgary Junior Female Athlete of the Year in 1962. She swam competitively at the University of Wyoming, where she attended and graduated summa cum laude. Debbie's swimming career continued at the master's level, and was highlighted by a world record at the World Masters Games in Toronto. Debbie made St. Albert her home, where she raised three boys, made many lifelong friends, and worked for the City of St. Albert Parks and Recreation for 30 years. In addition to a busy work and home life, Debbie volunteered with the Special Olympics swim program, and opened her home and heart to dozens of foster care children. Debbie developed a love for travelling, particularly to Mexico, where she visited yearly, even as she battled cancer. Debbie was diagnosed six years ago, but always a fighter, battled long enough to ensure her young grandchildren had lasting memories of their grandma. Debbie is survived by her partner George Southwell; sisters Dorothea (Ben) Meulenbeld, Beverly Blake, Cydnee (Bryan) Rutley, and Denise (Richard) Cameron; father Douglas Blake and predeceased by her mother Mary Elizabeth; sons Corey (Vanessa) Wilson of Calgary, Travis (Sharleen) Blake of Edmonton, and Dustin (Nadia) Wilson of St. Albert; grandchildren Cadence, Coen, Lola, Lennon, Lou, Maya, and Marley; and a number of other relatives and close friends. There will be a celebration of life at the Connelly-McKinley St. Albert Funeral Chapel at 9 Muir Drive on Monday, September 9 at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations are made to Dr. Pablo Amigo and his incredible staff at the Grey Nuns Hospital. Donations can be brought to the service or sent in Deb's name to Unit 43 at the Grey Nuns Hospital. Cheques to be made out to "Grey Nuns Unit 43", and sent to 1100 Youville Drive West, Edmonton, T6L 5X8.
Published in The Calgary Herald on Sept. 7, 2013