Debra Ronae Stelzer, nee Reed, 62, Washington, went to be with her Lord on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in Washington.|
Debra, daughter of Phyllis, nee Fryer, Reed and the late Leslie J. Reed, was born May 9, 1951, in St. Louis. She grew up near Anaconda, and attended school there with her older brothers in a one- room schoolhouse.
She obtained her first job at the age of 15, working at the St. Clair License Office (which was run by her mother.) Throughout her 12-year public service career there, she met thousands of good people. She graduated from St. Clair High School in 1969 and enrolled in the first classes held at East Central Junior College, where she forged several lifelong friendships. While raising her daughter Stacy, as a divorced mother, she took several part-time jobs, Bourbeuse Valley Cycles, Letha Hickinbotham Real Estate and the state of Missouri, which was a traveling position to various license renewal offices. She was aggressive, hard working and made many friends across the region.
In 1975, she was fortunate to obtain a custodial job at the Pea Ridge Mine in Sullivan where she learned to drive a forklift. She quickly advanced in the company and occasionally worked underground with the surveyors crew. When the mine closed in 1977, she returned to East Central College, focusing on business classes. She transferred to Maryville University. In 1979, she began another new career as a purchasing agent at SECO Manufacturing in Washington. There, she met Michael Stelzer. They were married Aug. 16, 1980, at Christ Lutheran Church, Augusta.
Debra began another new career in 1982 with A.G. Edwards and Sons as a wire operator. Again, she advanced quickly in the company, and became a financial adviser in 1991. When she retired earlier this year, she was able to reflect on the many clients and co-workers that had become close friends over the years.
Debra was preceded in death by her father, Leslie J. Reed; and one brother, Gale Reed.
She is survived by her husband, Michael Stelzer, Washington; two children, Stacy Bleckman and husband Brian, and Tom Stelzer and Emily Bearden, all of Washington; mother, Phyllis Reed and husband Jack Lewis, Lonedell; one stepdaughter, Melissa Adrian and husband Jason, Augusta; four siblings, Lance Reed, Ronda Perkins and husband Monty, and Lisa Conway, all of St. Clair, and Cara McMillan and husband Kendell, Columbia; eight grandchildren, Lyndsey, Elizabeth, Joe, Zach, Justin, Josh, Joshua, and Caleb; aunts; uncles; nieces; nephews; cousins; and many friends.
Visitation was held Friday, Aug. 16, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Washington.
A funeral service was held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at the church.
Interment was in the church cemetery.
Memorial donations may be given to the Immanuel Lutheran Church Building Fund or the East Central College Debra Stelzer Scholarship Fund.
The Stelzer family was served by Miller Funeral Home, Washington.
Published in The Missourian on Aug. 21, 2013