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Gainesville - Deborah "Debbie" Walker Bateman, age 58 of Gainesville, passed away Saturday, May 10, 2014. She was born December 5, 1955 in Charlotte, North Carolina to John Alexander and Beryl Lienhard Walker. Debbie grew up in North Wilkesboro, NC. During her high school years, she was an accomplished equestrian with many blue ribbons. Despite her paralysis from a car crash her senior year of high school; she attended St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, NC. Debbie, as she was known to her friends and family, became a resident of Gainesville, FL with her young son, John Edward in 1981. She was an active member of the Gainesville community. She spoke in high schools and other public arenas for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, MADD. She was a strong advocate for the ADA, traveling to Tallahassee to promote accessibility for the disabled. She supported the Briarwood Center for Independent Living by serving on their executive board. In the late '80s her intelligence and beauty earned her the title of first runner-up for Miss Wheelchair Florida. In 1991, she met and married Ken Bateman, the love of her life and faithful father to her son John. The foundation of her beauty, courage and perseverance, was her faith in Jesus Christ. She was an active member of Servants of Christ Anglican Church where she enjoyed participation in their Bible studies.

She is survived by her husband, Ken Bateman of Gainesville, FL; son, John Edward Bateman of New York, NY; sisters, Lynn Riker (Phil) of Isle of Palms, SC, Dottie Moynihan (Bob) of Ottawa Hills, OH, Gail Owen (Mike) of Palm Coast, FL and Morrison Hall (Von) of Wilmington, NC and 6 nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life for Debbie will be held Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 10:30 a.m., in the chapel of WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME DOWNTOWN, 404 North Main Street, with The Rev. Alex Farmer officiating. Memorials may be made to Stirrups and Strides Therapeutic Riding Center, 4246 W. Hwy 318, Citra, FL 32113 or your local therapeutic riding center. Please visit her memorial page at





(352) 376-7556

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Williams-Thomas Funeral Home Downtown
404 North Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32601
(352) 376-7556
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Published in Gainesville Sun from May 13 to May 14, 2014
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