Debra Jeanine Thorgaard was born to Howard and Eleanore Thorgaard on Sunday, March 17, 1957, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Fairbanks. Debbie passed away peacefully at the family home on Monday, May 12, 2014.|
Debbie was the light of her family's life, and the very best blessing of the many blessings we have received. Debbie attended Fairbanks schools, and worked for many years as a page/clerk at the FNSB Library. Debbie was very proud of her work at the library, and even tried to volunteer time to "finish the carts," because she loved her work and really felt a sense of purpose re-shelving her carts of books in the Berry Room.
Debbie won several employee awards during her time at the library, and had a remarkable work ethic. Debbie was an outstanding Special Olympics athlete, and a terrific swimmer. Debbie competed in many local and state Special Olympics competitions, and represented Alaska at the First International Special Olympics Winter Games in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 1977. Debbie enjoyed life, and was proud to claim Fairbanks as "my hometown."
Debbie always tried to be a strong, brave Alaskan; she seldom complained, even when in pain. When not at the library, Debbie enjoyed the freedom of bicycling all over town - shopping, visiting, adventuring. Debbie was recognizable by the long, thick red braid down her back, and for her special efforts toward traffic control while biking. Debbie was a very gracious person, and she had an optimistic, grateful and generous spirit. Debbie was always happy to meet new people and even happier to run into old friends. No one was a stranger to Debbie for long.
Debbie loved music and attending concerts or singing along to "oldies" on her karaoke machine, frequently at a less than prudent volume. Debbie really enjoyed traveling: She visited the Scandinavian countries several times, most of Europe, New Zealand, Costa Rico, Canada, as well as many amusement, water and national parks across the U.S. Several years ago, Debbie had a wonderful time on a road-trip, retracing the Lewis and Clark Trail, followed by a relaxing state ferry trip to return home. Debbie was always ready for another adventure.
Debbie will be forever missed, but we rely on the hope that she is having an extraordinarily joyous reunion with her parents in heaven. Debbie is survived by her siblings, Curtis, Susan and Terry, and his wife, Judy; nieces, Rebekah and Aimee; an aunt and numerous cousins.
Debbie was a member of Fairbanks Lutheran Church and the Pioneers of Alaska. A memorial service will be held for Debbie at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Fairbanks Lutheran Church, 1012 Cowles.
If Debbie could offer advice, it would be, "Calm down, never quit, be kind, be happy.
Published in Daily News-Miner on May 15, 2014