GRAVIER, Debby Jo
After a valiant 13-year battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Debby passed away on January 22, surrounded by family and close friends. Debby was born on November 12, 1950 in Oroville, CA to William and Marjorie (Onyett) Dresser. She grew up in Sacramento and graduated from Luther Burbank High School. She attended Chico State College, earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Arts in 1972, and then returned to Sacramento for the remainder of her life. Debby taught 3rd and 4th grade in the Sacramento City Unified School District for 34 years, finally retiring in June 2008. She first taught at Ethel I. Baker Elementary School and was a founding teacher of the Theodore Judah Magnet School, an integrated thematic instruction program that later relocated to the Leonardo da Vinci site. Debby believed deeply in integrating technology into the classroom. In 1988, she wrote a grant, developed a curriculum, and directed the first Apple computer lab in the district for four years, before returning to the classroom at LdV. The District twice selected Debby to be a Mentor Teacher and she also volunteered to train student teachers in the CSU Sacramento credential program for many years. She loved the excitement in her students' faces as they discovered new things and gained confidence in themselves. Teaching was not a job for Debby - it was a calling and she was highly respected in her profession.
Debby loved spending time with her friends, including her beloved HENS (Hysterical Educators Needing Support), and volunteering for 'I Can Do That!' (aka Very Special Arts), an art appreciation program for children with disabilities. She had a fondness for Hawaii, its culture, and its music. She played the guitar and ukulele, and annual trips to Hawaii reenergized her. Photography and Facebook kept Debby busy at the computer and tending plants around her home brought her peace and serenity.
Preceded in death by her father, Debby leaves behind her husband and best friend of 35 years, Gary, and daughter Michelle (Matthew) Ferrill of San Diego. She is survived by her mother Marjorie Dresser of Granite Bay and brother Dr. Jon (Lana) Dresser of Orangevale. Debby was a most loving, patient, compassionate, and understanding wife, mother, and teacher. She had a beautiful smile and an infectious laugh. Her motto was 'If it's not fun, it's not worth doing.' Debby's honesty, integrity, tenacity, and courage inspired all who knew her.
A celebration of Debby's life will be held at Christ Community Church, 5025 Manzanita Avenue, Carmichael, CA at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 2. Casual Hawaiian attire appreciated.
Remembrances can be made in Debby's name to:
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
2143 Hurley Way, Suite 110
Sacramento, CA 95825
Attn: Robert Ojeda, Director