Deborah (Debbie) Thomas Blake died
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peacefully at age 62 on Wednesday,
September 4th 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
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 pre-deceased 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.
Thank you Mary and Wayne Hesse for being such strong
and important friends during some tough times.
There will be a celebration of life at the Connelly-McKinley
St. Albert Funeral Chapel at 9 Muir Drive on Monday,
September 9th at 11am. In lieu of flowers, the family would
prefer that memorial 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 St. Albert Gazette on Sept. 7, 2013