Debby Lynn Underwood Gross danced her way into heaven on Sunday, April 25, 2010.
Celebration of life: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 8, at the home of David and Toni Lewis in Fort Worth. Forgo the bad organ music and somber routine. Let's raise a glass, deliver our best jokes, tell some stories, stir it up and laugh. She expects old fashioned home cookin' funeral food! If you try to sneak chain restaurant brown gravy or powdered potatoes into the party, we will hurt you. Also, please don't ask us when you can pick up your covered dishes. We're keeping them! Dates are encouraged as long as you are not too closely related. Two-drink minimum. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.
Never miss the chance to dance.
Memorials: Debby Lynn's wishes were, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to an educational fund for her granddaughter Kaysen Ashley. Debbie Lynn Gross Memorial Fund at Frost Bank, Fort Worth, Texas.
Debby Lynn Underwood Gross was sent to us on Oct. 1, 1964.
The remainder of her story is written with the irreverent affinity and mischievous zest she had for life. She loved to laugh and wasn't afraid to pepper a salty word to elicit a desired response. If you don't share her appreciation of laughter at the expense of etiquette and decorum, read no further. She made no apologies and neither will we.
Debby Lynn packed many loves and tragedies into her short 45 years. During her life she excelled at mediocrity. She could do anything she wanted . . . she just chose not to! She was wickedly funny with a penchant for story telling. Her vivid and imaginative tall tales were usually combined pieces of personal experience with outlandish redneck wisdom. She was a living contradiction; part truth and part fiction. Most stories both real and humorous began with "You ain't gonna believe this s---!"
Debby Lynn loved the limelight and was a master communicator via phone, email, even broadcast radio. Her redneck character-driven calls earned her a recurring radio role in Cape Girardeau, Mo., as "Hilda the Hen" and the voice of Circle S Saddle. She also worked with Apple Orthodontics in Fort Worth.
She loved to be in the know at the center of gossip, conflict or tragedy. One of her favorite lines was "If you don't have anything nice to say . . . come sit by me!" She had a knack for "stirring the pot" for comedic effect or choosing to escalate a tense situation to get a reaction. She was equally clever at extinguishing a fire she helped to stoke. We believe Debby Lynn delighted in the resolution and redemption that comes after a "knock down, drag out fight" with the ones you love.
Debby Lynn's story would be incomplete without the mention of her husband of 20 years, Joe. He was her reserved counterpart to her over-the-top, bossy personality but his commitment was unwavering. Debby Lynn's physical deterioration did not affect her ability to throw verbal jabs. Joe maintained courage under verbal fire, exercising saintly restraint. His patience and selflessness are truly appreciated by the entire family.
Debby Lynn loves the Lord; her husband, Joe Gross; her daughter, Ashley Nicole Rickman-Cordell; her granddaughter, Kaysen Ashley; her mother, Carole Ann Underwood; her sisters, Toni Kay Lewis, Lisa Dianne Sparkman, Becki Ann Saterlee and Shelly Pooh Crudup; her and her sisters' many boyfriends, former husbands, current brothers-in law; nephews, Brandon Lewis and Garrett Sparkman (they were both born in a manger and swaddled at birth but NOT born to virgins); niece, Kaci Jo Sparkman; great-nephew, Colter James Dean Sparkman; great-niece, Ella Sparkman; family, friends, dogs, cats, music and life.
We would like to thank the staff at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Mo., where she received extraordinary care from her medical team. We adore each of them and will remain forever grateful for their kindness.
She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Bill and Ella McClarney of Olive Branch, Ill.; and her father, Jim Underwood of Fort Worth.
Published in Star-Telegram on May 2, 2010.