Deborah Yates Gormly, age 81, passed away peacefully at her home on November 17, 2020, after a brief recurrence of breast cancer. She spent her last days surrounded by her children, friend Tim Potter and her two cats. Debbie was born in Syracuse, the cherished only child of George L. and Elma (Haynes) Fisher. She spent her childhood in Binghamton, NY, before graduating from Smith College in 1961. She then took a job in Gov. Nelson Rockefeller's office in New York City, where she met her first husband, filmmaker Rick Yates. Debbie and Rick moved to Canandaigua in 1963, where they started a family and a business, Fisher Yates Communications. After Rick succumbed to cancer, Debbie took over the business while nurturing her children. In 1975, she married photographer and writer John B. Gormly, who became her partner in both life and business.
Debbie was active in the community and participated in many organizations over the years, including the Granger Homestead Society, Travelers Club, Ontario County Historical Society, Canandaigua Scientific and the Fisher-Phillips Reunion Committee. She was a devoted and faithful member of St. John's Episcopal Church, serving on the Vestry and as secretary for many years. Her charming minutes - written for St. John's and others - were legendary.
Her sassy sense of humor and warm, expansive nature made Debbie a favorite friend and confidante to just about everyone who knew her, from young to old, and she was a beloved grandmother. She loved nothing more than visiting with friends and family to find out how they were doing, offer support and selfless companionship, often through her love of conversation. The family home at 251 North Main Street in Canandaigua was a top destination for her childrens' friends, even into adulthood.
Debbie's intelligence, kindness, commitment to community and resilience were inspiring, and she faced down daunting challenges with genuine grace, indefatigable humor and grit. Above all, she loved her family unconditionally and completely. The memory and example of her generous heart and unfailing optimism will continue to comfort and inspire.
Debbie is survived by three children, Elisabeth (Michael J.) Pinkney, Richard (Caroline P.) Yates and Virginia (Zoltán) Vigh; and five grandchildren, Ellen and Ricky Yates, Anne and Laura Pinkney and Deborah Vigh. She was predeceased by husbands Richard Yates in 1972 and John B. Gormly in 2006.
A memorial service will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church at a later date and time to be announced. Interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Bristol. Memorial contributions may be made to St. John's Episcopal Church, 183 North Main St., Canandaigua, NY 14424. Arrangements are by Johnson-Kennedy Funeral Home, Inc., Canandaigua. Condolences may be offered at www.johnsonkennedy.com
Published by Rochester Democrat And Chronicle from Nov. 19 to Nov. 22, 2020.