DEBORAH McGAVIN HARRIS, Ph.D. Deborah McGavin Harris, Ph.D., 56, passed away quietly in her sleep in Gainesville, FL, on Tuesday, January 26, with grace and dignity following a long struggle with ALS. She grew up in Palm Beach, but lived in Gainesville for most of her adult life. Her parents were Bucky and Carmen Harris. However, in her 13th year, she also became part of Gavin Letts' family. She was a communicant of Bethesda-By-The-Sea and attended the Palm Beach Public School. She graduated from Twin Lakes High School. She earned her undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees from the University of Florida and became a highly recognized expert in her field of psychology. In her work as a school psychologist, she dedicated herself to finding the gifts and treasures in each child. At P.K. Young she developed and ran an innovative program for the gifted. She also created and directed Super Summer, a long-running camp for gifted children. Debby was a long-time member of the United Church of Gainesville. She loved Scotland, adventure, tennis, people, laughing and learning, but most of all she loved life and people. In meeting the profound challenges of ALS, Debby inspired those around her with her grace, courageous fighting spirit, and ever-deepening love of life, family and friends. She is survived by her husband, John and her daughter, Kate; sister, Jenell Miller; brothers, Bucky and Jim Harris and her "adopted" family, Dosty Letts and Sophy Letts. Her "adopted father," who guided her throughout her life, is the late Gavin Letts. Services were held on January 30, 2010 at the University of Florida's Auditorium followed by a reception at the New Engineering Building Rotunda. The service, which was attended by a host of friends as well as family, was conducted by The Reverends Sandy and Larry Reimer and Andy Bachmann. Funeral arrangements were handled by Forest Meadows Funeral Home. Please sign the online guestbook at www.forestmeadowsfh.com
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Published by The Palm Beach Post on Feb. 5, 2010.