Deborah Mary Abata
With profound sadness we announce the passing of our sister Deborah Mary Abata, age 62 on March 19, 2021, following an automobile accident on March 15, 2021. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loving family and listening to Rod Stewart. Debbie was born July 7, 1958 in New York, the eldest child of Vincent and Patricia Abata. In 1964 at the age of six, Debbie moved to Eureka, CA with her family. The family came to Santa Rosa in 1970 where they settled down roots. Debbie spent her early school years excelling at her studies and caring for her ever-growing family as three more siblings were added to the family. Debbie made friends easily, winning people over with her sunny disposition and humor. She could bring an element of fun to any situation and had she been able to, she would have made us all laugh as we said goodbye. She was a natural born caregiver who always looked after people and went to great effort to make sure those around her felt loved and appreciated. She was a devoted daughter, a dedicated sister, beloved auntie and tender mama to her four-legged babies, including cats Sambo and Sassy, and her mother's beloved dog, Shasha. She put the needs of others before her own and it was easy to feel relaxed and happy in her presence. In 1975, after graduating from Montgomery High School, she began her career in nursing. In 1980 Debbie selflessly gave up her own plans and desires and traveled to New York to spend a year caring for our grandmother, Mary Abata. When she returned to California, she continued her nursing career, specifically enjoying her work in the private duty sector, which allowed her to develop strong relationships with her patients and their families. Debbie had a natural ability to connect with the people she took care of, and the bonds she formed positively impacted families and patients alike. Later her talent carried over into her customer service work with Safeway and Target where she was well liked and appreciated by her friends and coworkers. Debbie always had a warm smile and positive attitude to share and if she knew a friend or coworker was blue, she did her best to share the sunshine with them. Debbie had many interests, but she particularly enjoyed music, attending many concerts with friends. She was known for her lovable borderline obsession with Rod Stewart. She was a big sports fan, returning to her New York roots and following the Jets (where she had another lovable borderline obsession with Joe Namath). But the team that held her lifelong, diehard devotion was the Los Angeles Rams. She never missed a game and, win or lose, she was known for being a dedicated and vocal fan. She shared this passion with her brother, Mitch and her sister, Valerie who when together could raise the roof on game day. Debbie's greatest enjoyment was gardening; she loved to get lost in a beautiful world of colors, textures and fragrances in the garden. She created magic in the dirt, digging, planting, pruning, transferring and nourishing every plant and flower. Her loving nature was evident in the beautiful gardens created with special love from her tender hands. Debbie could grow anything anywhere, turning a mountain of dirt into a floral masterpiece. She had a special fondness for cacti – tending to them with the same care and reverence as she did the most perfect roses. As with all living things that she came into contact with, she gave her love without reservation and they thrived. She will be remembered and missed dearly by family, friends, and coworkers. People who knew her can find solace in knowing that Debbie was greeted in heaven by her loving family on the other side: our father Vincent Abata, mother Patricia Burns, her loving brother Mitch Abata and long-time boyfriend and close family friend Alvin Minniefield. Debbie is survived and mourned by her sisters, Valerie Clapham, Sheila Nordgren, brother David Abata, nieces, Ashley Dunaway, Anthony Fitzgerald, Brianna Clapham, Leif Nordgren, Soren Nordgren, nine great nieces and nephews, and Debbie's "second mother" Mrs. Pat Vegsund. Pat experienced Debbie's caring nature first-hand, both while Debbie cared for her husband, Dick Vegsund and later, when Pat shared her home with Debbie where they lived a few happy, stress-free years filled with laughter and fresh baked cookies. Our family is ever grateful and thankful Debbie was blessed with such a loving friendship. Debbie was a wonderful person who was taken from us all much too soon and her family is dedicated to seeking justice on her behalf.
We wish to express our gratitude and appreciation to RN, Travis Rush, and the entire ICU team at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, who gave our sister outstanding medical care and showed her family compassion and tenderness during their heartbreak, and to CHP Officer Anna Paulson, who stayed with Debbie and comforted her at the scene. The family appreciates everyone's prayers, thoughts and generosity during this time. Our family will be holding a Celebration of Life on Saturday, July 10, 2021. Those who wish to attend should contact us for details via email at: [email protected]
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the GoFundMe page established for her funeral and medical expenses https://gofund.me/9ac8976f
or share her page on social media. To honor Debbie's memory, take a moment to enjoy a garden, tell your family you love them, and take care of the people around you.
"Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there's no one else above you? You fill my heart with gladness, take away my sadness, ease my troubles, that's what you do." – Rod Stewart "Have I Told You Lately"
Published by Press Democrat from Apr. 17 to Apr. 18, 2021.