The family of Lois "Dawn" Garms mourns the loss of an amazing woman, wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother who died of congestive heart failure on July 4, 2021, with family by her side.
Dawn was born in 1931 in Toronto, Canada, to Lois and Fred Gardner. They soon moved to New York City during the Great Depression and endured joblessness, homelessness and food scarcity. As the family made its way south, they landed in San Antonio to be closer to relatives. Dawn's mother, a widow by that time, remarried Aubrey Holmes, a role model and loving stepfather to Dawn. She attended Brackenridge High School, where she was a member of the yearbook staff and Purple Jacket dance team. When she graduated, she was only 15 years old and heralded by the San Antonio Light newspaper as the youngest graduate in San Antonio in 1946.
She married Russell E. DeBerry in 1949 and together they had six children. In her second marriage to Walter A. Garms she found new love and a partner in entertaining, traveling and raising a blended family of nine. Together, they traveled the world in retirement while toasting and celebrating every grandchild and great grandchild's birth together.
Dawn was an accomplished professional who carved out a successful career for herself in civil service as head of military pay for the Army at Fort Sam Houston. She eventually retired from Kelly Air Force Base as a GS-11, a grade unheard of for females at that time.
As much as she loved her career, the job she took most seriously was raising her children. And, although Dawn's childhood was laden with hardship, she never once let the experience define her. Instead, she was determined to become the best mother possible to her kids. She was a great cook, fierce protector, wizard of accounting, enthusiast of proper grammar, lover of a good laugh and talented bowler. She rescued many furry friends and lost souls over the years, and had many close friends whom she cherished.
We will miss her wicked wit, soothing hugs, quests for grandchildren's "bugs" and her bright eyes and smile that could light up any room. We will also forever celebrate July 4th – her independence from longtime pain and physical decline - with fireworks as a tribute to how she sparkled while on this earth.
Dawn Garms is survived by five children: Andrea DeBerry, Marcia DeBerry Wilson (Robert), Mark DeBerry (Beverlee), Dana DeBerry Orihel (Tim), and Trish DeBerry; Fourteen grandchildren: Travis and Brandon Jones, Carly Roberts, Lindsey DeBerry (Brandon Cone), Aubrey and Sara DeBerry, Bryan Orihel (Ashley), Tracee Orihel, Jordan DeBerry, Adam DeBerry (Andi), Rachel DeBerry McFall (Blake), Scott and Maddie Mejia, and Heather Stupelli (Jeff); Eleven great grandchildren: Greyson and Corbyn Orihel, Harper Hinojosa, Gene and Farrah McFall, Parker DeBerry, Abbie DeBerry, Mia DeBerry, Billy, Scotty and Lili Stupelli, niece Dawn Simon, and cousin James Gardner (Kelly).
She was preceded in death by loving husband Walt Garms, and sons Scott DeBerry, Cary and Rocky Garms.
Sincere thanks to Velma De La Garza, as well as the Golden Hearts Luxury Senior Living and Embrace Hospice staff for their loving care and assistance.
A memorial service will be held at St. Andrews Methodist Church on August 3, 2021 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Humane Society of San Antonio.