Cover photo for Debra Stanley's Obituary
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1960 Debra 2020

Debra Stanley

May 6, 1960 — December 16, 2020

Debra Eileen Stanley left this earthly plane on December 16, 2020.  Debra was born on May 6, 1960 in Battle Creek, Michigan, and was preceded in death by her parents Robert and Eileen Black, and her brother Robert Black.  She is survived by her children, Christopher (Brenda) Borchardt of Hastings, Stephanie (Kenneth) Prough of Battle Creek, David (Elizabeth) Borchardt of Kalamazoo, Ashley Stanley of Kalamazoo, and Brittany (fiancé Mikel McCormick) Stanley of Kalamazoo.  She is also survived by her sister Janine (Kristen) Chesak-Black of Kalamazoo, brother Jeffrey Black of Battle Creek, and brother James Black of Charlotte, North Carolina, and her grandchildren Ryan, Tarra, Emily, Mia, and numerous much-loved nieces and nephews.  Deb was the 4th child out of 5, and because of a gap between the first 3 and she and her younger brother Jeff, the two of them were referred to in childhood as “the little ones.”  Deb excelled in school, always the A student, perfect attendance type of kid.  She played the clarinet and even though she was horribly annoying to all with the squeaks and squeals when first learning to play, she rose to the top and was first chair all throughout junior high and high school.  Debbie raised five wonderful children that she was so proud of.  Family meant everything to her, and she loved to have annual picnics and holidays at her parents’ house which became her beloved home upon their deaths.   Everyone was invited, and there was always three times as much food as needed.  The manager of Oakhill Cemetery in Battle Creek, Michigan prior to her retirement, she always showed compassion and kindness to those going through the loss of a loved one. She was held in high regard by funeral directors across the state and contributed greatly to a book called Beyond These Gates which chronicled the historic figures interred there.  She also started the cemetery yearly tour which had actors portraying the famous people buried there, from Sojourner Truth to W.K.Kellogg.  Deb loved to laugh.  When times were rough, she would make light of it and would always say “it is better to laugh than to cry.”  Her license plate bore that sentiment; LV2LF.  Always the practical joker, she once led a family brigade to stealthily cover her sisters’ yard in the middle of the night with marshmallow Peeps for Easter.   She fought a long and hard battle with Cholangiocarcinoma, a rare gallbladder cancer.  She braved through three years undergoing multiple procedures, surgeries, and chemo.  The last two years of her journey she lived with her sister Janine and wife Kristen, where so many memories were made with the goal of finding something to smile about every day.  That goal was met, and more.  From her family, in the words of Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”   Due to COVID a private service is being held Monday, December 21, 2020 at Bedford Cemetery, Bedford, Michigan.  Memorial contributions may be sent to The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation@ www.cholangiocarcinoma.org or Hospice Care of SW Michigan @ www.hospiceswmi.org. Flowers may be sent to the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home, 703 Capital Ave., SW, Battle Creek, MI.  www.henryfuneralhome.org

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