Deborah Carroll Burgess Dunten was born February 3, 1943 to Lucille and Starr Burgess in Melrose, Massachusetts. She passed away in Houston, Texas on Sunday, November 4, 2012, after a year-long battle with cancer. Deborah was preceded in death by her parents, and is survived by her sister Gail Burgess Wix, her daughter Amber Renee Dunten, her son John Howard Dunten, and her two grandchildren, Bethany Kate Dunten and Gregory Howard Dunten.
Deborah was known to her friends and family as a calm, cheerful person who laughed freely and often, gave much and asked little in return, defused conflict wherever it occurred, quietly imposed order on chaos, and gently motivated others to do their best.
Deborah and her sister Gail were the daughters of a Coast Guard family, and by the time Deb was 18, she had lived on all three coasts of the United States, having spent her early childhood in Massachusetts, moved to Seattle at age 12, and moved again to La Marque, Texas at age 15. She would remain a "transplanted Texan" for the rest of her days, although she never forgot her New England roots.
Like all the Burgess women, Deb was quietly stubborn and independent to a fault. Like every challenge in her life, she faced cancer with the traditional Burgess resolve. Even after becoming ill, she hated for anyone to make a fuss over her or be inconvenienced by her needs.
Deborah graduated from La Marque High School in 1961 and went on to earn a Bachelor's of Home Economics from the University of Houston in 1966, and a Bachelor's of General business from University of Houston in 1987.
Deborah was always artistic, and at various times in her life was avidly interested in painting, pottery, crochet, photography, and quilting. She leaves her family and friends a rich legacy of creative work. Deborah took up quilting late in life, but it became her most passionate hobby during the last 15 years of her life. Her friends and family continued to be awed by her creativity and grateful for her generosity in bestowing her beautiful works of art on those around her.
In addition to raising two children as a divorced mother, Deborah spent a long career working in technology support, which included working for NASA, many years working for Pennzoil, and several years working for Enron before retiring in 2002.
Deborah moved from Dickinson, Texas to the Heights in 1991 and lived there until her passing in 2012. She was active in the local community, and often donated cookies and handmade quilts, as well as her time and energy, to local civic organizations and charitable causes.
Although Deborah lived alone, she never lacked for company, and her little bungalow in the Heights was the site of many happy memories. They included College Night, when her daughter Amber's college roommates and friends would visit for monthly home-cooked dinners, book club meetings, quilting bee meetings, and the annual convergence of friends from near and far for her favorite event of the year, the International Quilt Festival.
A memorial service for Deborah will be held at Heights Funeral Home Chapel, 1317 Heights Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77008, on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm. Friends and family are welcome to arrive at 2:00 pm.
Those making travel arrangements may take advantage of the Bereavement Travel Service by calling 1-800-224-4177 and providing the reference number 2091. This service assists with locating the most cost-effective travel arrangements, including airline, car rental and hotel.
Cards may be sent to Heights Funeral Home or to 1123 Highland Street, Houston, Texas 77009.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to American Cancer Society, DePelchin Children's Center, or Houston Food Bank.
"A quilter is the best friend because she gives you a piece of her heart forever."