Debi was born in Seattle on December 2, 1958. She first lived in Kenmore and then spent the rest of her childhood on Bainbridge Island. She was a sparkling cheerful little girl, a little shy in front of others, yet a chatterbox at home. Her determination showed at an early age and she was also sensitive, caring and loving. Debi had a tender loving way with her three younger brothers and was quite a "little mother" to them in their early years. Debi excelled in school and had an obvious artistic talent. She was always motivated to do well and was active in Brownies, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. She was also a counselor at Buck...
Debi was born in Seattle on December 2, 1958. She first lived in Kenmore and then spent the rest of her childhood on Bainbridge Island. She was a sparkling cheerful little girl, a little shy in front of others, yet a chatterbox at home. Her determination showed at an early age and she was also sensitive, caring and loving. Debi had a tender loving way with her three younger brothers and was quite a "little mother" to them in their early years. Debi excelled in school and had an obvious artistic talent. She was always motivated to do well and was active in Brownies, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. She was also a counselor at Buck Creek Church Camp, and her faith in the Lord began at an early age. Debi was also very active at Bainbridge High school, where she was involved in school plays, was a wrestling cheerleader, football statistician and a layout editor and artist for the annual. She graduated in 1977 and began attending Whitman College.
Debi and Larry's life together was truly an adventure, with a storyline that could only have been scripted by God. Their journey together began in 1978 in Alaska, at Bell Island Fishing Resort, which was 45 miles from Ketchikan. Debi's father, Don, purchased the resort and brought his children up to help out. Larry worked for the previous owner and was hired by Don to be the dock manager and fishing guide. Debi then came up in early June and worked as the bartender, waitress and office manager. It didn't take long for them to become attracted to each other. Their love blossomed and they spent hours together fishing, crabbing and exploring their beautiful surroundings.
Debi eventually left for school at U.C. Santa Barbara and Larry came down at the end of the season. They were engaged in February. They then went back to Bell Island and worked the next season, but took a break and had a wonderful trip riding the Alaska State Ferries up the inside passage to Skagway. They returned to Seattle at the end of the season and were married in October on Bainbridge Island, visiting Hawaii for their honeymoon.
Next, they moved to Pacifica, California and lived in an apartment overlooking the ocean while Debi attended San Francisco Art Academy. They enjoyed exploring California and particularly enjoyed Yosemite and the Lake Tahoe area. When Debi graduated in 1983, she started Adair Graphics and did freelance graphic design and work for Genentech and Dallas Area Rapid Transit among others. Despite the wonders of California, they wanted to be closer to family so they moved back to the Northwest.
Upon returning, they purchased a condo overlooking Lake Sammamish and enjoyed skiing, hiking and camping in the Cascades. Their backpack trip to the Enchantment Lakes, near Leavenworth, was particularly memorable. They still were able to spend quality time with their families and Debi continued to do design work.
Their greatest adventure began in 1986 when their first son, Kristian was born. As usual Debi put everything she had into her new endeavor. She paid close attention to every tiny detail and provided Kristian with a wonderful start to his life. It didn't take long to introduce him to their sense of adventure with a trip to Expo 86 in Vancouver. Camping trips and hikes soon followed. Their second son, Andrew, was born in 1989. Debi found even more energy and love. Life was as full as it could get. They bought a house in Kirkland soon after Andy was born and lived there for nine years. It was a great neighborhood and she watched with joy as her two sons grew. She actively participated in their school activities and loved watching them play sports. They had special family vacations in Alaska, Florida, Yellowstone, Mexico and Hawaii. After Larry transferred to Burlington for work, they bought property on Camano Island. They spent hours working on the design of their house and Debi's creativity showed when the house was completed. She loved the solitude and beauty of their new home. Debi started watercolor painting with her time and became actively involved in the art community in the area. She enjoyed participating in art shows and had pieces shown in many venues, including Art By The Bay, Edmonds Art Festival and VSA at Seattle Center.
Debi was diagnosed with Ataxia in 1989, which is a progressive disease that leads to nerve degeneration. She was able to maintain an active lifestyle, but eventually began to lose mobility. Shortly after they moved to Camano Island she became confined to a wheelchair. Despite this, she was determined to live her life to its fullest. Debi and Larry missed their hikes in the mountains and in turn began to discover accessible trails that allowed them to experience that beauty again. Their sense of adventure and Larry's energy continually took them to many special places. Debi's desire to travel grew even more when the boys went off to study at WSU and many excursions ensued. She traveled to Europe with her mom and visited Scandinavia, Germany, London and Austria. She also went on an art workshop with Margaret, involving cruising through the rivers of France. Debi and Larry also traveled to Switzerland, Australia, and Italy and went on cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, New Zealand, Alaska and New England-neither of them missing a beat.
Debi's faith continued to develop and she enjoyed participating in Bible studies and retreats. Her faith helped her deal with her deteriorating health in a positive manner and she was an inspiration to many. She still had her spirit and her smile when she went to be with the Lord on April 8. Her spirit is free now, and it seemed like it wasn't long before her creativity began to appear on a larger stage. Stunning sunsets, rainbows and beautiful blooming flowers appeared soon after her passing. It helped to provide comfort and eased our understanding that she was at last at home in Heaven with the Lord.
She was met in Heaven by her father, Donald Peterson and her grandparents, Ralph and Carol Anderson. She is survived by husband Larry, sons Kristian and Andy, her mother Patricia Clementz, stepfather Mike Clementz, her brothers Steven, Mark and Eric Peterson and stepmother Margaret Peterson. She was especially thankful for the wonderful caregivers who developed a special bond with her as they helped her maintain her quality of life. Contributions in her memory can be made to the National Ataxia Foundation, 2600 Fernbrook Lane, Suite 119, Minneapolis, MN, 554474752.