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Obituary of Deborah Pierce
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Deborah Karen Willkens Pierce This obituary celebrates the life, loves, and passions of Deborah Karen Willkens Pierce. Born in Wellsboro in 1952 to Dan and Marie Willkens, Deborah was raised in Greenville, Ohio as one of five sisters including Catherine, Diane, Suzanne, and Barbara, before moving to New York in 1970. Her fifth sibling, Dan, joined the family in plenty of time for Deborah's graduation from Elmira College in 1975 where she specialized in fine arts, philosophy, comparative religions, communications, conflict resolution, and public speaking. Deborah was a passionate and successful professional. She was co-owner of and creative partner in O'Shaughnessy's Antiques in Watkins Glenn, where her partner, Louise Shreibman, continues to carry forward their shared vision. Earlier in her career, Deborah was an Associate with Development Finance International, Inc. in Bethesda, Maryland. She spent much of her career as a restaurateur with her husband, Joe Pierce, and family at Pierce's in Elmira Heights. Deborah contributed her vibrancy and civic sense to the life of the community as President of the Elmira City School District Board of Education, case volunteer with the Elmira Court system, avid supporter of Planned Parenthood and the New York State Sheriff's Association Camp Iroquois, and mayoral hopeful. Among many accolades and awards, Deborah was nominated for "Women Who Make A Difference" by the New York State division in 2001. Deborah was a force to be reckoned with at the family reunion poker game, devoured classic films, adored antiques and fine dining, created magic with flower arrangements, set a dining table fit for a queen, read voraciously, and knit extraordinary garments one-handed while turning the page on yet another historical biography. Deborah passed away Monday morning after a courageous battle with cancer. In typical fashion, Deborah brought her calm, patient ways to the fight, capturing the loving respect of caregivers and fellow patients along the way. Deborah was kind, generous, and selfless. She will be missed in innumerable ways by everyone she touched, most especially by her loving children, Lee Marie and Zeke. Friends are invited to call at the Westside United Methodist Church, 744 W. First Street, Elmira, on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A Memorial Service will follow at 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be made to the New York State Sheriff's Association Camp Iroquois. Please designate checks specifically to "Camp Iroquois" in the memo line and mail c/o Zeke Pierce, 818 W Water St, Elmira NY, 14905.
A Memorial Tree was planted for Deborah
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at McInerny Funeral Home
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