RIP, Debbie Williams

Tom and Debbie (Credit: Deb’s CaringBridge page)

In January, I wrote about Debbie Williams’ courageous battle with leukemia: “We’ve known Tom Larsen and Debbie Williams, longtime Grass Valley residents, for a decade. I met Tom when I joined the local chapter of the Cal Berkeley alumni club to help judge scholarships for high school students who were going to Cal. Later, I headed up the program.

“Tom and Debbie had a regular Christmas gathering at their home, where we celebrated with Sally Harris and other local Cal grads. Now Petaluma residents, Debbie is undergoing a bone marrow transplant to battle leukemia.”

This morning Tom wrote on her CaringBridge page: “Deb is at peace. . . . Just before sunrise this morning, she let go of her body.”

Deb had spent 84 days in the hospital this year as she battled her illness, Tom recalled. He had kept us up to date throughout this period.

We are heartbroken. As I wrote to Tom on Deb’s CaringBridge website this morning: “You have been a ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ to Debbie and, frankly, to all of us, as we’ve followed her difficult journey. Our family will hold each other tighter and express gratitude for the taken-for-granted things, as you suggest. Much love, Jeff, Shannon and Mitchell.”

Tom was a member of the Nevada County Concert Band. As the band’s conductor wrote: “I loved to see Deb’s smile, but also to see how she lit up your life. We are all better people for knowing her. Thank you for sharing Deb with us.”

Life is fragile and should never be taken for granted. Rest in peace, Debbie Williams.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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