Debbie Williams’ celebration of life picnic

This afternoon we gathered under the shade of tall trees next to a creek at a home east of Grass Valley to celebrate the life of Debbie Williams. Debbie died last month after a courageous battle with leukemia, as I had written before.

We visited with Debbie’s husband, Tom, and saw some other local Cal alums, including Larry (a doctor) and Gordon (teacher), as well as her friends from her book club, the South Yuba Club (Jeannie Duerst is always delightful) and other walks of Debbie’s full life. We met Tom and Debbie through the local Cal alumni club, where I sat on a scholarship committee.

Tom was a “Rock of Gibraltar” for Debbie, who had spent 84 days in the hospital after a bone-marrow transplant. Now a Petaluma resident, he was deeply appreciative to see his local friends again as he starts a new life without her. Another gathering is planned in Sausalito next month.

It was a big turnout with cars parked cattywampus (to borrow one of mom’s favorite words) along the gurgling creek. The gathering perfectly suited Debbie’s personality: warm, embracing and upbeat. Mark and Mona were gracious hosts: It was a potluck picnic (we brought a key lime pie), and it included live music (Stamp Mill Stompers), a slide show and tribute, and lawn games.

We were all given artistically designed buttons to wear that read “Love & Gratitude ,” a touch that Debbie would have appreciated.

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 Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

3 thoughts on “Debbie Williams’ celebration of life picnic”

    1. Tom left this comment on Facebook: “Thank you Jeff Pelline for this wonderful summary. It was a wonderfully warm experience for everyone, full of sharing of love and support. It was fantastic for me on a personal level to connect with so many friends at one time. I am forever grateful to everyone.”

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