With sparkling green eyes, a smile that could light up any room, a heart with enough space for everyone, and a soul that radiated love and strength, Deanna was a woman who could do anything, especially once she set her sights on something. Deanna was a loyal sister and wife, a loving mother and grandmother, but possibly most important of all – a devoted follower of Christ. Throughout her life she maintained an unwavering commitment to lead a life worthy of the Lord and to set the best example for those she encountered. As a very hands-on individual, Deanna’s parenting, and later her time spent as a grandmother, reflected this in the amount of time and energy she would put in to making sure her loved ones knew just how important they all were to her. Not only did she love her family, but she had so much love to give that her and her husband Odean eventually took in four exchange students over the course of several years – Luci (Spain), Jackie (Hong Kong), Yorge (Germany), and Maria (Sweden). These exchange students quickly became a part of the family and most all of them maintained a relationship with Deanna right up until the end of her life.
Unfortunately, Deanna was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, the same illness that had once claimed her mother Ruby. However, there was no way Deanna was going to let her disease take from her the things she loved most. Always full of energy and curiosity, Deanna was an avid adventurer who set out with her daughter Julie to accomplish her “Top 10.” Some of these trips included rafting the Grand Canyon, traveling to Spain to see Luci get married, visiting Jackie and her biological family in Hong Kong three separate times – once to walk Jackie down the aisle on her wedding day. The final adventure that Deanna was able to accomplish happened just 3 short weeks before we all said goodbye. Julie and her mother had the opportunity to travel all the way up to Victoria Island, Canada to tour the beautiful Butchart Gardens alongside one of Deanna’s sisters and niece. We can thank the Virgin Family creed, “It’s now or never,” and Deanna’s sheer willpower for making this last trip possible.
If Deanna were here today, she’d want everyone to know that anything is possible with enough drive and commitment, and as long as you choose to love God with all your heart and soul, you will be rewarded in the end, just as we know she has been. When Deanna passed, she was surrounded by her loved ones, and we all knew it wasn’t a goodbye, but simply a “see you later.”
Farewell for now Deanna, we know you’ll be waiting for us on the other side with open arms and that mischievous smile of yours we all miss so much.