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Deborah was born on November 4, 1953, to the late Robert Echols, Sr. & Mrs. Dorothy Echols in Thomasville, GA.
Deborah attended Susie H. Dunlap Elementary School, Douglas Middle School, and Douglas High School. She
transferred to Thomasville High School as a member of the first integrated class and graduated in 1971. Deborah
loved music and her granny treated her to piano lessons briefly as she preferred to pick out certain tunes from
popular songs. She did learn how to play the clarinet and joined the Douglas High School Marching band and
After high school, Deborah attended Massey Business College and earned a degree in Automation Accounting in
Jacksonville, Florida. She moved to Atlanta, GA where she worked for several companies showing her customer
service skills and attention to detail.
Deborah joined New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist church at an early age and participated in the junior choir,
Sunday school, vacation bible school, and junior missions. She had a beautiful soprano voice and later Deborah
would join New Birth Missionary Baptist Church where she sang in choirs and was part of the album recordings. She
loved traveling with the choir to Baltimore, Maryland, and volunteering to feed the homeless.
Deborah also served as a DeKalb County voter poll worker for several years. Deborah's hobbies are handicrafts,
jewelry making, and cake baking. There were cakes heavily laden with rich Irish butter or some other ingredient that
ended up in the kitchen trash can because it wasn't to her satisfaction. She loved to laugh. She loved to tease her
family and friends with her wry wit. She loved old movies, westerns, history, and unsolved mysteries.
Deborah was always a lover of animals since early childhood. She owned a host of pets including cats and dogs.
Deborah spent her latter years supporting and encouraging family members and friends. Although fighting cancer
she helped plan family gatherings, made favorite foods, and took orders for the monthly birthday honorees.
Christmas and Thanksgiving were favorite holidays, and she would bake several cakes for family enjoyment. During
her last years, while going through her own illness and treatments, Deborah also helped care for her mother and
often accompanied mom and Pearlie on road trips to Thomasville for home visits until consideration for her health
and immune system became of concern.
Deborah was proceeded in death by her father, Robert Echols, Sr., her sister, Jacqueline E. Riley and uncle Elijah
Richardson. Those that are left to mourn her passing are her mother, Dorothy Echols. Her beloved dog, her beloved
Bella. Her remaining siblings Robert Echols, Jr., Pearlie Echols Riley, William Echols (Sylvia), Cheryl Echols, and
sister-in-Christ, Portia McQueen. Brother-in-law, Wille Riley Jackie) and Elijah Riley (Deborah). She is also survived
by loving nieces and nephews: Farrah D. Riley, Shanta Jenkins Knight, Brandon Riley (Jennifer), Brian Riley, Darius
Jenkins, Dayveon Knight, Malaysia Knight, Darryl Hughes (Sherrie), Jada Hughes and Jasmin Hughes. Cousins:
Betty Hamilton, Gwen Hill &Valgene Hill, Jessie Richardson and Cassandra "Joyce" Richardson Baugh. The
Coleman family/cousins and extended family, countless friends, and associates.