Debra Enoice Gardner

Our hearts are heavy, but our minds remain full of wonderful memories following the death of Debra Gardner. She passed away on April 27, after a brief, but an intense bout with brain cancer. She is remembered for her caregiving nature, community involvement, and love of family.

Debbie was born in San Jose, CA on September 15, 1959. She developed a calling for caregiving as the eldest of 12 children. She was a natural mother figure and did everything with love.

Debbie relocated with her family to Amarillo, TX when she was a young woman. It didn’t take long for the Lone Star State to become home. Debbie was very active in her church and devoted years of service to her community. On January 7, 1983, Debbie married her beloved Jeffrey. The couple went on to share 39 years together. 

Debbie and Jeff were blessed with four beautiful children. She instilled the importance of education in each of them and made learning a priority in the home. Debbie herself was an instructor at Amarillo College. She later worked as a substitute teacher for Amarillo Independent School District.

An avid learner herself, she would spend hours poring over genealogy. She loved the ever-evolving exploration of family history and studiously updated and shared her findings so that others could add their discoveries. 

After her children were grown, Debbie provided care, comfort, and compassion to animals in need. She worked tirelessly to find loving homes for abandoned dogs.

Debbie was an enthusiastic cook, and her kitchen was the hub of the home. She could single-handedly cook for a crowd and often catered for events, church gatherings, and family get-togethers. Much to the frustration of her children, she rarely cooked straight from a recipe. Rather, she preferred to improvise by throwing in a dash of this and a pinch of that, making any replication impossible.

Her favorite activity in the kitchen was baking holiday cookies with her grandchildren. Many lovely memories were made while rolling out dough, carefully pressing her vintage cookie cutters, and decorating baked goods for each holiday.

Above all, being a mother and grandmother was her world. Gigi, as she was adoringly called by her grandbabies, delighted in spoiling and doting on her grandkids. 

Debbie is survived by her husband, Jeff Gardner, and their four children – Justin and partner, Shara of Colleyville; Dalena and husband, Ben of Oxford; Dawnn of Dallas; and Joshua and wife, Rachel of El Paso. Gigi will be greatly missed by her grandchildren, Olivia, Oliver, Owen, Elliot, Samuel, Agatha, and Ruth, her grandbaby Ruth, that she will look after in Heaven until her June arrival. 

Funeral Services will be held at 10:00 a.m., on Tuesday, May 3, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2101 N. Coulter St., in Amarillo.  A private interment will follow.

The family will receive visitors on Monday, May 2, 2022, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., at Lighthouse Chapel, 3707 Wolflin Ave.

8 Comments

  1. Tina Ensey

    Debbie will be truly missed in the animal rescue world.
    She was always ready to help no matter whether it was transporting around town, fostering, baking for fundraisers, whatever was needed. Now she can be a guardian angel for the lost pets.

  2. Darla Salisbury

    Beautiful tribute to Debbie. She will be missed.
    Loved you Deb!

  3. Kay Whitmire

    I loved Debbie so much! The love she showed to our homeless animals was impressive. She will be missed by all who knew her. My deepest condolences to her husband, children, and grandchildren. She will be sorely missed.

  4. Wendy Staetz

    My sister you will never be forgotten. People and animals were touched by your love. I am thankful that God allowed me to meet you this side. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends.

  5. Janis Alexander Cross

    She was a great example of a Godly woman! I loved everything about her! I’m so sorry for her family’s loss!! God be with you!

  6. Dana Gee

    Debbie will be missed on the animal rescue part of her life. She had a huge heart for the animals and always gave her opinion to the ones that would mistreat God’s creations . I know she’s there at rainbow bridge to greet the ones that join her in heaven. Prayers for family.

  7. Richard Clason

    I was deeply saddened to learn of Debbie’s passing. I met Debbie in the late 1970’s shortly after her family arrived in Amarillo and was instantly struck by her charming, mature and heart warming personality. I will always remember and cherish our friendship and the open arms that she extended to me and my family when we ourselves grieved from the passing of a loved one. Debbie was a true life living angle that will be surely be missed.

  8. Cathy

    I cleaned Debbie’s teeth every six months for years I am going to miss our conversations this breaks my heart🥲

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