Debra Jean (Whipple) Williamson, 69, of Brooksville, Florida, passed November 18, 2023, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon after an epic, two-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia that she almost won.
She was born February 23, in Madison, Ohio, to the late Roy and Winnie Whipple, who preceded her in death by just four months. Debbie is a graduate of Madison High School’s Class of 1972. She married David Williamson in 1977 and moved to Redington Shores, Florida. Aside from a few years in Tallahassee, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Georgia, she happily lived the majority of her life in the Tampa Bay Area.
Debbie worked various jobs while raising her children, including as a preschool teacher, elementary school P.E. teacher, healthcare facility receptionist, and special education teaching assistant. With her kids grown, she leaned into her creative side and worked as the floral manager for Winn Dixie for over two decades, where she was frequently ranked among the top floral departments across the company before retiring in 2020. Her creativity extended to extravagant designs for cakes and baked goods.
Debbie enjoyed life through a diversity of passions and lots of laughing. She was a connoisseur of chocolate, dragonfruit refreshers, and burrito bowls. She was an experienced traveler, having explored Indonesia, Malaysia, Germany, France, and the Bahamas, although she was perfectly content to spend a late morning on any of the Pinellas County beaches or sing Cat Stevens songs by the pool. She was masterful at Plants vs. Zombies but admittedly less so with her own garden. She spent a lot of time with her family, doing outings, sleepovers, holiday and birthday planning, sunsets, impromptu parties, and doting over her grandchildren. She even coached and played third base for a women’s softball team.
She is survived by her husband, Dave Williamson; son, Kris Williamson (Juan); daughter, Kelli Norman (Duane); granddaughters, Madison and Riley Norman; sister, Cheryl Fisher (Rod); brother, David Whipple (Lisa); and her boxer, Harley. She left her friends and family with wonderful memories of her kindness, creativity, commitment to family, and the fun and trouble she frequently got into.
Debbie did not want a funeral service or for her friends and family to mourn too much. Instead, she preferred they have a colorful drink, spontaneously do something exciting, and give her a nod. She would also encourage everyone to donate blood and join the bone marrow donor registry.