Deborah Elaine Gary

GaryDeborah photo


I was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania about 40 miles from Pittsburgh. The last of 8 children born to Joseph and Marie Hood Gary. I spent the first 10 years of my life in Brownsville, on Jackson Street near the creek or the “crick” as we called it. At the age of 10, my mother moved me and my sister, Phyllis, who is 5 years older than me, to Warren, Ohio, where she and “Mr. Fred”, the man who raised me, were married, and this union united the Pughs and Garys. Growing up in the house with my new brothers, Harry and Doc, was fun for us all. I am a 1968 graduate of Warren Western Reserve High School, the first graduating class of WWR. While in high school ,I worked at Johnson Cleaners, and I was a babysitter. After graduation, I began a journey at Packard Electric, a division of General Motors. It was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I did what I had to do to provide for my kids and myself. While employed there and retiring after 30 years of labor, I did find fulfillment in writing for the International Union Local 717 Newsletter. Writing was my passion and purpose. I majored in Journalism at Kent State, was a writer for the Buckeye Review and became the first and only African-American Female Columnist with the Warren Tribune. I enjoyed interviewing and writing stories on celebrities and political figures, such as Ron Brown, Roger Troutman, Jesse Jackson, Red Foxx and Sugar Ray Leonard, just to name a few. In my spare time, I loved playing the flute, listening to music, dancing, and gathering with family at 2131 Oak Street. As a single mother, I saw the importance of showing my children that though life could be challenging, following your dreams and working hard could bring you so much joy and true happiness. I also taught my kids that they should be closer to each other than anyone else. I would tell them they shared more of the same DNA than they did with me. After homework was done, we would end our days playing Trouble and I Declare War. I could not have raised my kids had it not been for the presence of God in my heart and being the head of my life. I was raised in the historic Second Baptist Church in Warren under Pastor Leon Troy. I later served the Lord at St. John COGIC, under Elder Jesse Howard. Before leaving Warren, I became a member of Monumental Faith COGIC, under Bishop David Herron; most recently, I continued learning and growing in Christ at First Church of God Columbus, under Bishop Timothy J Clarke. I thank God for placing me at these places of worship; I increased my faith and gained tools needed to face racism, harassment, and discrimination and to become a breast cancer survivor. In the 1990’s, I began my journey in Politics. I was elected as a Democratic Precinct Person, representing Trumbull County’s 6th Ward and was appointed to the Trumbull County Democratic Executive Board, holding that position for over ten years. My Partner in Crime, Helen Rucker, and I became well known in Warren, having conversations and being recognized with the Mayor and Congressmen; we were instrumental in establishing the voting boundary lines for the 6th Ward. This started my relationship with statewide politicians, becoming a member of Black Elected Democrats of Ohio. Some of the memories I always held dear to my heart; my kids and I visiting my sister Phyllis and her family in, Detroit, and Dolores and Aunt Melvin in McKees Rocks, David inviting me to party with him in Mansfield, my brother Melvin calling and telling me he saw one of my articles published in a national magazine, Doc letting me drive his brand new car, playing golf with Harry, seeing all my grands graduate from High School, and watching my kids reach their goals. Grateful that God allowed me to receive a scholarship to the Civil Rights Heritage Tour, I was the millionth person at the Million Man March, and I was so proud to attend the inauguration of the first African American President, President Barack Obama.



In 2000, I decided to leave Warren and move to Columbus, Ohio. Moving to Columbus allowed me to be closer to my first two grandchildren, Courtney and DJ, who lived with Deana in Cincinnati, and in time for my second set of grands, David and Kennedy, being born. After relocating to Columbus, I worked for Columbus, Pickerington and Reynoldsburg City Schools. I was also proud to return to college and earn a degree at Columbus State University. As the founder of “Writing it Right”, I published two books: A Manual for Teenage Mothers and Info Ivan & African American Inventors. In the first writing, I wanted to let young ladies know, as I tried to show my own children, that God blessed them with children, and he equipped them with the heart and tools to raise bright, productive role models. In the second book, I wanted to show young black people what our people have contributed to this world and to let them know that they could be anything and go anywhere they wanted to in life. As you speak of me in the days, weeks, months and years to come, remember I loved collecting African-American art, telling the African-American story, fighting the African-American fight and talking about my children and grandchildren. Remember to make friends, to talk to strangers, to get to know people. Remember me as the lady with the locks, who loved life and people. Thanks to my best friends, Carol Parks McKinney and Helen Rucker, for always being there for me; my special sisters, Mary Elizabeth Davis, Barbara James and Michelle (June) Spann; and all my friends, including my seamstress and locticians. As the Golden Girls said, “Thank you for being a friend!” Marlan J. (D’Andrea) Gary, I challenge you to continue to keep being a giver and God will make sure you receive, grow your business but don’t forget to take time out to smell the roses. Deana Marie (Curtis Battle) Taylor JD, you have made me so proud, always trying to better yourself; keep learning, teaching and traveling. Dr. Courtney Elaine Taylor, earning your Ed.D, I am so proud of you of you that I cannot scream “THANK YOU LORD!” loud enough. Donald Joseph Taylor, I am so glad that you are learning what manhood and responsibility are all about. David Cordell Gary, my Kappa Man, never forget our conversations and remember to think for yourself because you are a leader. My baby, Kennedy Marie Gary, you went farther from home out of high school than any of my grands; be wise, get yours and don’t let them boys and people get in your head. I pray God allows me to look over the balcony of heaven and see you all becoming successful, finding true love and enjoying life. To my sisters, Phyllis Boss and Melvon Poole; brother, Harry (Sandra) Pugh; sisters-in-law, Darlene Pugh, Geraldine Gary, Patricia Ann Pugh, and Dr. Juneau Gary; aunt, Eunice; all my nieces, my namesake,Dolores “Sandy”, Deborah “Missy”, Melony, Karen, Dawn, Anita, Vanessa, Lydia, Pam, Charlene, Celest, Tiffany, Talya, and Tyesha; nephews Greg, Jimmy, Buddy, JT, Ernest “June Bug”,Marcus, Kevin, Mike; and cousins, Freddy, Rudy, Cynthia, Renee, Mark, Gary, Henry, Maxine and Barbara Ann: Miss me and cry just for a minute but remember on January 26, 2022, I gained my wings and I’m in Heaven. I see God and our savior Jesus; I am also having a reunion with Momma and Mr. Fred and Daddy and Mrs. Laura. Guess who was waiting for me at The Pearly Gates, my sisters, Gladys Fant, Teti Santiago, Teresa Gary and Dolores Gary; my brothers, James Gary, Ernest Gary, Robert Pugh Sr., Fred Pugh Jr., Charles Pugh Sr., David Gary, Dr. Melvin Gary and James “Doc” Pugh Sr; nephew, John Boss Jr.; cousins, Toni Binford, Ira Tellis Binford, and Keith Hood, Aunt Melvin, Uncle Jonas, Aunt Julia and Uncle Henry, Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Brother, and Aunt Larcina; they were all so happy to see me and I happy to see them.


A visitation, celebrating the LIFE of Deborah Gary, will be held Sunday, February 6, 2022 from 4-9PM at MARLAN GARY FUNERAL HOME, THE CHAPEL OF PEACE EAST 5456 E. Livingston Ave. Columbus, Ohio 43232. An additional visitation will start at 10:00AM, followed by Home Going Service at 11:00AM on Monday, February 7, 2022 at Triedstone Baptist Church – 858 E. 3rd Avenue in Columbus. Interment will be at Glen Rest Memorial Estates.


Going Home Service


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Condolence Messages

  1. Christine Harris

    I am so sorry for your Loss.

  2. Frances Neal Pegram

    To The Entire Gary Family You Have My Deepest Sympathy. God Bless You All!

  3. To Marlon Gary & the Family,

    After losing my mother two years ago, I know first hand the peace (knowing that she’s with her Savior in eternity) and the pain (that she’s no longer here on this side of eternality) that you’re feeling. But GOD … it’s not just a nice saying. I’m lifting you and the family up to GOD, and placing you in HIS hands, because HE is able to comfort and care for you better than I express or attempt to say in this note. While you’re grieving, remember that Joy will come!

    Thank you Ms. Gary for always treating me as one of your own when Marlon and I hung out together through high school. Rest in Peace.

    With my Deepest Sympathy and Condolence,

    Kevin Pearson & Family

  4. To the Family of Deborah Elaine Gary..
    My Deepest Sympathy and Sorrow…

  5. Our prayers and condolences to the family of Deborah Gary. God bless and keep you.

    Mixon Family

  6. I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Deborah Gary’s family and friends. I moved across the street from Deb almost a year and half ago. She was one of my first neighbors to welcome my grandson and I into the community. I’m reminded of seeing her come and go in her black PT cruiser and us waving to one another. We’d sometimes chat outside when the weather permitted. I am truly missing her presence every time I look over at her home.
    May we all be blessed with the strength to endure the loss of such an Amazing Lady!

    Darlene Price

  7. To Mr. Marlon Gary and family, I send my deepest condolences in the passing of Ms. Gary. May god bless and keep your mind stayed on him!

  8. Bishop E. G. & Dr LadyAnn Francis

    Our Brother Marlan,
    May God’s Balm of Love 
    Engulf your Heart
    with His Embrace 
    of Comfort & Peace! 

    May the Multiplicity of things
    you do unselfishly for others,
    be multiplied Exponentially
    back to you in this Season!
    We Love & Appreciate You!
    Drs E.G. & LadyAnn Francis
    Richmond, VA

  9. To the Entire Family and Friends of one so loved. Many things about tomorrow, we don’t seem to understand’ but we know who holds tomorrow and know holds our hand, to comfort and wrap loving arms around each and everyone and to mend the broken hearted

  10. Atla B. Carroll and Family.

    To Marlon and the Gary Family. Remember she is at peace and in the arms of the Lord. May God bless and keep each of you as you keep her memory alive in your heart. Sincerely,

  11. My thoughts and prayers to u and your family. God bless .

  12. Deborah will be surely missed Debbie and I were child hood friends until she left with her family to go to Warren Ohio we would see each other at some of the family reunions. The last time I seen Debbie was at Tellis Binford’s funeral you never know when God is going to call us home. Bless you Debbie and everyone that was blessed to know you. My condolences to her family and friends. Praying for family and friends.

  13. Phyllis J Earley

    To the family of Deborah Gary: I have known Deborah for many years. We live in the same neighborhood. Deborah & I both enjoyed live jazz music & dancing. I will miss her intelligent & humorous conversations. Her legacy will live on through her beloved children & grandchildren. Rest in God my friend!!
    Phyllis Earley

  14. Ellis Funeral Home

    Our sincere condolences to the entire Gary Family as you walk through a very difficult time. However, we are reminded in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “We grieve, but no as those who have no hope.” We are praying for your strength as you remember and celebrate the life of an amazing woman. ~Ellis Funeral Home-Fort Wayne, Indiana


    My heart goes out to all of her friends and family! Debra was such an inspiration to so many! Her beautiful smile, genuine laughter, and truthfulness will be missed. I know we all will miss her!

  16. Helen Combs-Dulaney

    Marlan & Family:
    “Words, no matter how kind, can”t mend your heartache.
    However, those who care for you wish you comfort and
    peace of mind.
    Helen Combs-Dulaney & Family

  17. I’m so very sorry for your loss, praying for the family.

  18. Veronica Thornton

    To Marlan Gary and family
    My Condolences to you all Praying for you all Love you Marlan

  19. Sabrina and James jamison

    To Marlon sorry to hear about the loss of Your Mother, May she rest peacefully in Heaven,and God continue Bless and Comfort her family and friends during these difficult times

  20. Fabienne Goins-Butler

    My deepest condolences to you and your family during this very difficult time.

  21. Tonya Brown-Christian

    Marlan, you and the family have our sincerest and deepest condolences. May God comfort and strengthen you during this time of grief. You all are in our prayers. Love the Christian, Brown, and Powell family.

  22. To Marlan and the Gary Family,
    My condolences on the loss of your Mom. I pray that you would find strength and peace during this difficult time.
    Please know that the love and support you have extended to each and every family who has been down this path, is being extended back to you.
    Love Always, Sharon Drakes and Family

  23. Cheryll "Sherry" Martin

    From my family to yours we extend our deepest condolences.
    RWG in Sweet Peace my Friend

  24. Cheri Y. Jacobs

    Gary family you have my deepest sympathy and prayers. I don’t think I have ever met Deborah in person but our friendship on Facebook allowed us to share many likes, thoughts, stories, laughs, loves and prayers. Hearing of her leaving for her next journey suddenly saddened me. I can say she was one of my “SOUL SISTA’s” She was virtuous, talented and gifted. I know each of you are proud of her accomplishments. May God Bless each of you with fond memories, tears of joy, and the Peace of God.
    To Deborah Elaine: we will meet in person one day. Rest With God my Sista

  25. The Parks Sisters of Warren

    Marlin, DeeDee and the Pugh families;
    We were so sorry to hear of the passing of Debbie. Although we’re a few miles away, we still feel the closeness and connection, and we deeply mourn your loss.

  26. Arneta Montgomery/Edward Carter Jr.

    Marlan and DeDe,

    We are so very touched by the sudden transition of your mom. You know our connection you understand we cannot be there. But our hearts are heavy.
    We love you and will be praying for your comfort and peace in days to come.
    Love you fam,
    Neta and Booch

  27. Marlan Gary and family,
    I am praying for you and I know that God will comfort you during this time. We send our deepest sympathy and condolences.
    Lynn Johnson – Louisville, KY

  28. Jonas R. and Danielle Hood

    To Deana and Marlan,
    We are celebrating the life of your dear mother and mourning her passing with you. Our thoughts and prayers are with both of you and your families.
    With love and sympathy,
    Jonas R. and Danielle Hood

  29. Shawanda Denise

    Sending my love and prayers to Marlan, Deana and the entire Gary-Pugh Family. God is with us. Amen.

  30. My deepest condolences to Marlan and the Gary Family.
    Praying for you and your family.

    Pam Johnson

  31. To Marlon Gary and Family
    You have my deepest sympathy but I know God got you in the palm of His hand♥️

  32. To Marlan
    And the entire Gary family on the passing of your mom look up and see God your help is on the way

    Sherry Taylor

  33. Roosevelt Wade fannie

    To Marlan and entire family
    Sorry for the loss of your mother
    We will be praying for you all

  34. Dr. Leon Leavell

    Condolences to you and the family. May God’s love surround you strengthen you during this time.
    Be blessed and know that your mother will continue to look down on you and the family!

  35. Jimmie J. Blevins

    To Marlan and your entire family.
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    Our prayers are with you and your family.
    If you ever need anything please reach out to us.

    Staff of Union Cemetery Association

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