Debra Ann Ball, age 40, went home to heaven on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005, after a courageous 2 and a half year battle with stomach cancer. Debbie was born in Utica, NY on November 22nd, 1964, the daughter of Heinz and Lillian Burkhard. Debbie had a very happy childhood, growing up surrounded by her mom and dad, her sisters Lila and Mary, her aunt Lillian (her beloved "Nana") and her uncle Richard. She was educated locally, graduating from Notre Dame High School and the Utica School of Commerce. While attending Notre Dame, Debbie met William F. Ball (then of Marcy, NY). The couple did not start dating until after their 10th high school reunion, but once they did, it soon became obvious that they were destined to be together. They were married on May 6th, 1995, at St. Peter's Church in North Utica. Debbie and Bill enjoyed 10 very happy years of married life in their "little white house" on Campbell Avenue in Yorkville. For just over 20 years, Debbie worked as a secretary/receptionist at H.J. Brandeles Corporation in downtown Utica, where she greatly enjoyed the camaraderie and friendship of her many co-workers.
Debbie was a lifelong lover of dogs, and over the years she had four different Pomeranians: Fluffy when she was a little girl; Ginger when she was a teenager and young woman; and Coco and Pepper, while she was married to her husband Bill. As an adult, Debbie enjoyed many different crafts, including sun catcher making and jewelry making. She loved flower and vegetable gardening, and each year, she and Bill would make the trip to the local nurseries for Begonias and other flowers to plant in their yard. She loved many of the cooking shows on the Food Network, and often enjoyed trying out new recipes she saw there. She also loved going to garage sales with Bill, her mom and her sisters. On TV, she loved romantic comedies (especially if dogs were part of the story!) and true crime and forensic shows. One of Debbie's greatest joys in life was going on vacation in Old Forge with Bill and his family, where she enjoyed shopping, swimming, dining out, and simply looking at the scenery.
During her illness, Debbie was sometimes able to participate in the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life", where she and other local cancer patients served as role models of hope and courage for all who've been touched by this terrible disease.
Debbie's life was short, but very fulfilled: She was lucky enough to have the love and support of a close-knit family; she had a job that she enjoyed for twenty years; she found the love of her life in her husband Bill, who still adores her even now that she's gone; she had a beautiful home, and, throughout the years, the love of 4 cute little dogs. Now Debbie has gone home to heaven, where the rest of her family will one day join her in eternal love and happiness.
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