She entered a room with that brilliant Debi Del Papa smile. It’s probably the first thing you all remember about her. It could brighten your day. And it was genuine.
Debi was born on Christmas morning, 1950, and she lived her life in Old River, California. She passed away in San Luis Obispo on May 13, 2021 after a tragic accident while visiting her favorite place, Pismo Beach.
Debi was a true farmer’s daughter, and she loved her country life. She attended Lakeside Elementary and West High Schools, Bakersfield College and Cal Poly, after which she began her 32-year career as a teacher. She spent most of her years helping young children learn, primarily at Buena Vista Elementary, where she began teaching kindergarten through third grade at what was then a little country school. As Bakersfield grew, the little school grew, and she ended her career with her favorite children, those in kindergarten. She was a wonderful teacher, who lovingly but firmly got those children off to a good start in life.
When her son, Bernard, was born, Debi seamlessly moved into her primary role of mother. She was an amazing mother, putting Bernard above all else in her life. Debi was so proud of him, and to this day, she truly would light up when he was near. But all of that changed slightly three years ago, when her sweet and sassy granddaughter, Betty Violet, was born. She was the newest and brightest light of her life, and everything Debi did was with Betty at the front of her mind. Even Bernard took a back seat to Betty! And she was so anxiously awaiting the arrival of her second grandchild, Will Bernard, who was born on June 1st. Then of course, Debi’s relationship with her sister, Pati, and her mother was beyond the norm. The three were always and everywhere together.
Creativity was abundant in Debi’s life. She was exceptionally talented and meticulously paid attention to every single detail while creating beauty all around her. That talent could be seen everywhere, from the decorating in her house to her beautiful and lush country yard.
Debi’s faith was especially important to her. And she will be remembered for her kindness, loyalty, and loving care. As many of you reading this are aware, she remembered all occasions or gifts with a personalized, hand-written note. And during the past year, while dealing with her cancer diagnosis and treatment, Debi maintained that trademark smile, always upbeat, never letting others know of her difficulties, but instead asking about their lives, and always remaining positive. She was truly special.
Debi will be lovingly remembered by her father and mother Frank and Evelyn, her sister Pati, her son Bernard and his wife Diana, her granddaughter Betty, and her new grandson Will. She was preceded in death by her little brother Frankie, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The family is forever grateful to Debi’s dear friends for their kindness, their thoughtfulness, and their prayers, too many to mention here.
Pallbearers will be Petey Agalos, Sam Mason, Jared Mitchell, Grant Robertson, Anthony Rossi, and Marcus Rossi.
Honorary pallbearers will be Michael Agalos, Joe Butkiewicz, David Del Papa, Mark Del Papa, Stan Del Papa, Steve Del Papa, Larry Fanucchi, Steve Narducci, Mike Rossi, and Michael Rouw.
A Rosary service will be celebrated in memory of Debi on June 25th at 9:30 AM at St Francis Catholic Church, 900 H Street, in Bakersfield, immediately followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your favorite charity.