On the morning of Friday February 8th, in her home in Honaunau Hawaii Deb Olson (DeBell) passed on after a very brief bout with an aggressive brain tumor. Deb was surrounded by her loving family, Bjorn, Lars, and Clay her sons, as well as Mike her husband, Noah (grandson), Gail Burnard, and Kim McNett.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Honaunau City of Refuge on the Big Island of Hawaii, Sunday February 17th at 3:00pm. Her ashes will be mixed with soil from her farm, Tribal Grounds, and used to plant a young Ulu (breadfruit) tree at the top of the farm, as she wanted.
Deb was born Deborah DeBell in Denver, Colorado on May 15th, 1950 to Eugene and May DeBell. She is survived by her three sisters, Jan, Gina and Mandy DeBell, as well as cousins.
Mike and Deb met in Alamosa Colorado around 1970. Her and Mike then reconnected in 1974 in Slana, Alaska where they bought 5 acres from a homesteader. They worked various jobs. Deb gave birth to three great young baby boys: Bjorn, Clay, and Lars. She helped maintained the family land; chopping wood, tending the garden, toting water, and taking care of the boys the whole while. She called herself a “wood choppin’ mama”.
After Slana the family moved to Valdez where she received her Associate’s Degree from Prince William Sound Community College. They live there for about 4 years, in a remote cabin which the only access in was by foot or boat.The family moved to Alamosa, CO around 1990. Deb pursued and completed her four year degree at Adams State College. In 1992 her and Mike were remarried and came to Seward where the purchased the old Lutheran church, and converted it into Resurrect Art Coffee House.
Deb was a former Seward resident who was well loved through the community and whose work with special-needs students helped improve the lives of many in our town. She first worked for the infant learning program at SeaView, and was later hired at the Seward Middle/High School as a SpEd Teacher. She was also involved in many aspects of Seward life, and it is hard not to find someone whom she touched in a positive way, from Port City Players, to sitting on the board of KPFN public radio, and Kenai Crewsers rowing club.
Mike and Deb sold Resurrect Art to Mike and Raylene O’Connor and moved to Hawaii, where they bought a 5 acre Kona Coffee farm, where she continued to be an active and loved member of the community she was in.
Deb will be so greatly missed. Her caring, compassion, and generosity inspired so many people in our little town and beyond. A fund has been established for Mike and Deb at Wells Fargo for those who wish to donate to help out with expenses.