Gardening 03

Deborah Lynette Key

June 9, 1954 ~ March 31, 2021 (age 66)


Deborah Lynette Key, affectionately known as Debbie, age 66, departed peacefully from this life on March 31, 2021, after courageously battling cancer. 

Debbie was born in Van Buren, Arkansas, June 9, 1954, to Marcy Lee (Mays) Steward and Nathaniel Steward who both preceded her in death. After graduating from Northside High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Debbie attended Westark Community College (now University of Arkansas–Fort Smith) and later College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where she graduated with an associate of arts degree with an emphasis in political science. Following College of DuPage, Debbie attended University of Illinois at Chicago where she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in urban planning and policy.

Debbie professed Christ at an early age and was baptized at King Solomon Baptist Church. After moving to Seattle to work for FEMA in 1996, she became a children’s Sunday school teacher under Pastor Paul A. Stoot at Greater Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Everett, Washington. She eventually relocated her membership to Maryland in 2006 and became an adult Sunday school teacher at Open Door Baptist church in Washington, DC, under the tutelage of Pastor Bernard Taylor until her departure from life. Debbie was a dedicated member who knew the Lord and was passionate for Christ. 

Debbie’s favorite past times were gardening, being outdoors, shopping, and spending quality time with her family. Debbie was an outgoing social butterfly who touched the lives of so many she encountered. Her bubbly spirit, confident attitude, outspokenness, and sense of humor were contagious. Debbie was “that person” you ultimately wanted on your team to help achieve success.

Debbie is survived by her children, Amy West of Fort Washington, Maryland, and Cory West and wife Caitlin West of Everett, Washington; grandchildren Aniya Scott, Jaudon Miller, Acari Scott, Cayn West, Lennox West, and Melo West; sisters Brenda McCraw of Arkansas; Beverly Williams of Kansas; Gloria Moore of Arkansas; Regina Gibson of Arkansas; Marylin Moore-Roby of Oklahoma; Ruby-Machelle Steward-Brown of Arkansas; and Theresa Knox of Virginia; and brother Nathaniel Steward of Oklahoma. Brother Roy Steward preceded Debbie in death. She will forever be remembered by her many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.   

Debbie requested cremation, with the knowledge that her soul would go to Heaven. Per her request, Amy and Cory will spread her ashes in the Pacific Ocean where she found the “most peace” while living in the Seattle area from 1996–2006.

Debbie’s children would like to give a special thank-you to Heartland Hospice Care for their incredible work and extra loving care of their mother and to the Hedgman Funeral Service team for exceptional arrangements. In lieu of flowers or donations, please share a special memory for Amy and Cory to enjoy. 

Bible Verse:

Nehemiah 8:10 NIV "Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV  “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”.



God saw you getting tired when a cure was not to be.

So He wrapped his arms around you

And whispered, “Come to me”.

You didn’t deserve what you went through,

so He gave you rest.

God’s garden must be beautiful;

He only takes the best.

And when I saw you sleeping so peaceful and free of pain, I could not wish you back to suffer that again.

(Unknown Author)


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