Debra (Debbie) Suzun Livingston Merrill, a Loving Daughter, Sister, Mom, Nana and Friend, passed away peacefully on February 27, 2019 at home, holding hands with her family, her last words being “I Love You”.
Born May 25, 1953 in Pensacola, FL to Gene and Elsie (Thomas) Livingston. Baby sister to her two brothers, David and Garry. Her stepdad, Andy Johnson, immediately loved her as his own. They all had gone before her.
She loved her Mom, Elsie, so much and was her caregiver for 7 years until she passed from Alzheimer’s.
“What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, her favorite, her perception. A free spirit who loved life and everyone in it. A model of strong will and sheer determination right up till the end. Accomplished traveler, recreational boater, sharp shooter, avid listener, great debater, animal lover, beautiful singer, who excelled in her flower gardens. A contagious smile with a generous heart. Compassionate. She knew no strangers. One of a kind, to know her was to love her, and your life was touched, forever.
She is survived by her proudest accomplishment (she would say), her daughter, Andrea Gardner. She had extreme love and pride for her two grandsons, Brandon Swayne (wife Kayla) and Shawn Swayne (fiancé Desiree Risener). She would tell you about them all if you sat still for an instant. She taught her grandsons that there is always a way, challenged them to board games and cards often, and life is more fun when you play in the dirt.
Higher education entailed studies in cosmetology, blueprint reading for commercial construction, criminal justice, and various computer classes to name a few.
Employment history was far from standard. Most recently a data entry clerk at Y-Tech services on the H60 line for the US Coast Guard. Previously held contractor positions as a security guard and tool room attendant for the USCG. For many years, office manager at McKecuen Consulting, handling National and International contracts for the Ms. Foundation for Women. Owned and managed a beauty shop. In her younger days, a tractor trailer driver for Cooper AAA trucking. Most cherished, making people happy as a charter bus driver for Gallop Bus Lines out of Virginia Beach.
Life lesson reminders till the very end, 3 days before she passed. Andrea had to run an errand, upon her return Mom asked if she got something to eat while she was out. Yes, a sandwich and a drink. (For weeks, Mom was bedridden and unable to eat). Mom said how fun it must be to ride around while eating a sandwich and drinking a drink. Lesson…enjoy the little things, don’t take life for granted, look around before you miss it. A short conversation, with enormous meaning, never to be forgotten.
Her work here is done. Her new mission is in a wonderful place, a reunion with family and friends she has not seen in a long time, where she will be gardening, socializing, singing, and dancing to her heart’s content.
She will be incredibly missed by all who knew her. Her words to you…Thank you all for sharing my life with me!
Debbie requested that donations be made to Albemarle Homecare Hospice, 208 Hastings Lane, Elizabeth City, NC, 27909. Please include in memory of her name. A tremendous heartfelt gratitude to the compassionate and exceptional hospice nurses that helped us through this time.
A private family ceremony will be held. Twiford Funeral Home, 405 East Church Street, Elizabeth City, NC is assisting the Merrill family. Online memorial condolences may be sent to the family at www.TwifordFH.com
Twiford Funeral Home (Elizabeth City)
405 East Church Street,