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Deborah Ullman beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and sister passed away Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at age 93. She was dearly loved and admired by her spouse, daughters, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and friends. Deborah was born on May 27, 1926 to Morris and Libby Halpern on a farm near Lexington, Kentucky. She grew up during the Great Depression. When her father lost his farm and the family became sharecroppers, life became especially difficult. Her experiences during this time helped form her practical and “can do” attitude. She was known throughout her life for her hard-working nature, persistence, and kind and caring spirit. She was always willing to help anyone in need and put other people’s needs before her own.
Deborah attended nursing school during World War II through the Army Corps of Nursing, graduating the day before the war ended and working as a registered nurse for most of her life. After graduating, she worked as a traveling nurse in hospitals across the country, exploring California, Arizona, and Texas. She settled finally in New York City where she met her husband Frank, and had the first two of her three daughters, Diane and Marian. Her third daughter, Eileen, was born after the family moved to Dayton, Ohio.
Deborah’s kindness and caring for others extended to her commitment to social justice. She marched to the capitol steps in Lincoln, Nebraska with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in support of civil rights for all. She was instrumental in settling many Soviet Jewish families in Lincoln, canvassing the community to provide shelter, clothing, food, and services. Deborah’s activism extended to many projects, too numerous to mention in their entirety, but including delivering Meals on Wheels, supporting young women in foster care, and opening her home to anyone and everyone in need. She never stopped learning and trying to improve herself. She went back to school to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development, graduating with distinction in 1978.
Throughout her life, she found ways to overcome many obstacles brought on by illness, never allowing herself to be defeated or to wallow in self-pity. She was a remarkable woman and a role model to her family and friends and all who met her. Wherever she went, people loved her and admired her spirit, kindness, and mischievous sense of humor.
She is survived by her brother Samuel (Joni); her daughters Diane (Jean-Marc), Marian, and Eileen (Andy); her grandchildren Joshua (Joelle), Benjamin, Sophie, Teddy (Jolie), and Alex; as well as many nieces and nephews. She will be long remembered and missed. In lieu of flowers, please donate in her name to Jewish Family and Community Services at https://jfcs-eastbay.org/donate-now/.
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