Deborah Waters

Obituary of Deborah Joanne Waters

It is with sadness we announce the passing of Debbie (Debbi) Joanne Waters on June 25th,2023 at the HSC in Winnipeg. Deb was many things: creative, compassionate, headstrong, a loving aunt, daughter (Margaret, William), sister (Bill, Sharon, Wendy) and friend with a deep affection for forest green berets, rhubarb pie and king size cigarettes, but mostly Debbi Waters was a woman of words.


Writing from the time she was 12, indeed nominated for upcoming young Manitoba poet Deb would see the world through a different lens, the beauty, the pain, the drama of humanity, sometimes innocent, sometimes culpable yet always in need of a little romance, some shine"……don’t hold back on the gravy she’d say, that’s how the love comes.


And hold back, she did not on the gravy, the lasagna, mashed potatoes or pie!  Her love of food and the joy it could bring to people started at an early age.  Tasked with looking after her little sister, she would turn scoops of cottage cheese into happy faces and peace signs with artfully placed raisins and chocolate chips.


In later years food gifts from family and friends would be regifted and shared with others despite her own needs.


Coming of age in the late 60's and 70's, Deb would embody the style and idealism of a hopeful hippie culture.  Ironing her waist-long hair with her older sister Sharon, embroidering Daisy chains on her denim, reading Vonnegut and Greer while stealthily blowing smoke rings through the screen window. Joni Mitchell and Rikki Lee Jones were on constant rotation.


In 1973 Debbi would graduate from high school (Dakota Collegiate), move to Vancouver, fall in love, fall out of love, backpack Europe, get married, unmarried, become an aunt and then a great aunt to a slew of nieces and nephews (Sherri, Teri, Kelly, Jesse, Emma, Abby, Cara, Charlie, Jake, and Audrey).


Throughout her life Deb would keep in touch with dear friends Monica and Eva and her much loved mom, Margaret and sister Sharon with daily phone calls. She was the poster girl for land- lines! From singing birthday greetings, to recipe exchanges and heart to heart talks, Debbi always understood the need for human connection.


Her answering machine messages were epic ranging from local weather conditions (it’s -30, no licking boot scrapers), to urgent humanitarian conditions (they need hampers at Harvest, please give if you can).


Some know that in her in her late 20’s after being offered the position as the children’s fashion buyer for the Eatons store, Deb’s health turned when she was diagnosed with the brain illness schizophrenia.


Although Deb would continue to write and work and face her illness as bravely and as best she could, the illness alongside limited medical and community resources led to a number of challenges. Yet, when the doctor commented at the hospital that her life had been challenging, Deb responded, ”no not really, I had a great life”, “well- lived” the doctor said; Deb paused, then smiled, “maybe not always well, but definitely lived, definitely loved."


Deb passed away with family at her side, having spent her remaining few weeks sharing memories, music and love with family and friends.  We will miss you Deb but are grateful that you are at peace and pain free.


Thanks to friends Eva, Monica and Benny for their support and friendship and to the

to the staff at HSC ICU for their care and kindness and for serving up Debs fave cran/orange cocktails on demand.


As per Deb’s request, no formal service will be held but for those wishing a memorial fund has been set up in Debbi’s name with all proceeds going to support community mental health initiatives for individuals and their families.


Debbi Waters Memorial Fund

The Winnipeg Foundation

1350 One Lombard Place

Winnipeg, Manitoba

R3B 0X3

204 944-9474


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