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Deborah Paschall Ackert

June 10, 2019
Deborah Paschall Ackert
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Obituary for Deborah Paschall Ackert

Deborah (Debi) Paschall Ackert, 66, passed away at home on June 10, 2019 after a brief but hard fought battle with both breast cancer and metastatic pancreatic cancer. Her daughter and partner were both by her side where they had been for several days. She was also surrounded by her three beloved cats, Orca, Abby and Tupac, who rarely left her side.
Debi was born almost 3 months premature on July 7, 1952 and never lost that fighting spirit. Surviving being that premature in 1952 was uncommon but she beat the odds. She was the only child of the late Walter Benjamin and Mildred Ward Paschall. Her father predeceased her by just 7 months. She grew up with her grandparents right next door for most of her childhood and her cousins have memories of tons of play dates. Her parents made it a fun place to grow up and for many of her cousins it was the place to be. She and her husband would go on to raise their only child there and continue the practice of making it a fun place where all her friends were welcome. It was from her parents that she inherited her unwavering love of animals, a trait she passed to her daughter. She would do anything to help an animal that needed it.
Debi had many careers that she was very proud of including a stint in the Air Force and Army, being an EMT, and working with the late Sheriff Albert “Lindy” Pendergrass, who she adored, before he was the longtime Sheriff of Orange County. She worked in what was then the physiological monitoring department at Duke Medical Center until she had to go on disability in 1989.
The job she was most proud of was being a wife and mother. Debi married the love of her life in 1978 and from that point on her primary focus was her family. They had their only child in 1979 and raised her in the same house Debi grew up in right next door to her parents. They instilled a lifelong passion for learning in their only child that started with Debi teaching her to read and write at two years old. She was a loving and fiercely protective mother who put her daughter’s needs and wants before her own, right up until the end. Her daughter is both proud and grateful to have been blessed with such devoted, loving and strong parents. She takes great comfort in knowing her parents are finally reunited.
In addition to her parents Debi was predeceased by her beloved husband, William (Bill) V. Ackert, who died of cancer in 1999 after 21 years of marriage, ten of her twelve aunts and uncles and several cousins, and just last week her 21 year old cat, Lillie.
She is survived by the light of her life, her daughter, Tiffany Brooke Ackert of Durham; her devoted longtime partner, Brian Dodge of the home; her paternal aunt, Mary Ellis (Tip) of Durham; her paternal uncle, Wayne Paschall (Jackie) of Durham; many cousins including several that she talked of spending lots of time with growing up, Arbutus (Beauty) Gadd of Corpus Christi, TX, Bill Vierra of Chapel Hill, NC, Meleta Hunter of Creedmoor, NC, Barry Mangum of Raleigh, NC, Dee McClure of Greeley, CO, and Donna Fullerton and Nell Knibiehly both of Creedmoor, NC. She would also like to acknowledge her cousin Donald Paschall III and his wife Debbie for their unwavering support of her daughter.
The family would like to thank the staff of Duke Home Care and Hospice and of the Oncology team on 9300 at DUMC for their compassionate and diligent care of Debi in her final weeks. They made a devastating situation a little less stressful.
In accordance with her wishes no funeral service will be held. Anyone who wishes to honor her, we ask that you make a donation to your local animal shelter.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. in Durham. Online condolences may be sent to

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