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In loving memory of
Deborah McCafferty
  • April 05, 1954
  • -
  • June 27, 2023

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Professor Deborah E. McCafferty died June 27, 2023, in Clermont, Florida. She was born in New York City, the eldest child of John and June Biggers.

Debbie is survived by her husband of 50 years, Michael; her father, John; three girls and their husbands: Shannon (James), Erin (Noah), and Izzy; five siblings and their spouses: Sean (Cathy), Diane (Pastor Dennis), Denise (Stewart), Bill (Laura), and Fred; her grandchildren: Sunny, Brittany (Ryan), Kate, Regan, Shamus, Lindsey, Keegan, Tre, Cassie, Isabel, Aidan, and Liam; her great-grandchildren: Trinity, Amaya, Dylan, Quinn, Jamie, Emma, and Junie. Debbie is also survived by a large extended family.

Debbie was predeceased by her mother, June; three siblings: Patrick, Kenny, and Mariane (fiancé to Peter); her grandson, Christopher; and her niece, Lina.

Debbie was raised in Patchogue, NY. She was smart, consistently earning top honors in school and winning academic awards throughout her grade school and high school years. Her childhood best friends were Pam, Judy, and Lorri. Debbie attended college where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Debbie was very close to her doctorate near the end of her life and was looking forward to her children calling her “Dr. Mom”.

In the 80s Debbie was inspired by the show Green Acres and the family moved to a rural farm. They relocated an hour north of where Interstate 95 ended, in Fort Fairfield, located in the State o’ Maine. The town was only a stones throw from Canada. She had a lot of fun reminiscing about life in Northern Maine in the years before she died. Debbie often mentioned the words “potato”, “freezing” and “snow” when doing so.

Debbie was funny. She came across as serious, but had very “dry” sense of humor! Her family often laughed as she recalled an example of this when she was substituting at the local high school. She stood in front of her class to mark attendance. In a deadpan voice, she took roll call. When Debbie got no answer from an absent student, she repeated their name several times. None of the teens got the joke, but she was imitating a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

When Debbie was in her 40s, she relocated south with her husband, to where Interstate 95 practically ended, the opposite direction of Maine. She lived in Tampa Bay, Florida. Later, her daughters followed her. Debbie worked hard every year, Volunteer, bookkeeper, tax preparer, undergrad adjunct Professor, and Controller in the travel industry.

Debbie had her passions: her family, 70s music, fine dining, her Irish Heritage, coffee, mani-pedis, New York tuna salad, traveling, trivia matches, the beach, reading, difficult crossword puzzles, the role of “Cheer-mom”, Sci-Fi, and playing the violin as a member of the Pinellas County Orchestra.

Debbie was tenacious, intelligent, clever, selfless, and brave. She received an LVAD heart pump in 2021, gifting her an additional 750 days of life. Debbie fought hard to live. She did it with an abundance of grace and dignity. Her husband was her dedicated caregiver after the surgery and to the end of her life.

“She died on a Tuesday.”

Debbie gave her all to her family. She was present for every important milestone and event. She was their anchor and protector. Debbie taught them all about love, dedication, sacrifice, and Jesus.

Special thanks to Debbies nephew Keegan, who once defended her honor, even though it cost him a job, and to her family and friends who attended and assisted with Debbies’ Celebration of Life that was held on July 9, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Barch House, a transplant center in Orlando Florida. Or, a non-profit cause of Debbies, The Aftermath Foundation.

Debbie was a fan of the poet Dylan Thomas. She planned on naming one of her children after him but she gave birth to girls. Instead she has a great grandson named Dylan, in her honor. Below is poem, written by Dylan Thomas. This poem helps embody Debbies final years, as she faced old age & death with both dignity and ferocity.

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my Mother, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

* From The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952, 1953 Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1966, 1967 the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1938, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1971 New Directions Publishing Corp. Used with permission, noting the substitution of the “mother” in place of the word “father” as originally printed in the first line of the stanza.

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  1. Shannon posted an image:
    02 Aug 2023
    Debbie with Isabel. Helping me move to Tennessee…
    Debbie with Isabel. Helping me move to Tennessee…

  2. Shannon says:
    02 Aug 2023
    I miss you every day. I miss talking to you about the most important and the most mundane things. You have left a void that no one could ever fill. I love you mom.


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