Debra Jean (Debbie) Cunningham passed peacefully into her forever home on Saturday, November 18th, finally reunited with her beloved husband Gary. A memorial service will be held Friday, November 24 at 11AM at Bayview Freeborn Funeral Home with visitation held an hour prior. Reverend Charles Teixeira will be officiating.
Debbie was born on Oct. 16, 1951 in Albert Lea, the oldest child of Harlen and Irene (Andersen) Hansen. She was followed by a sister, Barb, and a brother Jerry. Debbie spent almost her whole life in Albert Lea, graduating from there and moving on to beauty school. Debbie then met Gary Cunningham through a mutual friend. Even Debbie’s dad, Harley knew he was the one for her after Gary sent her beautiful yellow roses when she came down sick before their first date. Debbie and Gary wed on October 8th, 1977 and they immediately started trying to grow their family. Debbie loved children, and desperately wanted some of her own. She went through a lot of trials and heartbreak, to be told she could never have children, while surprisingly being pregnant with her only child the day she was given the news. She and Gary joyfully welcomed Bryan on January 30th, 1980. She cherished every minute with Bryan, spending her life dedicated to being there for him and for Gary.
As for her career, Debbie spent many years as a hairdresser, and a couple years as a lunch lady. She then graciously took care of her grandchildren, whom she loved dearly (and spoiled rotten). She never missed a sports game, a concert, or a play that they were in. Debbie doted on Ava, Lia, and Eli, getting them everything they needed and wanted, and she was constantly teaching and encouraging them to grow their talents, and helping them find what they enjoyed.
Debbie was an extremely talented lady, crafting many different things through the years, and spending a lot of time selling her goods at craft shows. She was never afraid to learn something new when it came to her crafts, and when she got into something she went all out. Debbie also gladly acted as seamstress to anyone who asked, and sewed many beautiful dresses, fun Halloween costumes, numerous quilts, and anything else she might be asked for, or thought her grandkids and great nephew and nieces might like.
Debbie was a stubborn lady, often saying it was the Dane coming out in her, but when she loved, she loved big. She had a heart of gold, and would drop everything to help someone in need. She was always checking in on her family and friends, making sure they were okay. She seemed at her best when focusing on those she loved, and all of us who experienced that love are better for it.
Debbie is survived by her son Bryan (Evie) Cunningham and their kids Ava, Lia, and Eli. She also leaves behind her favorite brother Jerry (Jerome) Hansen and wife Vicky, and sister Barb (Tony) Hanson, as well as nieces, nephews, and her great nephew and nieces, all of whom she cherished.
She joins many family members in heaven, including her parents, Harlen and Irene, and her husband Gary, his parents Gladys and Lewis Cunningham, sister-in-law Karen Woodford, and many others beloved to Debbie.
Although we are so happy that Debbie is at peace and healthy in her heavenly home, we will miss her dearly.