Deborah Jean Gelbowitz of Perry

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Deborah Jean Gelbowitz, one of eight children of George Henry Johns and Patricia Anderson Johns, was born Jan. 22, 1957, in Minneapolis, Minn., and died April 3, 2017, at her home in Perry, Iowa, at the age of 60 years, 2 months, 11 days.

A Celebration of Life service was held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 8 Hastings Funeral Home in Perry. A sharing of memories was lead by Larry Vodenik. Honorary bearers were J. L. Cox and Albert Johns. Debbie’s casket bearer were Richard Gelbowitz, Josiah Vodenik, David Motz, Michael Lucas, James Johns, Paul Kenyon, Larry Benedict and William Paulsen.


Shirley Russell was the musician. The hymns were “Far Side Banks of Jordan” and “In the Garden.” At the special request of April, the Bobby Goldsboro song, “Honey,” was sung at the burial in Violet Hill Cemetery in Perry. A time of lunch and fellowship was held at the Perry Elks Lodge at 2823 Willis Ave. following the services.

Debbie, as she was lovingly called and she much preferred, grew up in Minneapolis, Minburn and Perry.

She graduated Central Dallas High School in 1975.

Debbie was united in marriage with Peter John Gelbowitz Aug. 23, 1975, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Adel. They were blessed with two daughters, Christy and April.

Debbie’s deepest love was her family, and she was devoted to each daughter and especially to her six grandchildren. Her love was unconditional, and she is greatly missed.

Debbie’s interests were face-timing with her grandchildren, watching soap operas and watching Elvis movies repeatedly.

She enjoyed decorating for the holidays, which she did in great style. The family recalls she always had the “biggest” live Christmas trees.

Debbie enjoyed eating at Red Lobster, drinking her Diet Pepsi and collecting dolls and bells.

She was a former member of the Ladies of the Moose Lodge in Perry.

Debbie was preceded in death by her parents, George and Patricia; and her step-father, Lauren Kenyon.

She will forever be in the hearts of her husband, Peter; daughters, Christy (David) Motz of Des Moines and April (Michael) Lucas of Omaha; her very precious grandchildren, Hudson, Bennett, Sully and Reese Motz and Simon and Magdalene Lucas. Debbie is also survived by her siblings, Albert (Marsha) Johns of Montezuma, James (Janine) Johns of Redfield, Darla (J. L.) Cox of Sheldon, Tamara (Larry) Benedict of Perry, Mary (Terry) Kimberly of Omaha, Patricia (William) Biondi of Perry and Paul (Amber) Kenyon of Perry; maternal aunts and uncle, Susie (David) Halgrimson, Thomas (Darlene) Anderson and Janice Sturges; paternal aunts and uncles, Pat Meier, Norma Herridge, Doris Pantier, Verna Martin, Sandy (Larry) Botts, Linda (Bob) Olesen and Donald Johns; numerous cousins; nieces; nephews; other relatives; and many friends.

Memorials in Debbie’s honor have been respectfully suggested to her family and may be left at Hastings Funeral Home in Perry.

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