Born Apr. 25, 1933, in White Sulphur Springs, she was a daughter of the late Henry and Beatrice Swartz.
Debbie was a member of the Emmanuel United Methodist Church, White Sulphur Springs. She graduated from White Sulphur High School in the Class of 1951, was an honor graduate of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, with a BA degree in journalism, and began her professional career on the public relations staff at The Greenbrier. She was a former English and Journalism instructor at her alma mater, White Sulphur High School and was a freelance journalist for area newspapers and magazines.
She wrote for the White Sulphur Springs Star until it and the Greenbrier Independent were absorbed into The West Virginia Daily News in 1986. Her mother, Bea Schwarz, wrote a column called “Town Talk.” When her mother was unable to continue the column, Debbie took over the column, but retained her mother’s by line. The column was printed in The Daily News as “Town Talk” and in the Greenbrier Valley Ranger as “Rangin’ Around.” Also at one time Debbie wrote for the Register-Herald and the Charleston Gazette. Debbie wrote “Backward Glance” and the “World War II Years” that were patterned after similar books published by her on White Sulphur Springs and the State Fair of West Virginia. She had a very dynamic personality and was a very civic minded person, as shown throughout her personal and professional life. Debbie took interest in the whole area and state but her heart remained in White Sulphur Springs.
Survivors include Henry Simpson (Laurie) of Fredericksburg, VA and Daren Simpson (Michelle) of Afton, VA; and eight grandchildren.
Graveside services were held on Monday, Feb. 15, at Hillcrest Cemetery, White Sulphur Springs, where Pastor Shari Stilgenbauer officiated.
Visitation was Sunday afternoon, Feb. 14, at Shanklin Funeral Home, White Sulphur Springs.