Debra Audene Smith (Debbie), age 67, passed away Saturday, March 14, 2020. Debbie was born on October 16, 1952, in Olean, New York, to Charles and Barbara Moore. Debbie was the eldest of five children. As a child Debbie moved around often due to her father’s service in the military. Her family called many places home including Germany and Panama. In 1969, Debbie and her family moved to Bakersfield, CA, where she attended South High School and planted her own roots. It was during this time that she met her first husband, Bob Cole, the father of her three girls.
In about 1970, she began working for the Bakersfield Police Department as a clerk in the Chief’s office and eventually became a Community Service Technician (CST). In 1988 she left the Bakersfield Police Department and eventually pursued a career in the healthcare industry with Kaiser Permanente, engaging in the startup of Kaiser in Bakersfield. Her career subsequently led her to Kern Health Systems (Kern Family Health Care) where she was part of the team who created KHS from the ground up. Debbie finished her career with Healthnet, medically retiring in 2010, as the Director of Northern California’s emerging markets. She took great pride in her work and the communities and individuals she served. Debbie not only mothered her siblings, children and grandchildren, but mothered the community at large with her professional career.
Debbie was passionate about many things in her life. She was a star basketball player in high school, an avid runner, and a jazzercise lover before she was limited by health conditions. She loved everything Victorian or Shabby Chic and took pride in her yard showcasing beautiful roses and plants. Later in life she met a wonderful man, Steve Kelly, who cared for her during her last 10 years and showed her a love for the travel trailer life. Unfortunately, he passed away in June of 2019 and joins Debbie in heaven. She was a devoted mother and grandmother and the things she loved most were her nine grandchildren: Sam, Grace, Gehrig, Sarah, Owen, Phoebe, Mateo, Charli and Brooklyn.
Debbie is survived by her parents Barbara and Charles Moore (her father passed 3 days after Debbie); her sisters Terri Guerra (Rudy) and Wendy Moore; and, her brothers Chuck Moore and Buzz Moore (Tina). She is also survived by her three daughters, Shelly Harthorn, Shannon Hernandez (James), and Stacy Phelps (Josh). There will be a memorial service to come when it is safe for attendees to celebrate her life. In Lieu of flowers, please donate in her memory to the Lupus Foundation of America (www.lupus.org) or the Kern Autism Society (www.kernautism.org).
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