Debra A. Kalcic

Debra A. Kalcic

December 12, 1956 – December 3, 2022

Preceded in death by husband, Greg Kalcic; grandparents, Vern and Mabel Smesrude; mother, Jeanette Steele; father, Darrell A. Gross; brother, Gary L. Gross.  She is survived by her partner of 6 years, James Shellhammer; beloved fur kids: Blossom, Ziva, Keren, and Joey; and a tribe of devoted friends – the sisters she chose for herself.

Deb was born in southern California and raised by her loving grandparents, Vern and Mabel.  She migrated back to the greater Omaha area, living in Omaha, Blair, Fremont, and finally Glenwood, Iowa.  Deb graduated from Burke High School and the University of Nebraska – Omaha.  Deb had many careers in her life, owning a pet store and boarding kennel amongst them. She was a QA software tester for local corporations, the most recent one being Peter Kiewit.  Deb was an active member of St. Paul’s Evangelical Country Church in Council Bluffs, where she wrote the monthly newsletter.

Deb was passionate about animals and animal welfare.  She was committed to their well-being, wildlife rescue, and animal adoption.  She is legendary for having the best-dressed dogs in town!  Deb had a great sense of adventure and loved roller coasters and retail therapy.  Deb shared her knowledge and compassion with at-risk girls, acting as a mentor and “big sister.”  She was a well-traveled woman, having seen a great deal of the world, but her heart was always in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Deb loved her annual trips with Jim, her best friend Deborah Peel Spidle, and others who joined along the way.

Deb is best remembered as a woman of great faith, warmth, kindness, a sunny disposition, a bright mind, and great humor.  Those who knew her best marveled at her generosity of spirit, considering the many trials life brought her way.  She was never defeated, always kind, and a fierce defender of her friends and family.  Deb will be missed greatly by those she left behind, for we would have dearly loved to have her with us for much, much longer.  We are comforted in the knowledge that she rests gently in the arms of her Savior and in the company of all the friends who went before her and, we are certain, a menagerie of pets that have missed their mama so.  A Celebration of Life at her church is planned in early January.


  • Sheryl and Steve Louis Posted December 19, 2022 12:47 pm

    So very sorry to know of this loss; to close friends and loved ones of Deb and especially Jim. We so enjoyed Deb in every interaction we had with her over the years and she will be greatly missed. Rest in Peace dear friend.

  • Donna Giroux Posted December 22, 2022 12:33 pm

    I have very good memories of Deb. God bless you Deb. Donna

  • Alan L. Hensley Posted December 22, 2022 7:17 pm

    Miss seeing Deb go by when I let the dogs out in the morning/

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