Debra H. Houghton

Debra H. Houghton

February 18, 1956 – December 23, 2023

It is with profound sadness that we acknowledge that our family has lost its center. Debra’s journey ended on December 23, 2023. We are confident that she was welcomed into a greater life – one without pain, fatigue, or constraints.

Although she was unbelievably courageous in dealing with the infirmities of her body, her life was defined by her irresistible love and her kind and caring heart. Debra believed that each person she was privileged to meet was special. She sought to know them, learn what they loved, what they were proud of and their hopes for the future that they were willing to share.

We have so appreciated the outpouring of calls and notes from those with whom she shared her life. The common thread of those remembrances is her warmth, her welcoming spirit, and her authentic caring for those whose lives intersected with hers.

We are all better versions of ourselves for having known and experienced her generous spirit.  Her memory is cherished by her family from whom she took immense joy.  Her husband, David (whom she aptly referred to as “the luckiest man in the world”); her daughters, Amy and Scott Gutschewski and Suzanne Pfaff; her “bonus” sons, David and Rachael Houghton and Daniel and Kelly Houghton.

She also leaves her ten beautiful and nearly perfect grandchildren: Luke Gutschewski, Cameron Pfaff, Isabelle Gutschewski, Trevor Gutschewski, Barrett Houghton, Tatum Houghton, Henry David Houghton, Ella Kate Houghton, Phoebe Grace Houghton and Isaiah Gutschewski.

Her memory is entrusted to her siblings, Jan Cook (who sadly passed away the day after we lost Debra); her brother, Gary and Lora Sater; her sister, Laurie and Dale Seyl; brother, David and Karen Sater.  She was loved by her in-laws: David and Wynetta Houghton, Becky McAlpin, Tom and Pam Houghton and Susanna and Michael Buell.

She is also fondly remembered by nieces and nephews, who found in her a loving and supportive aunt who desired the best that life could afford them.

We hear her telling us to put our pens down and allow the wonderful and meaningful relationships she so completely enjoyed with family and a host of great friends be her legacy.

Debra supported many worthwhile charitable causes and organizations. Her most ardent support was for those food banks and groups which worked to ensure children in her communities had enough food to survive and thrive.  In lieu of flowers, her family suggests honoring Debra by supporting causes dear to your heart.

We will Celebrate Debra’s Life by gathering from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Friday, December 29, 2023, at the West Center Chapel.

MEMORIAL SERVICE: Saturday, December 30, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at the West Center Chapel. INTERMENT will follow at Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery.

To view a live broadcast of the Services, please visit and click the “LiveCast” button at the top of the home page.


  • Ana Pimentel and Lou Pimentel Posted December 26, 2023 6:28 pm

    Our deepest sympathy. May the Lord give the family strength to get through these challenging days. May she rest in eternal peace.

  • Eric Knoll Posted December 26, 2023 6:32 pm

    She was my friend in high school and my friend at First Central Congregational church. I was deeply saddened to hear of her passing. The world will be an emptier place with our loss.

  • paul moxley Posted December 26, 2023 6:34 pm

    I knew Deborah for 30 years through ABA events.She was a wonderful woman and I know how happy David was to have found her.Am so saddened by her passing and am so sorry for her loss to her family and friends

  • Melanie (womochil) Strohbehn Posted December 26, 2023 6:49 pm

    My condolences to her family. Deb and I were very close friends and even though we hadn’t seen each other in years we kept in touch she will Definately get her angel wings

  • Terry Wright Posted December 26, 2023 6:51 pm

    My friend for many years. The ray of sunshine in every room. She was loved by everyone who knew her. It’s hard to realise she is gone. Much love to David and all her family

  • Janet Williams Posted December 26, 2023 6:58 pm

    This is such sad news, David. Condolences to you, her family, and her many friends.

  • Joe and Sherry Crosthwait Posted December 26, 2023 7:25 pm

    Our deepest sympathies to Dave and Debra’s family. Like so many others, we got to know her through the adventures of the NCBP, ABA, and the Fellows. We will always remember her disarming and genuine smile and the warmth of her spirit. May God bless and comfort you all at this very difficult passage.

  • Bernard Lowis Jr. and family Posted December 26, 2023 7:29 pm

    So sorry for your loss. I remember Debi way back from family gatherings at Horseshoe Lake (Rog and Jeanne McWilliams cabin). Debi had such a sweet and fun spirit and always made us feel welcome. Prayers for you all in this time.

  • Nanci Mattio Posted December 26, 2023 8:19 pm

    I did not know Deborah personally, but ‘met’ her thru her sister-in-law Becky, who loved her very much, What a remarkable person she was. Extending sincere wishes for David & the entire family for comfort and peace at this most difficult time.

  • GLEN R SAYRE Posted December 26, 2023 8:51 pm

    Sorry to hear of your loss old friend. My thoughts and condolences go out to you. Glen

  • Mary Torres Posted December 26, 2023 9:34 pm

    I am so very sorry to hear this. Debbie was a ray of sunlight wherever she was! My heart is with Dave and all of you.

  • Anne Juliano Posted December 27, 2023 9:33 am

    My deepest sympathies to Debra’s family. She was an exceptional friend.

  • Jim Winner Posted December 27, 2023 9:47 am

    Goodness, me. Deb was a friend from ABI days – always pleasant, always kind, always gracious. A lovely person, through and through. I will keep her memory close. Our best thoughts to the Houghton family.

  • Kaye Benak Posted December 27, 2023 9:58 am

    I so sad to hear that Deb has passed. David and Amy and Suzanne you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know how much she loved her family and her grandchildren were her pride and joy.

  • LINDSY DOUCETTE Posted December 27, 2023 10:05 pm

    Debra happened to cross my mind the other day. She was always smiling and laughing. Sending you all love.

  • Linda Shirck Posted December 28, 2023 11:48 am

    My synpathy to you, David and all your family. Debra was indeed a special lady who made the world a better place.

  • Debra Leigh Posted December 29, 2023 9:24 am

    Dale and I are so deeply saddened by Debra’s passing. It is hard to even put in to words how much she will be missed. We have so many wonderful memories of times spent together with her and David. Our world will never be the same without her in it. Dear Debra enjoy your new life in heaven without any pain – it is amazing that you never complained but we know you were in pain so much of the time. Until we meet again take care dear friend – we love you and David, Amy, Suzy, David and Daniel and families you are all in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time. All our Love Debra Leigh & Dale Jacobson

  • Mike and Carolyn Folger Posted December 29, 2023 11:51 am

    Carolyn and I send our sympathies to David and his family. We met Debra and David after we moved to Naples in 2019. Debra was one of the kindest, friendliest, and sweetest people we’ve ever met. Her smile lit up every room she entered. She will be greatly missed..

  • Roxanne (Swiercek) Rusco Posted December 29, 2023 12:53 pm

    David, Amy, Suzanne and family,
    My sincerest sympathy to all of you. Deb and I met in high school. I have many wonderful memories of the times we spent together laughing and joking. Deb had a contagious smile! Deb was a bridesmaid in our wedding. I can still vividly remember her beautiful smile.
    Gone from our sight, but her memory lives on – a legacy of love that will always be with you.
    Wishing you all peace and comfort.

  • Gary & Keven Kiser Posted December 29, 2023 1:20 pm

    David and family we are so sorry to hear of Debra’s passing we enjoyed her infectious smile and what it meant to us and her caution to bid 3 no trump.
    She will be missed by all who knew her and the many lives she touched.

  • Loretta Hirsch Posted December 29, 2023 5:15 pm

    David and family. I am so sorry for your loss. My prayer is that you find comfort and peace in your beautiful memories of Debra.

  • Sara Hoch (Sater) Posted December 30, 2023 8:11 am

    Cousin Debra will be missed. She had such a bright charismatic way. I will forever remember her. May peace find your entire family.

  • Gary Randall Posted December 30, 2023 9:21 am

    David and family my sincerely condolences for your loss ! Debra was a Champion of so many causes .. . Always family first. She will be missed But cherish the memories a
    Nd good times ti give you strength ! You know that is what Debra wants!!

  • Jimmy and Debby Goodman Posted December 30, 2023 11:03 am

    This was a beautiful service. Deb was a kind and loving person and her legacy with us is experiencing her love for Dave and her family and her deep kindness towards us. We will miss her very much, but she will live on in our hearts forever. We send love and hugs to Dave and all Deb’s family.

  • Paula & Scott Weekley Posted December 31, 2023 8:14 pm

    We are so saddened by the loss of such a wonderful person. David and all of the family are in our thoughts and prayers. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to attend in person, but we certainly wanted to. Please know that Debra, David, and every single member of the family are in our prayers.

  • Bill and Vicky D’Onofrio Posted January 1, 2024 8:47 am

    We were saddened to learn of Debbie’s passing. Heaven has another angel.

  • Lorraine Boyd Posted January 6, 2024 2:14 am

    David, I was so very sorry to learn of Debra’s passing. I’m sending my deepest sympathies on your profound loss. Reading this about her my only regret is that I didn’t get to know her well. But she chose you and that tells me she had great taste. May your joyous memories bring you peace.

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