On Father’s Day, June 21, 2015, Debra “Debbie” Beth Eayrs, 64, died. “Loving wife, best friend, mother and grandmother, she was called home to her heavenly father,” her family said. Debbie had suffered from a lung disease for many years, the last 10 of which had become increasingly difficult, with her final three days spent at South Peninsula Hospital.
Born Jan. 5, 1951, in Whitefish, Mont., to Montie and Betty Annear, Debbie was the youngest of three siblings. As a child, she enjoyed living on the family farm close to Whitefish — and making friends with all the animals. After moving to a farm in Marion, Mont., she attended high school in Kalispell, Mont.
In 1969 Debbie and her former husband, Gary Young, had a baby girl they named Kali. That baby grew up, got married and had four sons, all of whom brought Debbie great joy.
In 1979 Debbie moved to Alaska from Montana. While living in Anchorage, she volunteered to visit patients at API (Alaska Psychiatric Institute). Taking along her guitar, she would sing and play music for them, often taking people out on day passes.
In the spring of 1981, Debbie was waiting at a bus stop in Anchorage and was surprised to see Steve Eayrs drive past. They had met before in Montana, and he had recently moved to Alaska to look for work, although neither of them knew the other was in the state.
Steve’s sister, Cheryl, and her two sons, Tyson and Chad, had recently moved in with Steve, and it did not take long before Debbie became the babysitter of the two boys. This arrangement soon found Steve and Debbie falling in love. They married Aug. 26, 1982.
While living in Anchorage, Debbie would often ask Steve to stop and offer help if they drove past a needy person on the street.
In 1983, the coupled decided to move to Homer. Steve worked in construction related trades, while Debbie worked for Valdez Air. She continued to work for Valdez Air in Homer until they closed.
In 1986 the couple opened Eayrs Plumbing and Heating, where Debbie worked — and continued to work from home, until she was no longer able. She also spent many hours in the Salvation Army store sorting clothes, along with other various jobs.
“Debbie loved the Lord and knew how to love others well,” her family said. “From home-cooked meals followed by music or games, to thoughtful words and flowers at just the right time, Debbie showed people that they mattered. Her enthusiasm and encouragement for others was endless. She laughed easily, and her sparkling blue eyes would light up with joy at the accomplishments of others.”
“Beautiful inside and out,” is how friends describe her. “A person whose life reflected the love of Jesus.”
Although the last 10 years of Debbie’s life were quite challenging, she continued to show her strong, vibrant, active, fruitful soul to those who drew close to her.
“She is living proof that we are souls that have a body, and not bodies that happen to have a soul, by the fact that the weaker her body became the stronger her spirit seemed to shine,” wrote her husband. “Her strength was due to her personal relationship with a living God, who saved her through the shed blood of His son, Jesus Christ. She is now free of pain, and I believe present with the Lord of Creation. I picture her dancing and singing with a voice that exceeds her dreams.”
Debbie was a member of East Gate Fellowship, where she and Steve have attended church since moving to Homer.
“Her one-of-a-kind, sweet and graceful spirit leaves behind a legacy of warmth, love and joy. Her unwavering friendship and wonderful faith will not be forgotten, and she will be deeply missed by all who knew her,” her family said.
Debbie is survived by her husband, Steven Eayrs of Homer; daughter, Kali (Stephen) Macalino of Eagle River; grandsons, Nathan, Nicolas, Joshua and Zachary; and brother, Harry Annear, all of Livingston, Mont., along with many nieces, nephews, family and friends whom she dearly loved.
She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Sharon Kempe.
A memorial service was held June 27, 2015, at Christian Community Church in Homer.
Donations in memory of Debbie can be made to Carry the Cure, 1040 Beylund Loop, Palmer, AK 99645.