MISSOULA — Deborah Chittick Ginnings passed away at home Feb. 15, 2019.
She was born on Halloween 1952 — a magical, whimsical day that began the life of a woman to match. Her parents Robert and June Chittick, and her younger sisters Cynthia and Jennifer spent much of their time growing up in Westport, Connecticut, with Debbie sailing on Captain Chittick’s Thistle and seeking out the best lobster shack in New England. She spent summers roaming Hammonasset and Compo beaches, worshiping The Beatles, Sly and The Family Stone, and many more. At one point a rumor spread through the neighborhood that The Beatles would be playing a secret show in the Chittick’s garage. The rumor spread like wildfire, panic ensued throughout the neighborhood. The only ones who didn’t hear about it were in fact The Beatles.
She moved to Missoula for university in 1972, and soon fell in love with a rockstar of her own (instead of John Lennon). Laurence Ginnings and Debbie were the only kids on campus with patchwork pants. So despite thinking him an insufferable know-it-all in the class where they first met, she accepted his dinner invitation in the middle of the university library — but only in exchange for his notes. On Jan. 2, 1976, they were married in their little house on Pine Street.
Countless apartments, odd jobs, and love songs later Larry was a touring musician, and Debbie was thriving as a surgical technician in 1982 when their son Noah was born on Larry’s 29th birthday. Another curiously magical entrance into the world.
As a wife and mother, Debbie was a tigress in the face of adversity, a goddess of healing in the face of chicken pox, and a muse in the pits of writers block. She moved thousands of miles from her home in Connecticut but still managed to maintain a close knit family, related and chosen, around her at all times.
On Dec. 9, 1990, she laughed herself into labor; providing one more whimsical entrance into the world for her daughter Liza. The Ginnings family spent their years together climbing mountains, swimming in Flathead Lake, and playing music with any of the odd instruments and records around the house. At the heart was always Debbie, as fierce and fiery as she was generous and kind.
When Noah lost his battle with brain cancer in 2008, the family’s heart was broken. But somehow, without hesitation Debbie’s love for her family and friends still shone through. Her art began to flourish; she poured herself into creating like never before. From murals on the walls, to poems on the back of Sunday newspapers, her blooming creativity fed her unflappable resilience, and inspired those around her.
Her own cancer diagnosis in 2018 was a giant blow, but Debbie wasted no time. She dyed her hair bright purple to let everyone know just how brave she was at all times, in all places. On Dec. 2, 2018, her love Larry lost his own battle with cancer. The ‘Lovey’s’ as they called each other, had been together for 46 years. Larry’s first act every morning was making Debbie a perfect cup of coffee ‘stirred with kisses.’ She mended every hole he managed to wear through his shirts. They not only loved each other genuinely and deeply for 46 years, they liked each other. Their love story was cut from the same cloth as the epics.
Following the love of her life from this one into the next, Debbie passed at home with Liza by her side. Her loss will be felt deeply in our community, but her legacy will remain to remind us to love each other unabashedly, that no one ever has the money — so just make the memories, and few things cannot be solved by a really good cup of coffee.
Debbie is preceded in death by her father Robert, her son Noah, and her husband Larry. She is survived by mother June, her sisters Cynthia and Jennifer, and her daughter Liza.
At her request there will be no service. Instead please consider making donations to the Cancer Treatment Center at Community Hospital.