Deborah Conway Grubbs, 75, passed away on March 29, 2024, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born on Nov. 4, 1949, she brought immense joy to those around her.

Debbie’s journey touched the lives of many, leaving behind cherished memories and a legacy of strength and resilience. Her unwavering spirit in the face of adversity was an inspiration (but not a surprise) to all who knew her.

Deborah is survived by her loving family and friends, who will forever hold dear her memory. Debbie will be remembered for her kindness, compassion, and the positive impact she had on everyone fortunate enough to have known her.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Marion Thomas; her siblings, David Thomas, Sharon Thomas, Terry Thomas, Russell Thomas, Kyle Thomas, and Audrey Moline; and her first grandson, Pierce Smith.

She leaves behind her devoted husband, Steven Grubbs; her biological son, Michael Smith; her additional son, Robert Jake Haley; her step-children, Michael Grubbs, Katie Wilson, Sean Grubbs, Patrick Grubbs, and Kelly Grubbs; her grandchildren, Amanda Robinson, Jeremy Hargwood, Maxwell Smith, Sydney Smith DeBerardis, Kordell Grubbs, Kayden Grubbs, Paige Grubbs, Shane Grubbs, Chase Grubbs, Vanessa Grubbs, Evan Grubbs, Alex Haley, Sophia Haley, Sarah Stevens, and Christian Stevens; her great-grandsons, Cameron Greenwood, Miles Smith, Pierce Smith Jr., Adrian Robinson, Jaiden Robinson, and Achariya Svay; her siblings, Sheila Thomas, Jacqueline Thomas, Clarence Thomas, Mark Thomas, and Bryan Thomas; her sister-in-law, Nancy Smith; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Debbie grew up as the oldest of 12. She loved school and had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. After graduating from Arts High School in Newark, NJ, she was accepted into Montclair State College. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education and went on to become a speech therapist. She began her teaching career in Franklin Township and later taught in Metuchen. She ultimately left teaching to take a communications position at NJEA. It didn’t take her long to become the director of communications at NJEA, and along the way, she headed up several committees within the organization. In speaking of organizations, Debbie was a member and chairperson or board member for several, including the Jaycees and Jayceettes, Women in Communications, Cornwall Manor Society, and was chairperson and/or member of several Resident Association Committees, the P.E.O.

The memorial services to honor and celebrate Deborah’s life will be held on April 13, 2024, at the Zerr Chapel at Cornwall Manor.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to a pancreatic cancer research foundation in Debbie’s memory as well as the P.E.O. Sisterhood – P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations. The project she led for nearly 10 years is called the STAR Scholarship. We hope to get enough to create a Named Scholarship in her name. “She worked so hard and improved our success rate for Star Scholars from about 30% to over 70% due to her guidance. Debbie was a Rockstar!” – Pat Kelley, President, State P.E.O. Please make checks payable to P.E.O. Chapter BM and mail to: P.E.O. Chapter BM c/o Jody Hess, Treasurer, 15 Marie Dr., Lititz, PA 17543.

May Deborah rest in eternal peace, free from pain, and may her memory continue to bring comfort to those who mourn her passing. Please join us in remembering and celebrating Debbie’s life. With heartfelt condolences, The Grubbs/Smith Family.