Deborah Anne Epsha née Keller

November 28, 1948 - July 04, 2017

In loving memory of Deborah Anne Epsha née Keller, of Cadillac, MI.

After navigating a courageous battle with cancer with unwavering grace, love and her famous sense of humor, Debbie passed away at home the afternoon of July 4, 2017 with her family by her side.

She was the loving wife and life partner of her best friend, Paul J. Epsha, whom she married July 7, 1984. She was also an amazing, loving mom and friend to her daughter, Amy Randi E. Motson of Santa Cruz, CA.

Debbie was born to James R. and Sally Mary Grace Keller November 28, 1948 in New York, NY. She grew up in Altoona, PA with her brother, Gregg, where she had a special friendship with her grandmother, Mary Grace Knowles and her aunt, Betty Bradley of Pittsburgh, PA. Debbie enjoyed playing lacrosse and was varsity cheerleading captain at Westmont Senior High School in Westmont, PA, from where she graduated in 1966. She continued her education at Robert Morris Junior College outside of Pittsburgh, PA., and later studied computer engineering at Oakland University. Her studies continued at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Computer Science in 1987, and an MBA in 1992. She continued her career as a university researcher at U of M until she retired and moved to Cadillac, Michigan with Paul, the love of her life.
Debbie was passionate about life and she was incredibly curious, inquisitive and resourceful. She expressed her affinity for the natural world as a dedicated gardener motivated by love. She enjoyed music, art, travel, learning about the world, mastering new technologies, and becoming an informed expert about everything in which her family members and friends were interested. She took delight in simple pleasures like blooming flowers, sunsets and the rising moon. Her family and chosen family of friends were most important to her, and she had a deep friendship with her immediate family, their families, and countless friends of diverse backgrounds and ages. She was everyone's best friend, their favorite aunt, and "everybody's second mom" to her daughter's friends. She delighted in the joys of others and shared their sorrows with love and unbiased support.

Community service was also important to Debbie, although she rarely talked about the hundreds of hours of service that she volunteered and the many organizations that she supported as an anonymous donor. She didn't like to "toot her own horn" or accept accolades for her selfless generosity. During her academic and research career she volunteered for the American Cancer Society and Girl Scouts of America. After she and her husband retired and moved from Livonia, MI to embrace Cadillac as their home and community, Debbie and Paul helped coordinate Wexford County's Project Christmas, as she firmly believed that all families deserved a peaceful and joyous holiday. She was also an advocate for Oasis, Love Inc., Wexford County's annual coat drive, Power of the Purse, and the Women's Giving Circle of Cadillac, MI. She was driven by a sense of compassion for all human beings and a desire to share her gratitude by helping others.

In addition to Paul, Randi, and her fiancée Michiel Oudendijk, Debbie is survived by her brother Gregg R. Keller and his wife Patricia A. Keller of Port Charlotte, Florida and many beloved nieces and nephews: Melissa and Mackenzie Woloch; Nicole (Carl) and William (Lisa) Schultz; Jean and Bill Lakin, Jeffrey and McKenna Lakin, and Scott Lakin; Terry, Dan and Eric Latimer; Kathy and Sarah Verschoor; Heidi, Greg, Lily and Ben Golabek; Christopher, Claudia and Ever Epsha; Greg and Elizabeth Epsha; brother-in-law and sisters-in-law Peter and Judy Epsha and Mary Ann Jacks. She is also survived by countless friends and extended family members.

Per Debbie's wishes, her family will be celebrating her life in a private gathering of joyous remembrance. Her memory would be honored by random and anonymous acts of kindness, hugging your loved ones, making a child smile and embracing the great joy that's fostered by appreciating life's simple pleasures.

If you're moved to do so, you may make a donation in her memory to one of her favorite community organizations mentioned previously, Munson Home Hospice of Cadillac, Wexford Public Library, Cadillac Jazz in the Park, or another charity or organization that is personally important to you.

An online guestbook is available at

Guest Book

Basia Yakaitis - Jul 7th, 2017 4:43 pm

"A life lived to the fullest. Much love to Debbie's family."

Nahnah Belanger-Iott - Jul 7th, 2017 8:35 pm

"Randi & Family, I'm sorry for your loss.Your Mother sounds like a wonderful person just like you are. I will think of her & you while I tend my garden. Peace&Love sent to all of you."

Marianne Larson - Jul 8th, 2017 12:11 am

"What a beautiful woman. She truly made a positive difference. Sending love and light to Debbie's family and friends 💕"

Kristin Holley - Jul 8th, 2017 10:24 am

"Debbie was such an amazing lady, I feel very privileged to know her. I will miss her weekly visits in my chair at the salon these past few years. She had a great sense of humor and was a class act. One of the most kindest and thoughtful people I have ever known..."

Marilyn and Paul McIsaac - Jul 8th, 2017 10:50 am

"We had wonderful times together in Fl. and MI. She was a good friend and will be missed. Love and prayers to Paul and Randi."

Kathy S. Ecker - Jul 9th, 2017 12:06 pm

" Debbie was much loved by all of her friends. I will miss her so much!!"

Jerry & Mary Jane Morris - Jul 9th, 2017 1:40 pm

"Our connection in Pa. strengthened our friendship. "

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