Debora A. McPherson Wirtz

February 19, 1956 ~ August 13, 2021 (age 65)



Debora A. McPherson Wirtz


Debbie passed away August 13, 2021, in the home she lived in when she was  born, surrounded by family and friends. Debbie came into this world on February 19, 1956, at the Ionia County Memorial Hospital, the first of five children of Marion and Gene McPherson. A few hours later, she met her husband, Scott, born on February 20, 1956, in the same hospital. Debbie was there to welcome Scott into this world; Scott was there when Debbie left this world.

Debbie was raised on the McPherson Dairy Farm north of Ionia. At an early age, Debbie developed a respect and love of nature and animals. Debbie adored dogs and had many throughout her life, but Cuddles was her favorite.

Debbie attended Hubbell Country School, Ionia Junior High and High School, Class of 1974. Debbie excelled in Art and was recognize so with an award her senior year at Ionia. Debbie went on to get her degree in Graphic/Commercial Art at Ferris State University.

Being the big sister of four siblings, early on Debbie developed a strong maternal instinct, which she had to have when her mother, Marion passed away in 1969. Debbie raised her son, James, alone from infancy. James and Debbie went through many lean and good times together. James was the light of Debbie’s life. Debbie also took care of her youngest sister for the last 25 years.

Debbie and her sister, Julie, were as close as two humans could be, they were best friends. They endured the deaths of their mom, 1969, dad, 1975, and stepmom, 1974. But they also had many good times and were always there for each other.

Debbie was a natural gardener who planted and tended, not only an annual vegetable garden, but also beautiful flower gardens that adorned her home and property. The gardens were havens for hummingbirds and butterflies, which she adored, but also deer and pesky woodchucks, which she wasn’t shy about dispatching with her trusty pellet gun. Debbie always wanted to be a beekeeper; several years ago, she and Scott became beekeepers which she loved.

Debbie loved to travel. Be it a day trip close to home or a long journey like her many trips to Hawaii with her longtime friend Joni Krause-Robinson. Joni’s Hawaiian relatives loved Debbie, saying she was Ohana, meaning family. Debbie went across the “Big Mac” for the first time, the summer of 2015, with Scott and she fell in love with the Upper Peninsula. Annual summer trips to the UP were mandatory after 2015.

Debbie loved to workout, doing jazzercise and Zumba with instructor and close friend Connie Struyk. Debbie and Connie had many adventures including performing Zumba routines in Chicago and the Silver Dome and trips to Mexico, Florida, and Connie’s cottage in St. Charles.

Debbie was a great friend, always willing to help. Be it creating a rock garden, painting, cleaning, or photographing events for family or friends. Debbie was quick to volunteer; she helped organize several 1974 class reunions and was treasurer of the Ionia High School All Class Reunion.

Debbie and Scott first connected their junior year and became a couple. Going into their senior year, Scott messed up and they split up. Over the years they would run into each other and catch up with each other’s lives. During these encounters, circumstances in their lives were not right to get back together. But finally, in 2014, at their 40th class reunion, they reconnected and within 4 months they became husband and wife in a dream ceremony on the beach, on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. In short, Debbie was Scotts first girlfriend and finally his wife. It was an epic love story beginning at birth and interrupted by Debbie’s passing.

Debbie leaves behind: husband, Scott Wirtz; son, James Tingley; stepdaughter, Aime Wirtz; brother, Pat (Gina) McPherson; nieces, Ashley (BJ) Oaks and Paige (Josh) Burch; grandnieces, Avery, Harper, and Berklee; and grandnephew, Tyler; brother, Tom (Laurie) McPherson; nieces, Melissa (Jose) Esquivel and Monica (Lukas) Buxton; grandnieces, Emma, Rajalyaj, Aliyah, Sophia; nephews, Jose Jr., and Tayvn; sister, Julie (Dana) Pierson; niece, Angela (Brian) McCoy; nephew, Cody (Kelsey) Pierson; grandnieces, Kiera, Kenadie; grandnephews, Keattan, and Gabe; sister, Lisa McPherson; in-laws, Jack and Mary Jo Wirtz; brother in-law, Craig Wirtz; niece, Hannah; step-sisters, Debbie Perrien, Brenda Perrien, and Jan (Jim) Buskirk; step-brother Phil (Mary) Perrien; step-daughter Jackie (Jerron) Crawford; stepson, Teddy (Erika) Edlin; step-granddaughters, Savanna, Aubrey, and Erika; step grandsons, Casai and Hunter.

Debbie was preceded in death by her mother, Marion (Hoppes) McPherson; father, Gene McPherson; stepmother, Maxine Perrien; and bonus-mom Patricia Roundtree.

A Celebration of Life for Debbie will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at 481 Conkey Dr., Fenwick, MI 48834 (Woodard Lake) from 3pm to 6pm. Prayers and memories at 4pm. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial to:

Ionia Community Awareness, PO Box 361, Ionia, MI 48846.

You may donate directly, or envelopes will be available at the Celebration of Life and Johnson-Feuerstein Funeral Home, where cremation services have been entrusted. 

To send flowers to Debora's family, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
September 25, 2021

3:00 PM
481 Conkey Drive
481 Conkey Drive
Fenwick, MI 48834
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration of Life begins

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