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Deborah “Debbe” Ann Phelps Porter

February 8, 2019 | 7 comments

Deborah “Debbe” Ann Phelps Porter, age 68, passed away peacefully on February 1, 2019 in La Crosse, WI surrounded by her children and grandson.

Debbe is survived by her son Jason (Anne, step-grandchildren Jacob, Emily, Courtney), daughters Jennifer (Russ), & Bridget, grandson Chase and brothers James (Jane) Phelps and Michael (Mary) Phelps. She is preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Margaret Phelps and husband Clyde Porter.

Debbe was born on August 4, 1950 in Rockford, IL. She graduated from Boylan Catholic High School in 1968. In May of 1970, Debbe started a family and over the next eight years, had three children. During that time she also started a job she loved at Kmart. While working at Kmart Debbe made a number of lifelong friendships and gained several additional “kids”. Many of those “kids” remained a part of Debbe’s life after she moved on to a different job.

In 1996, Debbe met Clyde Porter and they settled into a quiet life together. In 1999 Debbe’s grandson was born and she effortlessly became the proud and doting Grandma. In January of 2002 Debbe and Clyde moved to Winona, MN and were married in a small ceremony at their home the following month. Shortly after, Debbe took a job with Shopko, where she worked until retirement in 2018.

No matter where Debbe lived, her love of music followed. If Prince, B.B. King or The Rolling Stones were playing, she was dancing and singing right along. Always one with a quick wit and a sharp tongue, she never hesitated to proclaim her love of the Green Bay Packers. While her address was far from the heart of racing, she was an avid NASCAR fan nonetheless. Along the way, she found a new love…rescuing dogs. However, nothing could bring a smile to her face quicker than her beloved grandson, Chase.

The family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Critical Care and Palliative Care teams at Gundersen Health System for the incredible care they provided to Debbe and her entire family during her last days with us. We would also like to thank everyone at Coulee Region Cremation for the love, compassion, and care they showed our family.

To respect Debbe’s wishes, a private ceremony will be held at a later date. We ask that those who wish to honor Debbe make a donation to any animal rescue organization on Debbe’s birthday, August 4.

“Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today, To get through this thing called life”



  1. Mary R Hall

    I worked with Debbie at Office Max. She was a great person and I have thought of her often. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Bill Nelson

    Sounds like a remarkable lady! My condolences to you, Jason, on the loss of your mother and to all the family. A life well lived is carried on by those left behind.

    • Janet Bushaw Hamer

      Heart aches for the loss of another cousin. My condolences to all the family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    • Diane Schultz

      Deb was a dear friend of many at Shopko!! A very special lady!!
      We had a date set to go to mangos to eat as an early Valentine’s party !!
      I know she was looking forward to seeing all of us!!
      It was such a shock to learn of her death!!
      My sympathy to all !
      Diane Schultz

  3. Tom and Luci Hoocer

    We are so sorry for the loss of your mother. Debbie was a great cousin and will be deeply missed. Never forget the good times and keep those memories close to your heart.

    Tom and Luci

  4. Diane A Fagen

    When we were children Debbe and I lived on the same block and were always together playing. When I was ten, my family moved, but the friendship survived – for three summers, our parents bought tickets to the Coronado Theatre Saturday children’s movie series, and Debbe and I would spend Saturdays together, seeing the movies and having sodas and fries afterwords.
    One lovely memory from childhood was when Debbe and I gave a birthday party for a neighbor’s horse. Debbe’s mom hosted the event in their backyard grape arbor, and my mom made a horse-appropriate cake out of honey, carrots, and oats, which Honey (the horse) ate completely, holding the dish down with her hoof.
    During adulthood, I would talk with Debbe at Office Max in Rockford, but I’m sorry to say that I lost track of her after she moved to Wisconsin.
    I will miss knowing that Debbe is in Wisconsin, enjoying her family, and helping animals.
    Let this be a reminder to everyone to re-connect with childhood friends before it isn’t possible to do so. I wish I had done so.

  5. Linda Leopold

    To her family, sorry for your loss, I had the privilege to work with Deb at Shopko in Winona. She was always ready to listen and give you advice. She was a great lady and will be missed. I will definitely carry out her wishes as I knew how much she cared for her rescue Lady. Just another way she showed her caring heart.

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