Gardening 07

Debra Ann Childs

May 17, 2021


On Monday, May 17, 2021, Debra "Deb" A. Childs (Powers), of Houghton Lake, MI passed away at the age of 68. Deb was born on August 17, 1952, in Lansing, MI where she graduated from Lansing Everett HS in 1970. 

Before even graduating High School, Deb would start in a role at the local grocery store, Meijer, where she would go on to devote over 37 years of her career. At Meijer, Deb was a fixture of her community, serving others with pride and building long-lasting friendships with customers who would exclusively seek out Deb during their weekly trips to the store. Deb made a lasting impact on her customers with her everyday kindness and candor that could brighten anyone's day. Colleagues that she mentored during her time there describe her as having a heart of gold and noting her customers were close enough to say goodbye after a transaction with a hug.

In her personal life, Deb was loved equally for her kindness and her endearing quirks. She reveled in what was novel or unique often delighting those within her inner circles, although at times embarrassing her two kids. Those close to her might remember Deb always keeping on hand an assortment of nostalgic candies for her guests to enjoy, her exclusively signing cards to nieces and nephews as "Ant" Deb instead of the correct spelling, her adding a slight roll of her jeans at the ankle to one, but not both, of her pant legs, and her infamously startling friends and family on their day of birth with a special rendition of "Happy Birthday" in her unforgettable singing voice. These quirks were sure to make those lucky enough to be around her smile, but it was her kindness that would make them feel loved. Whether you were family, a friend, or a new connection, Deb would be sure you felt welcomed, thought of, and cared for. 

Throughout her life, Deb enjoyed riding Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, taking trips all over the country with her husband Gary of over 30 years. Together, they also thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors by spending hours fishing, boating, and camping with family and friends. Deb had a love for nature and always took special care of any birds residing around her homes. Most recently, Deb and Gary had also started a new tradition of wintering in Florida, exploring new scenery together.

In retirement, Deb gave back to the area she called home by volunteering at St. Vincent Depaul in Houghton Lake. She enjoyed the friendships that she built there while also making a meaningful impact in the community. Deb had a talent for finding perfectly personalized gifts for those in her life and her work at St. Vincent Depaul only enhanced this ability by giving her access to such a wide variety of inventory. Additionally, it allowed her to find rare treasures for her collections. 

Deb had many loves including books, reading and collecting hundreds of best sellers throughout her life, and Pinocchio, collecting hundreds of puppets and other artifacts depicting the classic marionette character including one tattoo. She also enjoyed gardening, spending hours keeping up her yard and attending to the flowers throughout her gardens, and baking, making thousands of Christmas cookies over the years for family and friends who came to relish in the contents of her annually gifted cookie tins.

But without a doubt, her greatest loves in life were her grandchildren, who although had homes miles away, were undeniably near and dear to her heart. Watching her grandchildren grow up filled Deb with joy daily and their achievements brought her an unmatched sense of pride. Given their distance, Deb was thankful for the ability to take trips within Michigan to watch her oldest grandson play sports and excel in theatre, and travel to Nantucket, Massachusetts regularly, a location she came to love, to close the distance between her younger grandchildren. In between those treasured moments, Deb was grateful for technology to diminish the distance between them, keeping up her connections weekly and often daily. 

Deb is survived by her husband of 30 years, Gary Childs, and her two children, Stacy (Chip) Knorr of Martin, MI, James (Zoë) Browers of Nantucket, MA, and her four grandchildren, Chaz Knorr, Emmeline Browers, Henry Browers, and Robert Browers. Also, surviving are her step-mother, Jeanette Powers of St. Johns, MI, and her two brothers, Robert (Michelle) Powers of Eaton Rapids, MI, and Terry (Patricia) Powers of Lansing, MI, and many nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death is her mother, Juanita Powers, her father, Robert Powers, her sister, Sharon Pollok, and her sister-in-law, Pamela Powers. Memorial arrangements will take place this summer for close family.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please make a donation to the VFW National Home for Children of Eaton Rapids in Deb's name:

The family would also like to give a special thanks to Hospice of Michigan and family friend Cyndi Lewis for her endless kindness and care during Deb's final months.

You can share your memories of Deb on her online memorial page at


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