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Debra Riggins Clay
August 6, 1953 ~ March 2, 2023 (age 69) 69 Years Old
Read more about the life story of Debra and share your memory.
Debra Riggins Clay, the only child of William and Doris Riggins, was born on August 6, 1953, in St. Louis, MO. She passed at her home on February 28, 2023. She was predeceased by both parents.
During childhood, Debra’s parents kept her involved in activities, most notably, girl scouts, as a participant in Jack and Jill, and at Centennial Church, which was her church home throughout her life. Debra attended University City High School where she made lifelong friends and was known for captivating audiences with her comical performances in senior high school plays. She graduated in 1971 and remained active in the University City Alumni Association. Debra graduated with honors in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Case Western Reserve University.
She began her career working for Southwestern Bell in telecommunications which later became AT&T. She moved on to US Bank and ended her career in telecommunications at SSM Health Center in 2019. Except for the short stint working and living in Chicago, most of her life was spent in St. Louis, MO.
Family meant a lot to Debra, and during the summer months, her parents would send her to Detroit, Michigan to spend time with cousins. She had an especially close relationship with Shirley, her summertime mom and Richard. Those trips created shared memories.
Although Debra was an only child, she had a sister-like relationship with Brenda Simpson, they were inseparable and because their first boyfriends were friends, the friendship strengthened. The friendship eventually included their families, and they would spend many holidays together. Deb loved Christmas. She was a generous gift giver and would bring extra gifts for unexpected guests.
Her tight knit group of high school friends were with Debra through the highs and lows of life. She is remembered as a no-nonsense kind of person who enjoyed her moments of solitude but was able to crack a joke from out of nowhere.
Debra, an original member of the Kindred Spirits Literary Club which started in 1993 remained an active member until her declining health prevented active participation. Her intellect was respected and admired by members of the club.
Whenever she gathered with family or her childhood, high school, college, and book club friends for fun times, she filled hearts with her beautiful spirit and her contagious laughter. Debra had that special knack for keeping relationships strong and so her multitude of friends became family.
Travel was one of her first loves. Reading, art, music, singing, theatre, and gadgets were Deb’s passions. She loved potato chips, chicken wings and Bang Bang Shrimp.
She is forever remembered and celebrated for her fun-loving spirit, forthrightness, quick wit, love of church, Afrocentrism, and most of all for the special way in which she loved family and friends.
Debra is survived by her cousins: Shirley A. Greer, William E. Greer Jr., Kimberly R. Greer, Bruce (Biff) F. Stark, Richard K. (Cheryl) Wallace, Wayne S, Wallace, Rochelle E Ricks, and Marvis T. Thompson and her friends who were considered family: Brenda Simpson, Rosalyn Gilliam, Melanie Forbis, Karla Brown, Pamela Sanders, Michelle Moore, Melba Regina Hale, Lauren Hale( Goddaughter) Terri Carter, Lynn Kennedy, longtime friend Roderick May of California, Karen Hylton, Beverly Allston-Crump, The Kindred Spirit Literary Club and a host of lifelong friends.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Debra’s Life is at 12:00 PM on August 24, 2023, at Centennial Christian Church, 4950 Fountain Ave, St. Louis, MO 63113.
Live stream: https://www.youtube.com/@centennialchristianchurchs7687 https://www.facebook.com/centennialchristianchurchstl
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Assistance of League St. Louis, Books from Friends, 30 Henry Ave, Ellisville, MO 630113.