Debbie Schwartz, daughter of our Friend Elizabeth Shamis, died unexpectedly last week. She was 41.
Debra Lynn Schwartz was born February 1, 1974, to Caroline and Robert Schwartz in Pacifica, California. When she was just a baby, her mother became ill, and Debbie's parents asked their friends the Shamises to take Debbie into their family. Debbie grew up from the age of 18 months with her foster parents Elizabeth and Richard and her foster sister Helen, a year and a half older than Debbie. Debbie's mother died when she was 4, and her father when she was 12.
Debbie attended Sibford Friends School in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England, for four years as a boarding student. She was very happy there and made friends she kept all her life. After completing Sibford, Debbie took a program in horticulture and earned a qualification.
Debbie loved to travel. For several years she and friends traveled extensively in Europe and even to Dubai and Sri Lanka. In 1995 she returned to this country. Then she and a Sibford friend took an extensive driving trip around the U.S.
Debbie had a variety of jobs, including catering and working for UPS. The job she liked the most was a position assisting persons with physical and mental challenges to get jobs.
In 2006 Debbie and Scott Hammond started a family. Renee Lynn Hammond was born January 10, 2007, and Sierra Marie Hammond was born January 25, 2009.
Debbie adored her daughters and loved taking them to the park. She helped in Renee's kindergarten class. Always affectionate to animals, she rescued many a distressed and lonely animal over the years.
Debbie was an occasional attender at Sacramento Friends Meeting. She wrote a beautiful and sensitive poem for Richard Shamis's memorial here. Renee and Sierra were part of our First Day School class several times.
Debbie loved her family and friends. She had a warm and tender heart.