Debra Mitchell Gamblin

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

FLOWOOD — Debra Mitchell Gamblin, better known as “Debbie,” 61, departed this life on Aug. 28, 2015, after an extended illness.

A memorial service will be Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, at 11 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Reformed Episcopal Church in Flowood.

Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday at the church. A reception for family and friends will immediately follow the service in the St. Stephen’s Parish Hall.

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Debbie was born Dec. 8, 1953, in Vicksburg.  She was a graduate of H.V. Cooper High School, the University of Mississippi, and the National Center for Paralegal Training.  She resided in Jackson for many years, moved to Rankin County in 1998, and lived there until her death.  She was a member of St. Stephen’s Reformed Episcopal Church, the St. Stephen’s Altar Guild, the Sisters of St. Stephen’s, and the Adventure Divers.

She was preceded in death by her parents, George and Lillian Mitchell.

She is survived by her husband, Rick Gamblin of Brandon; sisters, Stephanie M. Dean of Fredericksburg, Va., and Cheryl M. McCollum of Alpharetta, Ga.; brothers, Michael S. (Mickey) Mitchell of Springdale, Ark., and Mark S. Mitchell (wife Yavette) of Vicksburg; several nieces and nephews; and her beloved dogs, cats, and parrot (a motley crew of strays, rescues, and owner give-ups that she “loved more than life”).

After completing her paralegal training, Debbie worked for several years as a legal assistant for three Jackson law firms.  In 1987, she decided to leave legal work behind and utilize her amazing talent for working with animals.  She founded Pet Patrol, an in-home pet care service and alternative to pet boarding, and operated it for well over 25 years.  Debbie cared for hundreds of wonderful pets and became a close and trusted friend of and advisor to hundreds of great pet owners.

Debbie will be remembered for her beautiful smile, boundless energy, determination, thoughtfulness, positive attitude, and love of life.  Many of her friends will remember her college days at Ole Miss, when she worked as a waitress at The Gin (where she was nicknamed “Pint”).

Others will remember the remarkable physical endurance that she displayed while swimming laps at the courthouse pool or running long distances on one of the Phidippides courses or in the Vicksburg National Military Park.

The Adventure Divers will remember her “nuptials”, at which “Father Neptune” officiated, and her rendition of “The Chipmunk Song” (a duet with her husband, Debbie was Alvin) for an injured member of the group on a return flight from the Caribbean.  Many will remember her strong political views, which were from time to time expressed in spirited letters to the editor.

But her family and friends will likely remember most her lifelong love of and concern for animals.

Debbie’s family gratefully acknowledges the excellent care provided to her by her doctors, Dr. Mildred Ridgway and Dr. Tate Thigpen, by her first chemo nurses, Patty Burrow and Lisa Honeycutt, who introduced her to the world of chemotherapy, guided her through its twists and turns and became her trusted friend, and by the nurses, technicians, and staff of the University of Mississippi Medical Cancer Institute, all of whom were unfailingly kind and compassionate.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Mississippi Animal Rescue League, 5221 Greenway Drive Ext., Jackson, MS 39204, to the St. Stephen’s Altar Guild, c/o St. Stephen’s Reformed Episcopal Church, 5049 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, MS 39232, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.