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Obituary: Debra Kay Burnett

Published on February 26, 2018 12:01AM

Last changed on February 26, 2018 8:17AM

Debra Burnett

Debra Burnett


Sept. 2, 1967 — Feb. 22, 2018

Debra Kay Burnett (née Grover) was born on Sept. 2, 1967 to Loyal K. and Karen Grover. Mother to Samuel A. Burnett and Joseph E. Burnett and fiancee to Jeralyn O’Brien, Debra lived and worked in Astoria, Oregon.

Debra died too soon and unexpectedly in a winter car accident.

Debra was loving and kind and funny and smart and fun. She laughed easily, made friends seemingly effortlessly, loved movies, music, books and theater, cats and dogs, car racing, sports, good food, strong drinks and spending time with the many people she loved, her family and friends.

Debra saw beauty all around and her friends would often awaken, go online and see a photo Debra had taken. It could be a sunrise, a river or the ocean, deer roaming Astoria, a flower or a landscape. Her morning photos were always accompanied by a cheery greeting.

What meant the most to Debra were her two sons and her family. Debra loved being a mother and knew her world revolved around her sons, Sam and Joe. Sam and Joe were Debra’s favorite people and she loved them fiercely. She loved attending their school sporting events, playing and laughing with them, working on cars with Sam and enjoying the gourmet dishes Joe created. Debra was very close to her parents, usually talking to her mother daily. Her sons and family meant everything to Debra.

Debra was fortunate to find love with her fiancee, Jeralyn O’Brien. Debra surprised Jeralyn by proposing in front of a theater full of friends at Astoria’s Pride Gala. Debra and Jeralyn had plans to marry, enjoy life and travel. They could often be found entertaining friends, working to make the world and their community a better place or playing with, spoiling and laughing at their menagerie of pets.

Debra grew up in Seaside and Rainier and Claskanie, Oregon. While attending and working at Portland State University, Debra moved to back to the Oregon Coast. There she married Eddie Lee Burnett and then raised her two sons on her own. As a single mother she completed her bachelor’s degree from Portland State University.

Debra worked at Oregon Health & Science University, Multnomah County Library, Portland State University, The Daily Astorian, a fitness center, Clatsop Memory Care Center and owned and operated the local Astoria area delivery for The Oregonian.

As a single mother raising her boys, Debra often held two or three jobs. With all of that she still found time to see her parents almost daily and keep in touch with family and friends, many in other parts of Oregon and in other states. Once you were Debra’s friend, you stayed Debra’s friend.

Debra loved adventures and had raced cars, learned to sail, and loved the times she zip lined and snorkeled. She believed strongly in equal rights and equality for everyone regardless of orientation, race or gender and she advocated for what she believed in. Debra’s family and friends are heartbroken at her loss and will miss her forever.

Debra is survived by her mother, Karen M. Grover; father, Loyal Grover (deceased); her sons, Samuel A. Burnett and Joseph E. Burnett; sister, Cheryl M. Strimple; nieces, Jennifer and Mindy; nephew, Jeremy; sister, Bonnie Ragan; niece, Amanda; and nephew, Micheal; sister, Julie Jackson (deceased); niece, Bobby; brother, Dennis Brown; her fiancee, Jeralyn O’Brien; and her many friends.


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