I first met Deb when she went to the Cincinnati Bible Seminary. I was driving my old Plymouth Fury station wagon that had 4 snow tires. I picked up some friends at the Seminary and Deb was with them. After dropping her off I was told that she was Tom Smith's wife. I had only met Tom a couple of times, but I knew he was a campus minister at UC.
I did not meet her again until some folks got the idea to start a church on the UC campus. We were a bunch of raggedy looking students, young married folks and workers in our early 20's with the common goal of loving The Lord. These were the days of the Jesus Movement. We met for worship in the cafeteria. As word spread more people attended and the membership grew. We eventually moved to another building at UC. Tom signed on as full time minister and drew a salary.
We divided the members into smaller prayer groups. The group that Linny and I participated in was led by Tom and Deb. They were kind enough to open their home to us for meetings and dinners. Deb was generous to a fault and always a gracious host. We were young and a lot of the ladies looked to her as a role model. I
If memory serves me correctly Charity was about 3 or 4 years old during these days. She was one of the few toddlers in the church and a very precocious little girl. However there was about to be a baby boom.
As I mentioned we were young and some of us were married. One memory I have of Deb is the time we went to a "Marriage Encounter" weekend. I recall arriving at Deb and Tom's home, meeting my wife, who had arrived there earlier and then we all drove to a hotel in Springfield Ohio where the event was held. It was a great weekend.
These were also the days when the TV Show Saturday Night Live was new and funny. A bunch of us would arrive at the Smith home in Western Cincinnati to watch the show and have some fun.
I recall Tom had given Deb some puka beads as an anniversary present. Although I know 25 years is the Silver Anniversary, I am not sure which anniversary is puka.
Another memory is of Deb telling me about the vacation she and Tom took to Gatlinburg. Deb had her eye on a quilt that she spotted in a shop. She bartered with the shop owner and offered to trade a painting for the quilt. Deb made the 4 hour trip home to Cincinnati, grabbed the painting and drove 4 hours back to Gatlinburg and another 4 hours back to Cincy with her quilt. Mercy, we had stamina in those days.
We had gone on to become an official church. Fellowship Christian was born and to honor it many of the young wives, including Deb decided to give birth. I think Linda Cristiani was one of the first to deliver. I recall picking my Linny, who was also preggers, up from a baby shower. It might have been for Deb, who was pregnant with Nellie. The ladies were cooing over Linda's new arrival and dressing her up.
The babies finally arrived, my wife gave birth and my shoulders smelled of sour milk for the next couple of years. I remember visiting Deb when Nellie was born. My Rachael came along not too long after Nellie arrived.
Those were wonderful days and I bless them. I bless the fact that I knew Deb and briefly she was a part of my life. I was fortunate to know her in this world. And I know that I will meet her again in a place were there is no illness, disease or suffering. When I learned that Deb had bone cancer, I cringed because I am aware bone cancer is one of the most painful conditions that a person can endure.
I have reached a point in my life that some of those I love have been called home. I miss them so much. When they come to mind I treasure the memories of the time I had with those friends and family.