Deborah “Debi” Lee Bernard McLean, daughter of the late Nannie Gundy Bernard and George Bernard, was born on August 19th, 1950 in Port Chester, New York where she was a lifelong resident. Debi departed this life peacefully on May 19, 2021 at home in Wilmington, Delaware surrounded by her loving children and family. She was 70.
Debi attended public schools in Port Chester, NY and graduated from Port Chester High School in 1968. Shortly after high school she became a Teacher’s Aide for the Head Start program at Horton School in Port Chester. Later she started a long career at International Business Machines (IBM), where she worked in offices in New York City and Westchester County as a Senior Administrative Assistant. Debi retired in 2011 as a contractor for IBM in her last position as a Human Resources Administrator.
Throughout her life, Debi was known to be an avid reader, music lover and great cook. In her younger years she played softball with the Diplomats’ Athletic Club “Cobras” of Port Chester and bowled with the Grace League of Mount Vernon, NY. Debi enjoyed traveling and outings to play Bingo and slots at casinos, especially in Las Vegas. She regularly attended cultural events and festivals like Harlem Week and For Sisters Only, where she collected giraffe figurines to display in her home. She also loved playing cards at home with friends and family. More recently Debi was active at the Port Chester Senior Center and studied with Jehovah’s Witnesses. In August 2020 as her illness progressed Debi and her partner Baymon Lawson relocated to her son Keith’s home in Wilmington, Delaware where she was cared for and surrounded by family.
Everyone who knew Debi would say she was a strong, respected woman with a smile that could light up a room! As the matriarch of the Bernard family Debi was a dedicated mother, a supportive sister, a doting grandmother, a special auntie, loving cousin and faithful friend. She was Ma, Grandma or “Gigi” as her great grandchildren called her. Debi enjoyed movies, especially animated movies, “Happy Feet” was her favorite. She accompanied generations of family children to the theatre to see them. Everything she did was done with love, and her intentions were always genuine. She will be dearly missed.
Debi leaves to cherish her memory her life partner of 40 years Baymon Lawson of Wilmington, Delaware, her children Tiffanny Williams (Aaron) of Silver Spring, Maryland, Keith McLean (Deyanna) of Wilmington, Delaware; her siblings Janice Bernard of Newark, Delaware, Richard Bernard (Pearl) of Bronx, New York, George Bernard Jr. (Valerie) of Newark, Delaware; her grandchildren D’Ashia Beatty, Najya McLean (Amber), Danica Williams, Brendon McLean, Xavier Williams and Jerrell Avant; four great-grandchildren, two Godsons, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Delaware Hospice. Memorial gifts can be made online, over the phone, or via check. See www.delawarehospice.org/donate/memorial-gifts/
A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held Saturday June 26, 2021 from 1-3PM at Craft Memorial Home, Inc. 40 Leicester St. Port Chester, NY. This service will be live streamed. Please see Zoom link below.
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