Obituaries & Tributes

Debra Ellen Levings

Debra Ellen Levings

Debra Ellen Levings, 66, of Roseburg, Oregon, passed away from cancer on July 23, 2019.
Debbie was born in Cottage Grove on Dec. 10, 1952, to Barbara Lynn (Godard) and Paul Loran Levings.
Living amongst her many animals and flowers, Deb made her home in Lookingglass with Ron Breyne, her domestic partner of 40 years. She is survived by Ron; stepdaughter Brittany Breyne; granddaughter Calliope Breyne-Abernethy; and her sisters, Sue Kruse of Shedd, Lori Eckstine of Cottage Grove and Patti Eckstine of Creswell. Deb’s many nieces and nephews were much loved and will miss their Aunt Debbie.
Deb graduated from Cottage Grove High in 1971 with honors, and upon graduating from Southern Oregon State College in 1976 with a bachelor’s in history and music, went on a solo journey traveling America’s historic sites and backroads. President Ford invited Deb to enjoy the 200-year anniversary of the Declaration of Independence’s signing, waving to the ”girl from Cottage Grove, Oregon” watching the fireworks celebration, sitting on the White House lawn.
She went on to become one of the first female EMTs in Douglas County and, as an EMT III in the late ’70s, helped run the first, and only, dedicated cardiac care ambulance between Seattle and San Francisco. Deb became an RN and Emergency Room Charge Nurse at Cottage Grove Hospital. She later helped fragile children who needed 24/7 care, designing care plans and training nurses to make in-home care possible.
As an Oregon Research Institute employee, she helped design and conduct a community tobacco cessation program for Creswell’s youth that gained national recognition as a model for changing community attitudes toward tobacco use. That experience led her into teaching vulnerable youth attending the Phoenix School in Roseburg.
In later years, she pursued another lifelong passion, creating Up Starts! Plant Nursery, growing and wholesaling perennial shrubs and flowers.
The common thread in all of Deb’s life pursuits was nurturing, loving to play a role in seeing life’s potential fulfilled.
A graveside gathering, followed by a reception at sister Patti’s house in Creswell, was held Aug. 3 at Fir Grove Cemetery in Cottage Grove.
Arrangements in the care of Smith Lund Mills Funeral Chapel of Cottage Grove.



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