A Truly Good Obituary [Remembering is Good]
This obituary was written for a very good friend of mine by Mitza Richard. Mitza crafted a beautiful testimony for Debbie that redefines what obituaries should be. The funeral director was torqued off by its lack of lineage but in a culture where that is of small regard the following is far more fitting and relevant. We who knew her know this was the fitting, moving and best way that she could have been memorialized.
Debra Lee Tencza, born July 24, 1954 as Debra Lee Mitroff, always said she would change the world. She loved reading the biographies of the great men of history such as Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt - men whose lives left a mark on generations to come. While Debbie's passing on Sunday, March 28, will probably not be inscribed in the history books or broadcast on the major news networks, she did change the world. It is a better place because she was here.
For evidence of this, just take a look a Debbie's garden. She loved making things grow and would spend hours outside weeding and pruning, transforming her backyard from brown earth to a green oasis filled with the scent of roses an d sounds and colors of songbirds. Her piece of the world may have been small, but she made it a place of beauty and relaxation.
Or, you could talk to any one of the hundreds of school children who have attended St. Bernadette's Elementary School in the past 15 years. I'm sure they would tell you that the school's wonderful playground, which Debbie was instrumental in building, had more of an impact on their everyday life at school than any history lesson.
Better yet, simply talk to those Debbie loved the most, her family and friends. They will tell you she never hesitated to pour out the love of Christ to those around her. She gave her heart and her time to those who were sick and hurting. Whether it was bringing a bowl of soup or just offering a listening ear, she was always there, even when she herself was ill.
Above all, Debbie loved her family: her wonderful husband, Dr. Chris Tencza; her three children and their spouses, Dr. Christian and Dr. Kara Tencza, Rev. KJ and Yendra Tencza, Clare and Jamie Severns; her five grandchildren; and her parents, Edward and Martha Mitroff; and brother, Kenneth Mitroff. They were her joy. Her love changed their worlds, and will continue to impact their lives for years to come.
Debbie Tencza's life is a reminder that while history remembers the great men who have had an impact on many, we remember the people who have had a great impact on us. Each one of us leaves this world different than we found it. We influence the lives of those around us and leave a mark on the earth.
Debbie's life changed the world of many in this community. She will be greatly missed, but we rejoice that she has gone ahead to join Christ in a place of infinite joy. Please join us in celebrating her influence on our lives.
Bio: Mitza Richard is a graduate of Gordon and is scheduled to be married to David Grady this August. Mitiza's writing skills continue to surprise and inspire those around her. She has an invitation to be a regular contributor to this blog.