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In Memory

Debbie Lynn Del Papa

Debbie Lynn Del Papa


December 25, 1950 - May 13, 2021

The Bakersfield Californian23 May 2021



She entered a room with that brilliant Debi Del Papa smile. It's probably the first thing you all remember about her. It could brighten your day. And it was genuine.

Debi was born on Christmas morning, 1950, and she lived her life in Old River, California. She passed away in San Luis Obispo on May 13, 2021 after a tragic accident while visiting her favorite place, Pismo Beach.

Debi was a true farmer's daughter, and she loved her country life. She attended Lakeside Elementary and West High Schools, Bakersfield College and Cal Poly, after which she began her 32-year career as a teacher. She spent most of her years helping young children learn, primarily at Buena Vista Elementary, where she began teaching kindergarten through third grade at what was then a little country school. As Bakersfield grew, the little school grew, and she ended her career with her favorite children, those in kindergarten. She was a wonderful teacher, who lovingly but firmly got those children off to a good start in life.

When her son, Bernard, was born, Debi seamlessly moved into her primary role of mother. She was an amazing mother, putting Bernard above all else in her life. Debi was so proud of him, and to this day, she truly would light up when he was near. But all of that changed slightly three years ago, when her sweet and sassy granddaughter, Betty Violet, was born. She was the newest and brightest light of her life, and everything Debi did was with Betty at the front of her mind. Even Bernard took a back seat to Betty! And of course, Debi's relationship with her sister, Pati, and her mother was beyond the norm. The three were always and everywhere together.

Creativity was abundant in Debi's life. She was exceptionally talented and meticulously paid attention to every single detail while creating beauty all around her. That talent could be seen everywhere, from the decorating in her house to her beautiful and lush country yard.

Debi's faith was especially important to her. And she will be remembered for her kindness, loyalty, and loving care. As many of you reading this are aware, she remembered all occasions or gifts with a personalized, hand-written note. And during the past year, while dealing with her cancer diagnosis and treatment, Debi maintained that trademark smile, always upbeat, never letting others know of her difficulties, but instead asking about their lives, and always remaining positive. She was truly special.

Debi will be lovingly remembered by her father and mother Frank and Evelyn, her sister Pati, her son Bernard and his wife Diana, her granddaughter Betty, and one more grandchild to be arriving at any time. She was preceded in death by her little brother Frankie, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The family is forever grateful to Debi's dear friends for their kindness, their thoughtfulness, and their prayers, too many to mention here.

A Rosary service will be celebrated in memory of Debi on June 25th at 9:30 AM at St Francis Catholic Church, 900 H Street, in Bakersfield, immediately followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your favorite charity.


Photos from the West High yearbooks available through Ancestry.com.

Debbie was an extremely popular person at both West and South.  It was not difficult to find photos of her from her high school years.

Like so many that transferred to West High, she was technically a part of the South High Rebel Class of 1968.

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05/23/21 02:38 PM #1    

Vickie Burke (Schallock)

i will never forget Debi's brilliant smile. She was always a truly nice person! Although we only got to be classmates for one year, I think she made a positive impression on all of us who knew her, Here is a photo from our freshman yearbook...she was voted Freshman Princess for the '64-65 Winter Formal. Rest In Peace, Debi. 

05/23/21 06:53 PM #2    

Tony Cornett


Debbie was one of my best friends since our freshman year at South.  It did not get any better as a human being than Debbie. We spent three years at West together and two at B.C.  Always with a big smile to greet eveyone.  Debbie was very witty and humorous plus very intelegent .  She will be missed and there is no replacing someone like Debbie.  I am blessed to have known her.  God bless you Debbie Del Papa. 

Tony C

05/27/21 02:06 PM #3    

Steven Tinsley

Although I was acquainted with debbie, I didn't know her well. Even so, we all knew of her. She was was one of those iconic people destined to be queen of whatever event was currently unfolding. So sorry to hear of her passing...

05/28/21 11:30 AM #4    

Gary Plotner

Debbie was without a doubt one of the nicest and most beautiful people I've had the pleasure to know. Our sons have been friends since high school and remain close, so we have been around one another for years. Every time I encountered her she brightened my day. I can't imagine the pain that Patti and their parents are going through. She was one of those people that if we were lucky enough to know, forever enriched our lives. RIP dear friend. 

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