Mary Agnes “Lea” Debien died on June 15, at Edgewood Manor Nursing Center after a lengthy battle with vascular dementia. She was born on January 21, 1927, in Toledo, to Clarence and Ursula (Velliquette) Couture. When she was born, her parents named her Lila Lu, but because Lila Lu was not a saint’s name, the baptizing priest changed her name to Mary Agnes. Though as a child she was called Mary, she adopted the nickname Lea as a teenager, and she was called Lea throughout her adult life. She married Raymond Debien, Jr., of Port Clinton on February 18, 1947, in Bono, Ohio.
She is survived by daughter Peggy and son Joe of Port Clinton, daughter Diane (Jerry) Bristow of Aurora, CO, daughter-in-law Suzanne (David) Debien of Houston TX; grandchildren Jacqueline (Steve) Leamer of Queens, NY; James (Jeanne) Bristow of La Jolla, CA; Weston ( Janet) Bristow of Silver Spring, MD; Amy Bristow of Aurora, CO; Megan (Matt) Houde of Fayetteville, NC; great grandson Bennett Leamer of Queens, NY; great granddaughter Braelynn Houde to be born in September; sister Geraldine (Karl) Christoph of San Diego, CA; and brothers Clarence of Kettering, OH; and Donald (Elaine) of Scottsdale, AZ. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and her son, David.
Lea graduated from Central Catholic High School in Toledo. After her four children were born, she earned bachelors and masters degrees at the University of Toledo in English and Library Science. She was the librarian at Port Clinton High School for nearly twenty years, where she was known by her peers for her professionalism and by students for her helpfulness while running a “tight ship.” Because of her influence, several of her student aides became librarians.
After she retired from Port Clinton High School in 1976, she and her husband Ray moved to San Diego where she worked as the librarian of Mt. Carmel High School in Poway. Following the death of her husband, she worked as a librarian for the Department of Defense Schools in Okinawa, Japan, and Garmisch, Germany, then finished her career at age 70 as the librarian on the staff of the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe in London, England. She loved to travel and made many trips to visit family stationed around the world with the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. After watching her uncle, brother, brother-in-law, daughter, son-in-law and niece, all career military officers, receive their reassignment orders, she was thrilled to finally receive her own orders for the Department of Defense Schools in Okinawa.
In 1997, she retired from London, England, to Port Clinton, where she enjoyed her home overlooking Lake Erie and where her son, Joe, looked after her for several years before she moved to Edgewood Manor.
Services will be private according to her wishes. Memorials may be given to Stein Hospice, the Ottawa County Humane Society, or the Ottawa County Museum. Neidecker, LeVeck & Crosser Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Port Clinton is handling the arrangements. Online condolences may be shared with the family at neideckerleveckcrosser.com.