Debra Ann (Dickens) Miller, 65, of Levels, WV, died on Thursday, July 19, 2018, surrounded by her family, at the Winchester Medical Center after a brief illness.
Debbie was born September 9, 1952, in Cumberland, MD, the daughter of the late W. Quentin and Mary R. (McBride) Dickens, life-long residents of Levels, WV.
Debbie is survived by her two step-daughters, Alana K. Miller of Winchester, VA and Angelique K. Arrington of Smyrna, GA and her sister Janie Dickens-Bowman of Winchester, VA. Surviving also are her grandchildren, Joshua R. Loy and son Caisen Z. Loy of Augusta, WV; Jeremy M. Williams and Josey R. Nail, both of Winchester, VA; and Zoey A. Arrington of Smyrna, GA. Debbie is also survived by her nieces, Danielle S. Seib and daughter Alexis G. Seib of Fort Ashby, WV as well as Isabella R. Dickens-Bowman and Olivia C. Dickens-Bowman both of Winchester, VA. She is also survived by her last remaining aunt June M. Chaney of Levels, WV, along with several cousins on the McBride side of the family. Additional survivors are her brothers-in-law, Gregory W. Bowman of Winchester, VA; Daniel T. Abernathy of Fort Ashby, WV; and Richard E. Bittner of Cumberland, MD.
Special acknowledgment is extended to Debbie’s work family at the Allegany County Courthouse in Cumberland, MD for all their love, support and appreciation of her over the past 24 years. Also, extreme gratitude goes out to Bobby Loy and his extended family for all the selfless assistance and support provided to Debbie and the Levels Dickens family over the years. Additionally, special thanks go to Shane Ruggles and the Ruggles’ family of Levels, WV for all their kindness and inclusion of Debbie to their family in recent years.
Besides her parents, Debbie is preceded in death by her husband Gary C. Miller; her sister Susan D. Dickens; and her aunt Anita M. “Ditty” Dickens.
Debbie was a 1970 graduate of Hampshire High School, Romney, WV where she was an outstanding math and science student, was senior class secretary/treasurer, and was a Trojan letter girl. She attended West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV; Frostburg State College (now University), Frostburg, MD; and graduated from Castleman’s Business School, Cumberland, MD.
Debbie’s professional life involved a variety of administrative roles, primarily in the legal field. She worked many years for the law firm of Wilson and Wilkinson, which originally included attorney J. Frederick Sharer, all of Cumberland, MD. Soon after his appointment to the Circuit Court bench, Judge Sharer hired Debbie as his assistant in September 1994 where she remained working with Judge W. Timothy Finan until the time of her death.
Debbie was a life member of the Levels United Methodist Church where she was baptized and then later served as Sunday school teacher, church treasurer and played piano. She had previously been treasurer of the Levels Cemetery fund. Most recently she had been attending the Calvary Assembly of God Church, Fort Ashby, WV and enjoyed reading many Christian authors and doing Bible studies.
A strong woman of faith, Debbie (who fondly became known as “Deb” to some) was a kind-hearted, compassionate soul who was extremely generous and giving, especially to her close family and friends. She always put others ahead of herself. Assuming a natural role of “caregiver” to many immediate family members over the years, she was also an avid animal lover having had numerous pets throughout her life, including cats, dogs, horses, birds, fish and even a raccoon named Bandit. She was a fierce protector of natural resources and the environment, and she enjoyed spending time outdoors mowing, gardening and hunting. She was a collector of all things “owls”. Some of her fondest early memories were as a Green Bay Packer fan and attending several NFL games in the late 1960’s with her father in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, DC. She loved history and had a keen interest in genealogy, in particular the family lineage to English author Charles Dickens. She was a gifted musician having played the piano, the clarinet, and most recently, the viola. Like her grandmother Dickens and her aunt Ditty, Debbie was a talented cook and baker, with a specialty in meringue pies. Her reserved, humble demeanor and presence will be sorely missed but always remembered and hopefully emulated by others.
Family and friends will be received beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, 2018, at Shaffer Funeral Home, Romney, WV, with a memorial and celebration of life service to be held at 2 p.m. Interment at the Levels Cemetery, Levels, WV will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Hampshire County Animal Control Center, 142 Twin Oak Rd., Paw Paw, WV 25434 -OR- The Levels Fire Dept., PO Box 12, Levels, WV 25431 -OR- The Springfield Fire Dept. PO Box 99, Springfield, WV 26763 -OR- The Levels Cemetery fund, C/O Ronnie Watson, 263 Watson Farm Ln., Levels, WV 25431
Arrangements are under the direction of Shaffer Funeral Home, Romney, WV.