Deborah “Deb” Russelle Cecil Youngling was born on November 16, 1948 in Houston, Texas and died December 21, 2023 at her home in Van Etten, New York. Deb was predeceased by her beloved husband, George “Mitch” Youngling, her mother and father, Laurie and Bill Cecil, her aunt and uncle Anne and Jack Gove, and many treasured friends and family. She is survived by her sister, Suzanne Alexander, siblings-in-law Jay and Molly Youngling, Robert Alexander, and Susan Jordan, children Josh Youngling, Sarah Carling, and Liza Youngling, daughter-in-law Becca Youngling, son-in-law Elliott Bacon, and grandchildren Dylan McKibbin, Harley Youngling, Josie “Nevil” Carling, Gracie Voges, Morgan Youngling, and Callum and Phoebe Bacon. She is survived as well by her partner, Arnold Bradshaw, and nieces and nephews, cousins, friends, and neighbors, including Candace Mingins, Alice Mischke, Sue Houlston Wat, and Laura Larison.
Deb and her sister Suzanne were raised by their mother in Palo Alto, California after the death of her father. She first came to New York to attend Cornell University. After college, she worked with the United Farm Workers before joining the Teacher Corps and moving to Montana, where she met and married fellow teacher Mitch in 1971. During their years there they taught on a Northern Cheyenne Reservation, a Hutterite Colony, and a one-room schoolhouse, welcomed children Josh and Sarah, and made many friends. They then moved to Van Etten, over the hill from her best friend Candace, and lived there for 43 years. Deb loved the home she and Mitch built. She was amazed every day by the beauty of the creek, the trees, and the seasons, and she worked to honor them. As an artist and a teacher, she shared her love of art with students in Spencer-Van Etten and with the larger community through the Butternut Gallery and the Pink Arrow.
Deb was creative, loving, and incredibly strong. She showed her love for people through homemade bread, long visits and phone calls, cups of tea, popcorn, flowers, handmade cards, and clay bowls, cups, and sculptures. She gave wonderful hugs and saw beauty in everyone she met and everywhere she went. A memorial will take place at Deb and Mitch’s home this summer. If you would like to be notified when the date is set or share memories of Deb, please contact her daughter Liza at email@example.com. Donations in Deb’s name can be made to Loaves and Fishes, 210 N Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850.