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Debra Lynn Cantrell

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Debra Lynn “Debbie” Cantrell, known to some as, “Miss Deb,” passed away on Friday, December 31, 2021, at the age of 65.

She was born on January 2, 1956, the eldest daughter of Ernest and Dorothy (Kosiara) Borowiak. She was a lifelong resident of Gaylord. She graduated from St. Mary High School in 1974.

For several years, Deb worked at Hidden Valley Resort and in the kitchen at Otsego Memorial Hospital. She then worked 31 years as a custodian for the Gaylord Community Schools, in both the high school and South Maple Elementary. One of her favorite parts of her job was helping children at lunchtime. She could also be found at the school, many winter mornings, at 4:00 a.m., starting to clear snow off the sidewalks.  Often, while shopping around town, a student would stop her, just to say “hi.” Deb’s passion in life was helping others.

She was a longtime member of the Gaylord Eagles, where often she cooked for weddings and parties. She enjoyed playing cards with a group of ladies and her mom. She was also fond of searching for treasures at the local Goodwill store or garage sales. In her younger years, she enjoyed reading, bowling, and cross-country skiing.

Deb enjoyed taking her granddaughter, Taylor, skiing, to dance lessons, and shopping. Later, when blessed with a great-granddaughter, she enjoyed caring for her, as well.

She also enjoyed going to the casino with her husband, father. and mother. After the passing of her husband and father, Deb and her mom, Dorothy, soon became “casino buddies”. Deb and her late husband, Bill, were also avid Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers fans.

Deb had a kind heart and cared about others. She especially loved kids and would volunteer to babysit for her friend’s children. She touched many lives and developed many friendships. She had fond memories of her “city cousins” coming “Up North” to visit and shop at K-mart.

When remembering Deb, “love much, laugh a lot, smile all day.”

Deb was preceded in death by her father, Ernest Borowiak, her brother, Gary Borowiak, and her husband of 30 years, William Cantrell.

She is survived by her daughters, Camille (John) Ostrom of Gaylord, and Danielle (Ted) Grabow of Hazel Park; her granddaughters, Taylor and Jonette; her great-granddaughter, Violet; her mother, Dorothy Borowiak of Gaylord; her siblings, Gail (Jim) Warner of Holland, and Dale (Lisa) Borowiak of Thiensville, Wisconsin; her nephew, David; and her nieces, Alexis, Madeline, and Grace.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, January 7, 2022, at 11:00 a.m., at St. Mary Cathedral.

Visitation will be held at the Nelson Funeral Home on Thursday, January 6, 2022, from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. St. Mary Altar Rosary Society will offer a Rosary, at the funeral home, Thursday evening, January 6, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. Visitation will continue Friday, January 7, 2022, at St. Mary Cathedral, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Michigan or the Otsego County Animal Shelter.

19 comments on “Debra Lynn Cantrell”

  1. Aunt Dorothy and family, Know that Debbie is in our prayers. She is in heaven with her dad and brother, along with many family members.

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  2. Diane Schunk Kolka

    My heart is sadden to hear of Deb’s journey to heaven.
    Many great memories shared at GHS many years ago.
    She is always in your memories.
    Go there often. She was always smiling and willing to help.

    • A wonderful lady who was a great help to me as a teacher at Gaylord High School. Debbie and Bill could always be counted on at setting up our annual Latin banquet at the school. God Bless.

      • Such fond memories of your Mom. She was a hard worker and dedicated to her job. She was so much fun to work with at South Maple School. We challenged each other about keeping the doors open or closed. She was always hot and I was always cold! I really missed seeing her after she retired! God rest her sweet soul 🙏

        • So saddened to hear of Debbie’s passing.
          She was a wonderful friend and co-worker and will be greatly missed. Debbie was always so kind to my kids when they went through the school she worked at and would always ask me years later how they were doing. Thoughts and prayers are with her family.❤🙏

          • So sorry to learn of Debbie’s passing. She always had a smile, no matter the circumstances. She made South Maple shine as she seemed to be everywhere cleaning. Rest in Peace.

            • Camille, Danielle, and Dorothy, we’re so sorry to hear of Debs passing. She was such a great person. She was a very hard worker and loved her job and family very much. You could always count on her when things needed to get done. Deb loved to have fun and loved her family dearly. God bless your family and remember she is always with you in your heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Bonnie and Mary (Rybicki) Towne.

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            • Emily (McLain) Clement

              Dorothy, I am so sorry to hear that Deb passed away! She was always such a sweet person with a great smile! Keeping you and the family in my thoughts and prayers!

              • Thoughts and prayers to the entire family. Deb and my mother Sharon Grenke were life long friends and both will be missed.

                • So sorry to hear about Debbie’s passing away. She was a bowling friend to me we sure had fun every time we got together. RIP Debbie, see you again someday.

                  • Debbie always had a smile on her face and was always willing to help in so many ways. She had a warm, compassionate heart. Many are blessed by having her a part of their lives.

                    • PATRICIA HOOGERHYDE

                      CAMILLE, DANIELLE, DORTHY, & GRANDCHILDREN, SO SORRY TO HEAR OF DEB PASSING. SHE WAS A GOOD FRIEND, WE HAD ALOT OF LAUGHS PLAYING CARDS WITH HER & BILL. WE TOOK THEM UP TO BOIS BLANC ISLAND THEY LOVED IT. WE WILL NEVER FORGET THE JOY SHE GAVE US. WE ALSO MISS BILL, I AM GLAD THEY WILL BE TOGETHER AGAIN. LOVE & MISS YOU BOTH.

                      • Dear Camille, Danielle, and family, So sorry for your loss. Please accept my sincere sympathy at this most difficult time.
                        We had some really fun times with Deb and their family when we came to visit with Dar and Al.
                        May she rest in peace. Love, with god’s blessing Paul, Teryn, and Corinne Tachuk.

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                      • Julie Mackowiak Kettlewell

                        To Deb’s loving family ~
                        I was so shocked and saddened to see that Deb had passed. She was a good friend to me and so many others all through school, and whenever we ran into each other over the years, she always greeted me with a big smile and a cheerful thought or two. Deb was a real gem, and one of the kindest and most caring people I have ever known. I pray God blesses all of you with His healing grace and strength to sustain you in your time of grief.
                        In deepest sympathy,
                        Julie (Mackowiak) Kettlewell

                        • Sorry to hear the passing of Miss Debbie. I worked with both her and Bill for over twenty five years at the Gaylord schools. They were both great to work with and very good friends.

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