On the morning of Tuesday, July 27, Debbie Terech (nee Smith) took her last breath after losing a long-fought battle with emphysema. Debbie was born Debra Ann Johnson in Glendive, Montana, on June 25, 1955, to parents Duane and Mary Johnson (Tennant), the second of four children.
Not long after graduating from Thermopolis High School Debbie married her first husband Mark Smith. They had two sons, Todd and Randy, who became her world. Tragically, Debbie lost both sons only five short years apart — Todd in 2011 and Randy in 2016. This devastated her. Fortunately, she did not have to go throught it alone. She had the love of her present husband, Joe — whom she met in 2000 and married in a small ceremony on the Fourth of July in 2006 — her three siblings and too many friends to count.
After living in Riverton, Rock Springs and briefly in Arkansas, Debbie finally chose Evanston as her home and went to work at the Uinta County Herald. She also later served as publisher of the Bridger Valley Pioneer. After leaving the newspaper business, she worked for the Evanston Business Leadership Network (BLN), the place she was meant to be.
For nearly 13 years she worked tirelessly, educating the public, proving how people with disabilities are really no different from the rest of us. She organized annual banquets inviting marvelous guest speakers and the outstanding people, mentors and businesses that made it all worthwhile.
In 2018, she was awarded the 20th anniversary “Spirit of the BLN” award after previously earning the Evanston “Citizen of the Year” award in 2012. She then moved on to the Uinta Senior Center, where her illness began to accelerate, forcing her to work from home as a job coach, continuing what she loved best — helping others.
She and her husband decided the altitude of Evanston was hindering her well-being, so they relocated to their home in Mesquite, Nevada, and she spent her last seven months where the milder winter and lower elevation were more tolerable.
Debbie is preceded in death by her sons, Todd and Randy Smith; and her parents, Duane and Mary Johnson.
Debbie is survived by her husband, Joe; her brothers, Brad and Jamie of Dubois; her sister, Shelly Rock (Johnson); Shelly’s husband, Jim Rock and their daughters, Sara and Beth, all of Vernal, Utah; her grandson Connor; granddaughter, Kaitlyn; and many more extended family members.
Viewings will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 3, from 5-7 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Aug. 4. Services will be held at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 4. Viewing and services will be held at Crandall Funeral Home in Evanston. A celebration of life luncheon will be held at the Evanston Machine Shop at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday following the service.
Condolences may be made at www.crandallfhevanston.com.