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    In Memoriam: Deb Gumbley (1951–2021)

    Deb Gumbley passed away unexpectedly on March 12, 2021, at her home in Portland, Oregon, leaving behind her beloved partner of 28 years, Lynne Klaeveman. Deb also leaves behind the many, many close friends who were her chosen family.

    Deb was born in 1951 in Providence, Rhode Island. She spent her childhood in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut with her parents, Hank and Bev, and three siblings, Dave, Steve, and Liz.

    Deb loved sharing her life with others. She had the gift of making people feel a part of her chosen family, while helping them to feel seen and acknowledged, and to live their best lives. Deb was a true-hearted friend, known for her sense of joy, her laughter, and her warm, intelligent presence. If she had one mantra it would be, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and that is the world she tried to create every day.

    Starting in the mid-1980s, Deb worked in Ward 86—the AIDS Ward—at San Francisco General Hospital, and volunteered in the AIDS Program at the University of California, San Francisco. She took great pride in helping people work through the health challenges so many faced during that time, and she was a touchstone of compassion for the sick and dying. 

    In the early 2000s, Deb remade herself as an Information Technology and Networking consultant, and continued in that field for over a decade.

    Deb had a passion for sports. She was a devoted fan of Stanford Women’s Basketball (often traveling to away games with the Stanford team and other fans), as well as a lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants. Deb coached women’s city-league softball in San Francisco for many years, generously sharing her skill, know-how, and love of the game. She also had an excellent eye for photography, with a focus on women’s sports and the beauty of the natural world.

    Deb aspired to be a great cook, and for many years hosted bountiful and boisterous Thanksgiving dinners—not only for close friends, but also for anyone who did not have somewhere to go or family to celebrate with. Deb’s table was large enough for everyone, just like her heart.

    Throughout her life, Deb provided unwavering support and selfless devotion to so many of us. She was a beloved wife and a devoted friend, and she participated in life to the fullest. When we think of Deb, we see her smile, we hear her wry and humorous commentary, and we all remember how good it was simply to spend time with her.

    Deb was a remarkable woman. We are all better for having known and loved her. If you want to do something in her honor, pick someone in your life and treat them with a special, loving kindness—today and every day.

    Monetary donations in Deb’s name may be made to the Kristen and Buster Posey Foundation at

    A Celebration of Deb’s Life is scheduled for September 25, 2021. For details, please email

    Published on August 12, 2021