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Old 02-01-2021, 07:26 PM   #1
Neil's Avatar
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,118
A tragic loss for one of our beloved members.

On January 23 Deb, wife of Kevin "Mudrat" Mackenzie, passed away unexpectedly.

What follows is the tribute that Kevin wrote.

Deb and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on December 24, 2020. I remember telling her that I could not believe we’d shared 15 years as husband and wife—that she put up with my mountain shenanigans for so long. I never expected to be blessed with such a kind and loving soulmate.

I also did not expect to lose her so soon. Deb, the other half of my heart, passed away on January 23 of a massive brain bleed. I held her hand at the hospital as her heart took its last beat. *Please read to the end for viewing times.

Deb was a Christian as am I. Though I know she’s with Christ in a place free of her debilitating chronic pain and the chaos of the world, the loss is unfathomable. I feel like I am drifting in time with my essence stripped away. I feel as if I will suddenly awake from this nightmare when she walks back into the room. I realize that will never again happen. She is gone. Her three kids, my parents, the rest of the family, and all she touched are devastated by this sudden loss. Her petite frame harbored a larger-than-life personality and left a lasting impact on those who knew her. She was unselfish, kind, generous, and fiercely loyal to those she loved.

She was also a private person. While many of you who know me did not meet her, I want to talk about a small part of who she was (a full account would be a book), something that reflects her spirit. Wendy Hall owner of Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Deb were best friends for over a decade. Wendy, a gifted artist, paid tribute to Deb’s soul and passion by creating this pastel as a tribute. In the pastel, Deb is interacting with Mellor, a gentle barred owl that was in our lives for 8 years. An upcoming pastel, will reflect Deb’s passion as a fiery golden eagle warmed to her for the first time—Deb was the only one this eagle really took to. She was taking a photo when it hopped on her arm much to everyone’s surprise. It simply liked Deb and realized that she had no fear of it regardless of its size.

Deb was a part of the Refuge and she and I, over years, sat inside the animal enclosures interacting with various critters as we photographed them. Imagine Deb with a red fox clamped onto her pocket because it smelled cheese crackers, a merlin perched on her hand, a fawn nuzzling her neck, or a coyote curiously walking the cage as she soothed it with calming tones. Imagine hundreds of songbirds over the years tucked in her neck or resting on her chest after a feeding—she used her body’s warmth and the rhythm of her heartbeat as part of the rehabilitation process. She “whispered” many from the brink of death to be released back to into the wild—she was a wildlife rehabilitator with a gift. Animals took to her because she had no fear, just an understanding of the unique personality of each individual—yes, songbirds and all wild animals exhibit distinct personality traits even compared to others within their respective species—she could read the nuances of body language and focused her passion into seeing them well again. If they died, she mourned each. Deb’s photography will live on as her spirit will live on in the animals she helped save and now roam free.

Deb was open about her wishes so, in lieu of flowers, please direct a donation in her honor to Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.
The best, the most successful adventurer, is the one having the most fun.
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