June 30, 1965 ~ November 21, 2014
November 24, 2014 from Debbie's Parents Susan and PaulOur beloved daughter, Debbie Harabedian achieved many accomplishments within her 49 years which included an outstanding career and an active personal life. Deb graduated nursing school as an RN, continued working at St. Francis Hospital while attending school and graduated again in the capacity of a Nurse Practitioner, always striving for improvement. She married Robbie Patus 21 years ago who she deeply loved and gave birth to their beautiful little girl, Kathryn Rose. From the moment Katie was born, she was loved and adored by both Debbie and Robbie. I have seen and experienced the love a mother can express to a child, but Debbie's love for Katie was unsurpassed.When Debbie became ill, I was witness to the strength and courage she had within her, trying to fight this devastating disease. During this time when her brothers, sister and family friends came to visit and they showed any signs of sadness, she reached out to them giving comfort and reassurance that she was 'okay'. As her mother trying to protect her child, I would strive to disguise my heartache. Deb called me her rock. I told her she was an amazing woman who I greatly admired and loved more and more each day, not just for her courage and strength, but for the person she was. She was extremely touched and grateful for my words and said 'thank you Mom, that means so much more than you realize.' Debbie possessed dignity, strength and undaunted courage and never waivered for a moment. I am able to stand here before you with this dedication and tribute because she has now given me her strength.There are so many individuals too numerous to mention, who generously supported her in numerous ways. Pat Pane' organized the night walk for Team Debbie, raising money to fight lymphoma and leukemia. Ann Cella director of nursing at St. Francis along with Mary Gallagher and many more behind the scenes, opened their hearts and doors of St. Francis to find a bone marrow donor on behalf of Debbie. for all your efforts we will be forever grateful.Debbie's husband Robbie, her brother's Bobby and Paulie and sister Jennifer rarely left her side day and night staying vigilant for weeks on end. They rotated their overnight visits never leaving her alone. Even the nurses from St. Francis volunteered their time to stay with Debbie which she greatly appreciated, but there were times she wanted her family to tend to her needs. Words are inadequate to express our profound gratitude for all the love, kindness and prayers for our daughter.Paul and I are so proud and grateful to all our children who surrounded Debbie with gentleness and kindness showing her the true testimony of their love, which is the fulfillment of everyone's dream. God allowed us 5 days with Debbie when she came home to our house. This last journey was an unbelievably beautiful experience, in between our tears, we had laughter and liveliness throughout our home and these 5 days will be forever cherished and looked upon, not as a burden, but Debbie's gift of love to her Dad and to me and the entire family. We want Robbie, Bobby, Heather, Paulie, Jen, Jennifer and Stephen to know how much admiration, love and gratitude your Dad and I have for all the moments of love you so graciously showered upon Debbie. My words seem meaningless, but please accept our profound thanks to each and everyone who was a part of Debbie's journey. We all love you Deb, and may you rest in peace.Eulogy from Bobby HarabedianI would first like to thank everyone for their love and support over these last 4 Â½ months. I know that Debbie truly appreciated all of the personal visits, phone calls, e-mails and text messages.Now, I would like to tell you how the journey began'¦.Robbie and Debbie met in 1989 while working together at Pathmark. Robbie worked security and Debbie as the book keeper. Soon after meeting, Debbie brought Robbie home to meet the family. I am still very surprised that Robbie has put up with the Harabedian family for almost 25 years! His first encounter with my family was at the dining room table at 1 Chadwick Road. My brother, Paulie, was wearing a doorag and my mother snatched the rag in horror off his head for obvious reasons. To her surprise he promptly scoffed at my mother with a 'HA!' and grabbed another doorag from his back pocket and put it on his head. From that moment on, Robbie knew Debbie was a 'Perfect Match' and a 'Great Catch'.After meeting Robbie, her husband to be, she decided to follow in my mother's footsteps and became an RN at Saint Francis Hospital. Just a few years ago, she decided to go back to school to further her career and become a nurse practitioner. She recently graduated but sadly never had the opportunity to utilize her newly acquired skills and knowledge. I know in my heart she wanted to do this for the betterment of herself and her family.As most of you already know, Debbie exhibited a strong A+++ personality in all facets of her life. As her friends at Saint Francis hospital will attest to, she was very organized, extremely focused and a true problem solver. My fondest memories were when Debbie & Robbie would take vacations together and she would carefully plan out every detail of the trip down to the minute. She would return home with photo albums of pictures from their trip. The majority of those 600 + pictures were of Robbie posing with Disney characters, wearing all sorts of outfits – including scuba diving gear I am not sure he even used.Whatever Debbie did, she always gave 110% and never anything less. That was true when helping a friend with a problem or cleaning her house! Many of her friends have expressed that she was the 'Go To' person if they needed help or advice. Debbie enjoyed helping people and often did this without even being asked!Of all the things Debbie enjoyed, going to the beach with her friends and family was among her favorite. Often leaving at a crack of dawn & packing the car with enough food and supplies for a long weekend trip, Debbie, Robbie, and Katie would head off to Robert Moses. Debbie's perfect day was sitting in her beach chair at field 2, lane 2, right of the bath house, sipping her black tea lemonade.Most amazingly, after being diagnosed with Leukemia, she was worried about her family and how WE, not her, would handle the prognosis, treatment, and the unimaginable reality of carrying on in her absence. That selflessness lasted through her final days by carefully planning out the care she required as she was afraid she would be a burden to her family.Her personality shined through – even during her most difficult days in the hospital while undergoing treatment. One clear example of this was evident when at 3am, she ordered Mary Gallagher (her former boss) to start compiling a list of how to improve the care at Columbia Presbyterian. That list would include all the issues and deficiencies she thought needed to be rectified by hospital staff. Good thing Debbie was there to help ensure that Columbia's reputation wasn't tarnished! And to think she thought of herself as a 'low maintenance' kind of person ïŠDuring her stay in the hospital, one fact became increasingly clearer day after day. What I am referring to is the love and adoration she had for Robbie and Katie. She often lamented that her only wish was to be back home with her family. I want her beautiful daughter, Katie, to know that she fought tirelessly each and every day to prolong her time on this earth just to be with her. Above all else, I know she yearned to be there for years to come and to continue raising Katie with Robbie by her side.There is a Billy Joel song titled 'Only the good die young' that poetically captures the tragedy that befalls us. The only consolation that I can take away from this unspeakable tragedy in that losing my sister I honestly feel my brother, sister, and I have gained a brother in Robbie. I know my entire family will do our part to ensure Katie will always fondly remember Debbie, the life she led, and her desire to provide a happy and prosperous environment for her.Please make donation in Debbie's honor which will be used for a Nursing Scholarship fund. Make checks payable to Robbie Patus.