Debra A. Scanlon entered the kingdom of heaven on May 17 the same way in which she lived her life: with courage, love and grace. It is often said that all people die but not all people live. Debbie lived for and was completely devoted to her children. Although her precious life was cut short, Debbie most certainly lived! Our beloved Debbie died peacefully in the comfort of her home surrounded in love by her family. She was 49.
Most kids dream of growing up to be a dancer or ballplayer, a doctor or maybe a teacher. From the earliest age Debbie’s only dream was to be a mother. She realized that dream twice over and was a mom to two amazing kids, Luke and Avery Scanlon. Luke and Avery will forever remember their mother as simply the “best mom in the world.” Debbie’s commitment to the kids was never-ending as she loved them more than life itself, and her husband, Jimmy, was content to be in third place, “a distant third,” as Deb would affectionately remind him.
Debbie was diagnosed in 2019 with a very rare form of cancer. Her only goal was to get better for her children. With the heart of a lion, she fought an extraordinary and brutal battle that left both her doctors those few who knew the depths of her struggle in awe.
Debbie would want all of us to think of her with a smile and remember the good times, laughs and joy shared with friends and family over so many wonderful occasions throughout the years. She most certainly would want us to be comforted knowing she is at peace and with her Heavenly Father, as well as family gone before her. Debbie’s shining spirit will always be with us all and she will forever remain in our hearts.
Born on June 4, 1971, in Baltimore, she was raised in Waltham and graduated from St. Patrick’s High School in Watertown. She earned an associate degree from MassBay Community College and then worked as an X-ray technician at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Debra married James C. Scanlon on Aug. 11, 2001, in Saint Brigid’s Church in Lexington, and they have made Hopkinton their home since 2002.
Debbie is survived by her husband, Jimmy, and their children, Luke and Avery Scanlon; her parents, Paul Chaisson (Nancy) of Stow and Patricia (Miszczuk) Paragona (Joe) of Waltham; her sisters, Theresa Chaisson (Steve “Tex” Annas) and Ann Clark (Michael), both of Milford; her in-laws, Michael Scanlon (Cheryl) of Englewood, Florida, Michael and Steven Scanlon, both of Sugarloaf, Florida, Dana Dianni of Denver, and George Dianni (Cindy) of Lagrangeville, New York; and by nieces, nephews, many aunts, uncles, cousins and a host of adored friends.
Family and friends will honor and remember Deb’s life by gathering for calling hours in The Parish Center of St. John the Evangelist Church, 20 Church St., Hopkinton, on Friday, May 21, from 4-7 p.m. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday in St. John the Evangelist Church at 10 a.m. Burial is private. Arrangements are under the care of the Joyce Funeral Home, Waltham.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in her name may be made to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave., New York, NY 10065 (mskcc.org).