CORTLAND, Ohio (MyValleyTributes)—Debara Gonsalves Whalen, 74, of Cortland passed away September 5, 2022 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown.

Debara was born on October 16, 1947, in Warren, Ohio, the daughter of Manuel J. and Margaret J. (Sayers) Gonsalves Young.

She graduated from Warren G. Harding High School in 1965 and went on to become a LPN.

She worked as a nurse until she took a position at Delphi Packard Electric, where she worked until her retirement.

Throughout her life, Debara enjoyed many hobbies and activities, including gardening, traveling and baking. She and her husband, Jack, loved skiing and traveling across the country and world, especially to visit friends and family. As a creative person, she sewed, crocheted and was an avid cake baker and decorator; several of her confections were the centerpiece of family celebrations. She was also a lifelong learner – she had a natural curiosity and enjoyed reading to learn new skills and topics.

Debara was a dedicated parishioner of St. Robert Bellarmine Church in Cortland. She was involved with Lakeview Outreach and Fellowship (LOAF) and parish hospitality and served as sacristan, lector, Eucharistic minister and church picnic chairman. As much as Debara liked learning, she loved teaching children about Catholic faith through Vacation Bible School and Creating Christian Disciples (CCD).

Most of all, Debara cherished her family. Her nieces and nephews, stepdaughters and grandchildren, meant the world to her. She was a dedicated aunt; she cared for her nieces and nephews like they were her own children. She loved her family fiercely and they felt that with every hug. She had a way of making everyone feel special and she celebrated all of life’s moments – no matter how small. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.

Debara will always be remembered by her husband of 39 years, John “Jack” Whalen; stepdaughters, Christina (Michael) Sari and Shannon Whalen; grandchildren, Megan (Matthew) Hansen, Ashley Sari and Miles Sari; sister, Cydne (Jack) Nice; sister-in-law, Helen Whalen; many nieces and nephews who were all fortunate to call her Aunt Debbie, including Kelly (Jimmy) Hall, Jennifer Moran, Thomas Moran, KC (Leslee) Gonsalves, Jacque Gonsalves, Robin Persons, Chuck Nice, Margie Clark, James (Tracey) Nice, Dorothy Nice, Toni-Jo (Michael) Johnson, Cory Nice, Rick (Jessica) Settelmire, Hannah Young, Tabatha (Jeffry) Walker, Amy Cope, Brian Cope, James (Penny) Whalen, Jr. and Jason (Meghan) Whalen and several more relatives from the Whalen clan.

Debara was preceded in death by her parents and stepfather, Wells Young; siblings, Hope Gonsalves Metzler, Kenneth Gonsalves, Wells Richard Young and Leiloni Young; nephews, Nick Cope and Mitchell Hall and brother-in-law, James Whalen.

Family and friends may visit and pay tribute to Debara on Monday, September 12, 2022, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Peter Rossi & Son Memorial Chapel of Warren, 1884 North Road NE and again on Tuesday morning, September 13, 2022 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church, 4659 OH-46 in Cortland.

A funeral Mass will follow at the church on Tuesday, September 13 at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Carl Kish presiding.

Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery in Bazetta.

Friends and family may visit to sign the guestbook and send condolences to the family.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

A television tribute will air Monday, September 12 at the following approximate times: 6:43 a.m. on WYTV, 9:32 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV.