Debra Mears


Mrs. Debra Star “Debbie” Mears, 69, devoted wife, mother, sister, grandma, friend, and neighbor, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, with her family by her side. Born Jan. 20, 1955, in Nassawadox, she was the daughter of the late Earl William Annis Jr. and the late Margaret Johnson Annis.

Debbie’s loyalty to her loved ones was unparalleled — a trait that defined her character and was evident in every aspect of her life. Her 48-year career at the Hermitage on the Eastern Shore reflected her dedication, as the residents became extended family through her companionship and genuine concern for all.

Having watched her mother suffer with Alzheimer’s, Debbie was a longtime supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association through her participation in yearly fundraising and walks. She was a life member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #614, Onley, and selflessly volunteered her time for any and all chapter functions. Debbie enjoyed playing bingo, going to the slots, traveling, and could never resist a Saturday yard sale, all of which she and Sam did together.

Her kind heart was exceptionally vulnerable when it came to babies, both humans and animals, and there wasn’t a stray kitten that showed up at her door that didn’t end up living like royalty. Though her family mourns her passing, they wish to remember Debbie for the love she shared, the lives she touched, and the countless memories that will forever remain in their hearts.

She leaves to cherish her memory her husband of more than 40 years, Samuel Smith “Sam” Mears Jr.; sons, Roger Lewis (Rose) and Jamie Lewis; sister, Teresa Johnson; brother, Earl W. Annis III (Justine); grandsons, Josh Lewis (Wimberly), Nicholas Lewis (Anna), Austin Bridges, Skyler Lewis, and Jay Lewis; great-granddaughters, Adrianna and Emma Lewis; and nephews, T.J. Johnson and Matthew Annis and their families. She is also survived by her mother-in-law, Ethel Schuster; brothers-in-law, Tommy Mears and his wife, Rita, who was Debbie’s best friend, and Dale Mears (Marilyn); sister-in-law, Lois Burton (Joe); dear friend, Judy “Juju” Zimmer; her caregiver, Mary Scarborough; as well as many other special friends and neighbors whose support and love will be forever remembered by Debbie’s family.

Funeral services were conducted from the chapel of the Williams-Parksley Funeral Home on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, at 2 p.m., with the Rev. Harold E. White Sr. officiating. Interment was in the Liberty Cemetery.

Contributions in Debbie’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Southeastern Virginia Chapter, 6350 Center Drive, Suite 102, Norfolk, VA 23502,

Memory tributes may be shared with the family at

Arrangements were by the Williams-Parksley Funeral Home.

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