Deborah Kanani Merrill, Debby to her friends, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Charles F. and Joan Merrill. She spent most of her childhood in San Diego, Calif., and moved to Greeley to attend the University of Northern Colorado, where she received a degree in education and a graduate degree in media science.

Reading and children were two of Debby's passions in life. She put them to good use as an elementary school librarian for 30 years. She started her career at Jackson Elementary School and moved to Christa McAuliffe Elementary School, where she served as the school's first librarian in 1988. She continued to teach and inspire students at McAuliffe until her retirement in 2005. The library recently was dedicated in her honor.

Debby's motto "It's YOUR library" motivated those around her to strive for excellence in education and share her love of reading and the knowledge found in books. She also will be remembered for her legendary stories that often featured her vocal talents in making characters come to life.

Debby also loved nature and her pets. She had a fondness for both the Rocky Mountains from living in Colorado and the ocean from her childhood spent in California. Her greatest treasure in life was her family: the love of her life, Ken, daughters, Kalinda and Chandra, and granddaughter, Neve.

Debby was a beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and teacher.

If you would like to make a donation to Deborah's Memorial in support of adrenocortical carcinoma research, please click here.


Your donation to honor a loved one in our memorial program is important to furthering the institute's mission to develop earlier diagnoses and smarter treatments for patients. All gifts at every level make a difference!

Donation Information

You may also send a gift by mail to:
TGen Foundation
445 N. 5th Street, Suite 120
Phoenix, AZ 85004