Deborah Carole Henry Gillikin, 56, passed away on Thursday, May 27, 2021, at her home after a courageous eighteen-month battle with brain cancer. Debbie underwent several brain surgeries, treatments, and a clinical trial performed by the medical team at Duke’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center. Debbie fought Glioblastoma, a very aggressive type of brain cancer, with a beautiful attitude and inspiring courage. She will be loved forever and never forgotten.
Born on January 3, 1965, Debbie spent her childhood years in Wilmington, NC. After spending many summers and vacations at Atlantic Beach with her family, she moved to Carteret County in the 6th grade and remained in this community.
Debbie’s passion in life defined her family, a mother to her two sons, Will and Owen, and to her husband, Curtis. She loved all her people. Her second passion in life was teaching. Debbie was a first-grade teacher at Morehead City Primary School for over 23 years and loved every child she ever taught. Teaching filled her heart with so much joy.
Debbie earned her associate’s degree at Louisburg College then continued her education at UNC-Wilmington, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Education.
Debbie had a love for the outdoors and found tremendous joy in boating. She could operate a boat better than most men. Often, Debbie would take the boat out by herself with the family’s black lab, Luke. She enjoyed fishing with her Dad and brothers aboard the Miss Judy, fishing many marlin tournaments with them over the years. Additionally, Debbie fished in many king mackerel tournaments and fished for fun with her husband and sons. She thrived on being with her family and friends, liked having a good time, and loved to laugh and smile.
Her family meant the world to her, and she enjoyed spending time with her many dear friends. Debbie had many different names. First and foremost, her sons called her Mama; her daddy called her Pumpkin; her Mim and Pop called her Sister; her husband, Curtis, called her Honey; her late Grandfather Lacy Carl Henry began the tradition of Debbie-Doo, and many of her family and friends followed suit with that name. Aunt Debbie was legendary to her nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and many of their friends, who also called her “Aunt Debbie”. Her students called her Ms. Debbie and later on Ms. Gillikin. All her students knew that she loved them dearly. She had a way of looking at the bright side of things and was a very positive person throughout her life.
Survived by her husband of 29 years, William Curtis Gillikin Sr (Curtis); sons: William Curtis Gillikin II (Will) and Owen Henry Gillikin, of Morehead City; mother, Judy B Henry of Atlantic Beach, brothers: Wayne Henry (Tina), Keith Henry (Beth) of Atlantic Beach, and Kenneth Henry (Ashley) of Morehead City; sisters-in-law: Loretta G Baily (Dykeman), and Pollyanna G Cox of Morehead City, and brother-in-law, Charles L Gillikin Jr of Newport.
Nieces and nephews: Hannah Henry Meads (Nick), Jonathan Henry (Lorah), Wayne Henry II, Caroline Henry Petrilli (Anthony), Parker Henry (Mckenzie), Rachel Henry, Charlotte Henry, Dega Lancaster (Robert), Katie Salter (Clint), Dyckman Baily V (Kristen), Charles L Gillikin III (Madeline), Dylan Cox (Kayla), Jared Cox, Logan Gillikin and Ally Gillikin.
Great-nieces and nephews John Michael, Anna, Mary and Henry Meads, Cate and Jackson Henry, Hazel and David Petrilli, Mason Curtis Lancaster, Baily and Anna Kate Salter, Victoria and Caroline Marie Baily. All were very dear to their Aunt Debbie; she loved every one of them with all her heart. They adored Aunt Debbie! She loved having the opportunity to have them spend time with her after-school in the classroom and working with them on their homework. They were the apples of her eye, and they always knew she had their back; no matter what. She will miss not having the opportunity of meeting her own grandchildren, but we will do our best to tell them all about her and her love for them. We know they will meet her in heaven because she will be there waiting for them when their time comes.
Aunts and uncles: Marilyn Ragan (Jimmy), Linda Hill (Kenny), Paula Miller (Ricky) of Oriental, NC, Hilda Gillikin (Rodney) of Williamsburg, VA, and many special cousins.
She was preceded in death by her father, Lacy Meredith Henry, her in-laws, Charles L, and Marie B Gillikin along with many other family members waiting to meet her at the gates of heaven with open arms. God Bless.
At Debbie’s request and by her family’s wish, we extend heartfelt thanks to all caregivers, doctors, nurses, and Hospice. We also thank the First United Methodist Church members, Debbie’s Morehead City Primary family, and the many friends for their support, meals, desserts, cards, and prayers. Thank You to every single person.
A celebration of life service will be held at the First United Methodist Church of Morehead City at 1 PM on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Visitation will follow the service in the Fellowship Hall.
The family suggests memorial donations be made to Duke’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Foundation or First United Methodist Church, 900 Arendell Street Morehead City, NC 28557, supporting our community in so many ways. God Bless and Thank You all.
Condolences and life tributes may be sent to the family at www.noebrooks.net
Arrangements by Noe-Brooks Funeral Home, Morehead City, NC.
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