Deborah (Debbie) Anne Stewart Bjarnarson passed away peacefully on March 24, 2023, with family by her side at the Gladstone Health Centre.
Debbie was born on September 13, 1956, in Gladstone and was the third child of Marland and Jean (Rusk) Stewart. She was raised on a family farm in the Golden Stream area nine miles southeast of Gladstone. She attended the Golden Stream School from grades one to six and when that school consolidated, she attended grades seven and eight at the Gladstone Elementary School. Her high school education was attained at the William Morton Collegiate Institute in Gladstone and she graduated in 1974.
From 1974 to 1978, she attended the University of Manitoba and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.
In 1979, Debbie accepted a position as a Child Protection Worker with the Children's Aid Society of Central Manitoba in Portage La Prairie. Afterwards, she worked at the Legion Club Room, a hardware store, and the Happy Rock Day Care before returning to work at Child and Family Services where she worked with permanent wards. From there, she held a Social Work position at Seven Regions Health Centre before becoming a Mental Health Clinician for the Regional Health Authority of Central Manitoba, later known as Southern Health.
In July 1981 she married Leon Bjarnarson of Steel Bridge and they resided on a farm six miles east of Gladstone. In August 1988 they welcomed their daughter, Janine Bjarnarson. In 2001, Debbie purchased a home in Gladstone where she lived with her daughter, Janine.
Debbie always played an active role in the community. She was a member of the Gladstone Agricultural Society for over 10 years and also served as the President for a period of time; was a member of the Palliative Care Committee; did canvassing for a number of different charities; and served on the Session Committee, to name a few.
Debbie was an active member of the Gladstone United Church and sang in the choir for many years. She also served on the Worship Committee.
Debbie maintained many long lasting friendships including school and university friends, as well as co-workers. She lit up any room she walked into, was always full of fun stories, and had a wonderful sense of humour with quick-witted jokes. She was forever sending thoughtful note cards and giving meaningful gifts.
Over the years, Debbie enjoyed many activities including: crocheting, cross-stitching, baking, preserving fruits and vegetables, painting and visiting with her many friends and loved ones.
To mourn her passing and cherish many beautiful memories, Debbie leaves her loving daughter, Janine Bjarnarson and husband Brian Perrett; her brother Doug Stewart (Kathy) and their children Marlin (Corinne) and Valerie; her sister Gwen Spek (Dirk) and their children Rodney Spek (Kirsten) - their children Bodhi and Noa; and Pamela Spek-Leduc (Maurice) - their children Sadie and Allie. She is also mourned by many relatives, friends and former co-workers.
She was predeceased by her father, Marland Stewart, in 2012, and her mother, Jean (Rusk) Stewart, in 2016.
In accordance with her wishes, there will be no funeral. A graveside ceremony will be held with her family and friends at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
Central Plains Cancer Services
318 E Saskatchewan Ave.
Portage la Prairie, MB.
Cancer Care Manitoba
675 McDermot Ave.
Thank you to all of the members of Debbie’s medical care team, her supportive family, friends and co-workers.