Debbie Lynn Wharton was a caring daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She left this world suddenly on Feb. 4, 2021, at the family home in Oakville, Washington, at age 67 after an extended illness.
She was born to Ben and Betty Richards in Morton, Washington, on Aug. 18, 1953. The family moved around from Washington to California and back, living in various towns until settling at the longtime family home in East Hoquiam.
She met the love of her life, Ed Wharton, in December of 1970. They knew right away they were meant to be and married on April 24, 1971, at the Wharton family farmhouse in Brady, Washington. She graduated that same year from Hoquiam High, eventually moving to Forks, Washington where they stayed until 1975 when they moved back to Grays Harbor to run the family farm in Brady.
Over the next several years, Deb focused on raising her children and working in many capacities including school bus driver for the Montesano School District, assisting with the family farm, WSI Swimming instructor, driving truck for Wharton Trucking, training horses and giving riding lessons.
Deb loved horses, loved to lead and loved to be in charge. This was evidenced by her 35 years as a local leader in the 4-H program; serving four years as a member of the Board of Directors for the Washington State 4-H council. She trained several local kids how to care for, show and ride horses, often providing gear to those in need. Deb could be seen at the local fair every year from sun-up to sundown working in the horse barns and giving guidance as only she could.
Deb was known for her generous, loving heart and a stubborn streak that was unmatched. Until her health declined, she was always busy, and always in charge (even if she wasn’t).
She was preceded in death by her brothers, Mike Richards and Daniel “Pete” Richards, and her parents.
She is survived by her husband Ed Wharton (Oakville); sisters: Sandy Heimann (Olympia), Angi Richards (Lacey) and Pam (Mike) McNeal (Green Cove Springs, Florida); daughter Tricia Wharton (Tacoma); son Jason (Molly) Wharton (Aberdeen); grandchildren: Bradon, Ashlee, Emily, Bodie, Natalie and Jesse; as well as many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and longtime friends.
No service is scheduled at this time, however a celebration of life is in the planning stages. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in her name to the Grays Harbor County 4-H program at 34 Elma McCleary Road, Elma, WA 98541.