I first met Debby Blumer in 2002 around the time of the mid-term elections. However I did not really get to know her until almost a year later when I discovered that she lived around the corner from my home. I wanted to send her a letter on a particular subject and decided to deliver it in person. She replied a few days later and agreed to discuss the matter with me and offered suggestions. Through the 2004 elections I saw the hard working individual we all came to know and respect deeply.
The last time I saw Debby was at the Framingham Victory 06 Field Office. It was around 8:30PM on the night of October 12th. I was leaving the phone bank having made my calls for the night, but Debby was still making calls as I left. A fitting way to remember her: always working hard for us.
I am writing to say thanks because, candidly, I confess that I didn’t thank you enough when I had the chance. In the rush of daily living we sometimes forget to say thank you to those who are close to us.
On the civic front, thank you for serving our community for over thirty years at PTO, at Town Meeting, on the Finance Committee and at the State House. It is so admirable that you accomplished all of this while you nurtured your flourishing family of husband, children and grandchildren. Admirable also is the fact that you created and sustained a devoted following of friends and neighbors who felt treated as best friends whether you had known them for weeks or for decades.
On the issues, thank you for championing our public schools and colleges, the rights of women to their own personal health choices, the right of all of us to health care. Thanks for meeting or talking with each and every person who contacted you – whether to share a concern over the $25B state budget or synchronizing the traffic lights on Route 30. Thank you for believing and living the notion that government can do good things, that it can be an agent for positive change and progressive values.
With respect to your leadership in our community, thank you for your moral courage in standing up for the notion that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, religion, sexual preference or place of origin.
Thank you for stepping up to be a voice for all of those people in our world who otherwise would have no voice.
In other words, Debby, thanks for being you. I will miss you always and, as my Irish grandmother would say:, “until we meet again may God hold you in the hollow of his hands.”
Your pal, Jerry
For all your passionately compassionate work we thank you. And for the iridescent intellect and Herculean effort you brought to that work, we thank you. And for the perseverant willingness to refuse to quit in the face of daunting odds, for the willingness to refuse to take any opposition as a personal affront, but to see it always as a hurdle to scale, we thank you.
And finally, as a personal inspiration to me as a clear, steady and most articulate voice for the voiceless, I thank you. You are sorely missed. I only hope we can honor you in the way in which you would most want to be honored, but carrying on your work with renewed and continued conviction, always with your example as our inspiration.
Thank you Deb, and Bless you.
The first political campaign I ever worked on was Debby’s 1981 School Committee campaign. I was 18 years-old and that campaign was brutal politically and Debby worked hard and never gave up. Her work ethic then, was the same as it was on October 13th 2006.
Her commitment was the same as well. When she supported something she never wavered, never conceded and never apologized. If she believed something was right she worked for it, whether it was good for her politically or not. I always respected that leadership and courage—too few people possess this level of integrity and it is a very rare politician who does. We may have just lost the last one.
Debby was a very rare human being as well. She had the most genuine sense of empathy of anyone I’ve ever met. She could see all types of situations through others eyes regardless of who those people were or what their lot in life was. That is a special trait and is a quality most people can only emulate and many don’t even try.
What I loved most about Deb however, was her sense of humor. She had a marvelous ability to laugh at herself, and she could chuckle at a situation while still taking it seriously and working to improve it.
One of my favorite last memories of Deb is her showing up at the last Town Committee Meeting with our previous officers. She arrived bearing champagne to thank those who had served. It was a very thoughtful and Debby-like gesture. She brought both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions, not wanting to leave anyone out in her always inclusive style.
Of course she and I tipped the real stuff. Debby worked very hard, but she also knew how to have fun.
I’m going to miss my laughing with my friend and all her wonderful qualities.
-Cheryl Tully Stoll
It is very difficult for me to reflect back on my two years working with Debby. I met Debby for the first time while I was campaigning for the State Rep. seat in 2004, and Debby was campaigning for re-election. I began learning from her and about her immediately. She always showed up for the forums with a loose leaf notebook, each sheet of which was enclosed in plastic, that held all the facts and figures she may need during each debate. I quickly learned to do the same thing.
But what I remember the most about Debby, was shortly after I was elected, she took me under her wing, and immediately was there to support me and my new office. A few days after the my election, she drove me to the State House in her then new car, and introduced me to members of the House, as well as sharing all her files and resources so that I could do my job.
Most of all, I remember her openness and her friendship. She was never afraid to say what she thought, and made herself the voice of those who have no voice. That was the part of her that I respect most. Frequently, she would come under personal attack for speaking up on unpopular issues. I never really knew how this affected her, but with me and publicly, she just shrugged off such attacks.
I worked with Debby for hours each and every day. When we did not get together we spoke multiple times on the phone, coordinating our schedules and working together to make sure Framingham’s needs were met at the state level. In all my dealings with Debby, it was never about Debby. It was always about how she could accomplish things to help people.
After Debby passed away, she continued to teach me. What was not clear to me during her life, was what a stabilizing influence she was on all sorts of fronts, the town of Framingham, the State House, her family and even my life. Once she was gone, it appeared that there was now a gaping hole that was left by her passing that began to throw many things out of alignment.
All I could think of was the tremendous impact Debby’s life had on so many people. Just like the scene from “A Wonderful Life” when Jimmy Stewart’s character realizes how his life affected so many people in a positive way, we all knew that Debby’s 40 years of service had a tremendous and positive influence on the lives of many people.
Thank you Debby, and thanks for your friendship.
It was my great honor and pleasure to serve with Debby in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for three years. During that time, we shared representing and working hard for the great Town of Framingham in the House – and that gave me an opportunity to work with her and to get to know her.
Debby fought incredibly hard and tirelessly for the things that she believed in. For that, she will always be an inspiration to us all. I hope her memory continues to encourage others to serve the public as faithfully as she did.
-Senator Karen Spilka