Local Obits

Obituary of Deborah Rousseau (Combs) Fox


Deborah Rousseau Combs Fox (86) a longtime resident of Freeville, died January 16, 2024, surrounded by her family. Deb was born January 9, 1930 in Hudson, to Paul Combs of Three Mile Bay and Lillian Southern of Greene.


She married Donald “Skip” Fox in 1957 and raised five children. Deb is survived by her children; Matthew Fox of Binghamton, Christopher (Susan) Fox of McLean, Benjamin (Jennifer) Fox of Harford, and Sarah (Jorge Eller) Dayton of Manlius. She is also survived by her second husband John Debell of Ithaca, dear friend and companion Pete Deierlein of Chittenango, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her daughter Deborah Robin Fox in 2011 and grandson George Fox in 2007.
She lived and gardened in many beloved areas of New York State throughout her life and many of her gardens continue to flourish. She made many lifelong friends in Claverick, Bronx, Cortland, Binghamton and Freeville. She loved traveling and camping throughout New York, especially at Long Point State Park with her family. Deb attended high School in Cortland and continued her education taking classes at Harper College of Arts and Sciences and Binghamton University. She later enrolled in the nursing program at Tompkins Cortland Community College. She worked at Cortland Memorial and Tompkins County Hospital. Later she worked as a private duty nurse in Dryden, Cortland, and Ithaca, and made many dear friends through her work.
Her favorite song was My Old Brown Earth by Pete Seeger: “To my old brown earth and to my old blue sky…l’Il now give the last molecules of l”

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