Debbie was educated at Sedbergh for several years before going on to King's Hall, Compton from where she graduated. She spent two years at Queen's Gate in London, England and followed that with undergraduate studies at Queen's University in Kingston. She settled in Toronto and became a Registered Financial Planner, starting her own business, which she led successfully until her death. She was a Governor of the Sedbergh Foundation and a Board member of MDRT, the financial group which works to improve ethical practices in the investment business.
She was known as an astute and dedicated financial advisor.
Debbie lived her life passionately, always with energy and joy.
Skiing, riding, travelling, and gardening were favourite pastimes in which she participated whenever she could. Her business life excited her and she generously helped friends and clients and family build better financial futures for themselves. Her positive spirit, her joy of life, and her willingness to help anyone made her a bright light in so many lives.
Debbie married Ken Neale in May, 2013.
Debbie fought cancer with incredible determination for four years, but as her husband Ken writes, "Unfortunately, as it so often does, the cancer simply finally took over and outflanked anything that medicine or Debbie's determination could do to stop it."
Many of us have personal memories of Debbie over the years. Mine began in 1957, just before Christmas, when I was allowed to pick her up out of her cradle. Five years later, in the little classroom by the front door of the old school, where I was trying to teach geography to youngsters who were much more interested in being outside, little feet would clatter on the wooden floor of the dining hall and Debbie would burst in and sit facing the big map, excited and very focused. When I would ask what the capital of New Brunswick was, it was she who gave the correct answer, and try as I might to fault her, I could not - she knew them all! And now, after all these years, she has still been giving me the right answers, this time building me a safe financial future.
A celebration of Debbie's life will be held later. Information will be broadcast through the Sedbergh website and this database.
All Old Sedberghians who knew Debbie send heartfelt condolences to Tom and Ann, to brother Ken, to husband Ken, to the entire Wood family, and to all Debbie's many friends.