Debby D. DeFine

December 19, 1953 ‒ February 18, 2016

Chesterville, Ohio

Debby D. DeFine, age 62, of Chesterville, entered her eternal home to be with her Lord and Savior, on Thursday, February 18, 2016, following a brief, three-week battle with cancer.  Debby was a faithful, loving, caring servant of God who will be greatly missed by her family and many, many dear Christian friends.

On December 19, 1953, Debby was born in Canton, OH, the daughter of the late Vincent O. DeFine and Dorothy J. (Lowe) Hochstetler.  She graduated from Hoover High School in North Canton, OH, in the Class of 1971.  She furthered her education receiving a Bachelor’s of Performing Arts at Asbury College in KY, and then a Masters in Performing Arts from Florida State University.

Upon completing her college education, Debby moved to New York and worked in public relations at Bank Hapoalim.  She also performed in several off-Broadway shows during her time there.  She then returned to Ohio and worked as a medical transcriptionist.  She spent much of her free time performing in shows with the Akron Opera House and Akron Symphony Chorus.

Debby was an active member of the Batemantown United Methodist Church, serving as Lay Leader and Director of the Children’s Ministry.  Debby was a wonderful role model to the young people of the church.  Her faith, music ministry, outgoing personality and contagious laugh touched the hearts of everyone who knew her.

Debby cherished the many summers she spent at Camp Sychar in Mount Vernon, where she started going as an 8 year old girl.

She published her first book last year, “Snapshots From My Visit To Planet Earth.”  Debby did believe that laughter was the best medicine.

Debby is survived by her mother, Dorothy Hochstetler; an aunt, Donna Hentschel; and numerous precious, dear cousins and friends.

Debby’s family will greet friends from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 21, 2016, at the Batemantown United Methodist Church, 7974 Yankee St., Fredericktown, OH 43019.  Services to celebrate and honor her life will follow at 3:30 p.m. with Pastor David Spaulding officiating.  Burial will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22, 2016 at Paradise Church of the Brethren Cemetery, 3000 Apple Creek Rd., Smithville, OH 44677.

Memorial contributions, if desired, may be made to Hospice of North Central Ohio, 1050 Dauch Drive, Ashland, OH 44805 or to a mission she lovingly supported, West African Education and Medical Mission, Inc., 2509 W. Sylvania Ave. Suite 13, Toledo, OH 43613

Snyder Funeral Homes of Mount Gilead are honored to have been chosen to serve Debby’s family, and your condolences and special memories may be shared with them by visiting


Celebrate me Home,

Celebrate me There,

Celebrate me in that Land of Wonder,

Where nothing can compare.


Celebrate me in that Place,

Celebrate me Saved by Grace,

Don’t just sit and weep because I’m gone,

Celebrate me Home.

  • Dorothy,
    I have no words for your loss. My many thoughts of my short time with her will make me both cry now and hopefully laugh later. I loved her and you MOM.

  • We loved Deb dearly. She was and will always be part of our family. We love you too Aunt Dot.

  • Dear Aunt Dorothy. We love you and will miss Deb – but Heaven’s gain – she is singing for Jesus & a host of angels (as well as telling jokes) we will see you next trip to Ohio. Much Love from us & Mary Jane (Define) she said you are in her prayers.

  • I am so sorry for the loss of Deb. She was a true gem to this world. I will miss her cheerful voice greeting me at the post office!

  • To the Define Family:
    As many others, I am still in disbelief at the loss of a dear friend in Christ. I met Deb when we both started lay speaker trsining and quickly gained a friend. Her zest for serving her Lord was evident anytime I was around her. I will always remember her great smile and lingering laugh. God has truly gained an angel much too soon. Thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
    Roger Marra

  • Deb was such an amazing person and truly one of a kind. I believe she touched the life of everyone she came into contact with. She was so much fun to be around. I worked with her at the Asher’s office and feel blessed to have known her. I hadn’t talked to her in a few years other than a few messages through Facebook but I will miss her a lot. Dorothy I’m so sorry for your loss. You raised an amazing lady.

  • I had the honor of singing with Deb at Asbury College, and was privileged to call her my friend. She oozed talent, humor, compassion and understanding. She will be greatly missed by all who had the joy of being her acquaintance. My deepest sympathies to the family. My heart aches with yours.

    • I also knew Deb from Asbury. Bobbi said everything I would have said. We all loved her and that special voice she used to sing praises to our Lord! You are in our prayers.

  • Dearest Dorothy…… we have talked a few times on the phone these last three weeks, I know where Deb got much of her personality……humor…..sense of self…….love for the Lord and the many other parts of her persona. You have been a marvelous Mother & raised a beautiful human being…….God used her in marvelous ways to honor Him. She will be sorely missed but has arrived in heaven, enjoying her eternal reward. Knowing we all will join her one day brings peace & hope to our hearts. Know you are loved and remembered in prayer.

    Chuck & Patti

  • Dorothy,
    I feel so blessed to have had the time last month with both you and Deb. She was an amazing woman that touched so many of us, in so many ways. I appreciate all the prayers and support I received from you both this past year. Her unselfish nature, her faith in our Lord and her love for life have inspired so many of us! I hope that you know that the outpouring of love and support for you at this time is real! You raised an amazing daughter, and should take pride in everything she accomplished in her time here on this earth! Oh, how I know how joyful her voice must sound in heaven, with a heavenly hosts of angels singing backup to her! I love you, my dear, sweet Dorothy! Take comfort in the promise of what is yet to come!

  • Dear Dorothy and family,
    I had not seen Deb in almost thirty years yet remember her and also you so well. I am so sorry for the loss you must be feeling. I will keep you in my prayers and remember Deb always.
    Linda Hampton

  • Dorothy,
    Its Connie. I am related to you and Deb through my mother’s side Snyder/ Lowe. You were my music teacher at Middle Branch middle school. You were a huge influence on me. I have been singing all of my life, chorales and Musical Theater. I went to high school with Deb and were friends. Then we went onto college. I live in California now and have been a physical therapist for almost 37 years. Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch wth Deb and my classmates. I ordered and read her book. I found out you are a twin! Losing Deb has really affected me. Being the same age brings being mortal to my consciousness. Just know Deb made a huge Snapshot on this Planet Earth with her love and grace.

  • Dearest Dot,
    I am so sorry for the heartbreaking loss of Deb. I am still in shock at hearing the news of her illness. She made going to work at KCH so much fun and she brought me so much joy those few years we worked together. I couldn’t wait to get to work to laugh with her! She was such a shining star in life and heaven sure gained a wonderful and talented angel. Her nickname for me was Bunnifer ~ makes me smile every time I “hear” her say it!
    Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you at this tragic time.
    Love and hugs,
    Bunny, Sam and Jillian Vance

  • Dearest Dot,
    I’ve always marveled at the easy going friendship you shared with Deb. You would know her answers before she spoke them. Ive seen you two communicate with each other without a spoken word, all you needed was a visual connection. The utter respect and loyalty between the two of you made me become a more present daughter to my own mom. She too has entered the gates of heaven but I thank you for being an example of unconditional love , encouragement and truly show compassion REAL compassion to those you came in contact with. No one ever left your presence feeling alone or orphaned. You simply opened your wings (disguised as arms) and envelope them until they pull away having a new light in their eyes. You did that with me on more than one occasion
    Dot just know we all love and care so deeply about you. Dot you gave your daughter the freedom to accept her God given gifts and she used them impeccably well as evidenced in these past few days of everyone sharing their thoughts,love,stories, encouragements and mighty prayers for you and Deb. In all, no one can step back from this and say they have not been touched or changed by having shared a friendship with you and that wonderful daughter of yours. Thank you Dot for being Debs mother. We who knew her will always carry in our hearts the love and laughter and shining star that is Debby. Until we meet again my dear,dear friend.
    Judy Schlabach

  • Aunt Dorothy,

    Bonnie and I were shocked and saddened. We are very sorry for your loss. Deb is always such a breath of fresh air to anyone she knows. I’m certain that the heavenly host are rejoicing in her company. May The Father give you peace in believing and encouragement through His Spirit and the love of Christ. We love you Dorothy.

    Ted and Bonnie Miller

  • Dorothy,
    I can’t imagine what you are going through. I’ve always felt the worst trial we would have to suffer was for a parent to have to bury their child. Although Sandy and I exchange Christmas greetings each year, I had lost touch with Debby until a class reunion at Asbury in 2010. It was like we had never been apart, because that’s the kind of person she was. She befriended a lost little girl at Dueber church, spent time talking with a couple from North Dakota she hadn’t seen in years, and did it with a smile and intensity that never dimmed. Yes, she had a beautiful voice (I learned to sing alto from her), but her caring heart and friendly nature were what really set her apart. She knew what it meant to let others see Jesus in her.

  • My deepest heart felt sympathy to Debs family and many many friends. I had the honor of going to our last class reunion with Deb and I hadn’t seen her since high school. It seems like we all just picked up where we left off. Deb was a fantastic, caring, funny, articulate woman. She had so many friends and will be missed by all of us. May you rest in peace my friend and sing songs of joy as you did hear on Earth.

  • Deb was such a blessing her smile lit up the world , her laughter filled the air, her voice is of the Angels. I can hear her now leading the heavenly choir. Deb was an angel here on earth and an angel in heaven. I have never met someone as beautiful as her. Deb had a heart of gold, she seen the good in everything. Deb was a very special soul she made you feel like family. She brought the best out in people. Deb was the perfect example of how God wants us to be. She will be greatly missed. Prayers to her mother. And her family , friends. Until we meet again my friend

  • Dorothy – Debby left her special signature on everyone who crossed her path and I am no exception. Our time together at Asbury was a blessed chapter in my life. We traveled, sang, laughed, and prayed our way through the music program and I was in awe of her incredible voice. The heavenly choir will sound more heavenly now and heaven will ring with the laughter she brings. Thank you for sending her to Asbury and for being the the kind of parent who would raise such a wonderful daughter. I know you will miss her the most and you will continue to be in my prayers. The Blessed Hope of Heaven is such a gift today! We will see her again!

    Much love,
    Alice Kay (Brown) McFarland

  • Dearest Dot, (and Sandy,Julie,Donna, and all of your wonderful family), My heart is filled with sorrow for the loss of your precious Debbie. What a wonderful daughter, companion, friend and woman of God she was and will be throughout eternity. I have been enjoying my memories of our good times at Sychar and our dinners at Bob Evans! What a special blessing her friendship has been over the years and I treasure all the laughter, tears, and conversations that will continue to fill my heart. Now we are all looking forward to getting to Heaven to be reunited with her again and seeing that radiant smile and feeling the warmth of her wonderful embrace! In the meantime we’ll have to be sure we share lots of hugs and love with each other! I’m looking forward to being with you soon. You will be in my prayers and heart as you grieve over time, but always have that precious comfort from the Lord and our solid hope and knowledge that we’ll soon be reunited forever – in His presence and with each other where He will wipe away all our tears! Love and prayers, Ellen

  • Oh dear Dorothy, Debbie’s family and friends. what great sorrow at our loss but what grand joy at Debbie’s gain. I am so very sorry and pray God’s comfort, solace and peace upon us all. How I would like to be with you tomorrow in body at her Homegoing service but I cannot. Be assured I am there in heart and in spirit. love, Melanie Wood Cavanaugh

  • We are shocked and saddened by this news. Deb was such a” breath of fresh air” to be around. Her faith was amazing. She was one of those people that always could lift your day. She was a very talented person but more importantly she used her talents to glorify the Lord. It’s a sad loss but the choir in heaven just picked up a wonderful addition.

  • Dear Mrs. H., I just want to send my condolences and let you know that I am praying for you and the family. I came to know Deb while at Asbury and I have always looked up to her for her sweet spirit and obvious gifts. It was a joy to spend a little time with her at a past reunion. I was blessed to have known her.

  • Aunt D,
    I’m so heartbroken. Debby was so so special to me, she was such an encouragement to me in my life, she was my mentor and someone I could tell anything to and know she would guide me in the right direction. Some of my favorite memories are the times I spent with you both during my college breaks. She loved you so so much, I have no doubt that the majority of her ability to love and encourage so many of us came from you. I love you, I am just a phone call away and I’m so so sorry we are having to say goodbye to her.

  • My love and prayers go out to all the family, especially to my dear friend Karen Asher. I remember Debby as such a sweet and fun person. Great times together at Dueber and at Camp Sychar, with Debbie and her cousin, Karen. What a radiant light for Jesus in this world she was. Now in Glory with her Lord. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 Praise the Lord, Debby is now complete in Jesus, her life is just beginning…

  • It is hard to process that my e-mails and requests for prayer and support will not
    be answered by my sweet, sweet Sister in Christ but by whomever He will provide.
    Her contagious enthusiasm laughed at the face of disaster and …death himself!
    Her smile Will open the Gates of Heaven and gather the Heavenly Host around her
    for the best choir to praise our Lord’s Glories forevermore!
    Debbie ,you will be missed but never forgotten.
    Dott , you’ve done a great thing bringing an angel to earth.
    Such a privilege to have met you in NYC so long ago, and to have known Debbie!
    Athena & Eric Baer

  • Dear Dorothy,
    I had the privilege to meet Debby through her cousin (and my very special friend), Sandy Sturm. I went to Camp Sychar the last two years with Mary Beth, whom you and Debby showed so … much love by celebrating her birthday! Debby always had a smile on her face and was so much fun to be with. I can only imagine her walking on the streets of “gold”, in heaven, smiling and singing and praising her Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ! What a glorious time it is for her! One day we will be together again!

  • Dorothy,
    We are so sorry for your loss of Debbie. Know that you are loved and that we are praying for you. Deb was such a good friend and we had many good laughs together at Sychar. She brought much happiness and laughter to our lives. She was my “cow tail” buddy. I will always remember her laughter and the joy she brought to us and so many others. We will miss her. We will continue to pray for you and your precious family in the days to come. We love you.
    Dale and Diane

  • Dot,

    You have been in our prayers ever since we learned of Debby’s illness. I cannot imagine how you feel inside, but I know that your faith is in the God who never leaves us! You raised an amazing daughter…one who shared joy, love, and laughter with everyone she came in contact with. Her faith was strong.

    When we spoke on the phone Ash Wednesday evening, she told me she “…wasn’t expecting to leave so soon” but she had a peace in her heart about everything. I asked her how you were doing and she said, “She’s been a rock! I’m so very proud of her!”

    When Debby exhaled for the last time on this side of Heaven, she immediately began to breathe celestial air. Her beautiful voice is praising her Heavenly Father in person! And I’ll bet the singers all around her sound a little bit better because she’s so good!

    Prayers on your behalf continue from all of us who know and love you.
    Joe and Beth

  • I had the privilege of not only singing with Deb at Asbury but also of working with her for an entire summer at Operation Appreciation in Louisville with the Roysters. Deb was so much fun! We laughed so much…while washing dishes, painting, putting up wallpaper in the attic, you name it!

    I was her accompanist as she entertained the soldiers with her fabulous voice! One of my favorites was when she sang “I only have eyes for you” with that deep alto voice and a twinkle in her eye. It was a huge crowd favorite!

    At the end of each Saturday night service, Deb would bring all 200 soldiers into the presence of God with powerful songs like “To God be the Glory”. She was so used of God!

    I remember crying buckets when she had to leave to go home early to have her tonsils taken out. I couldn’t imagine carrying on the ministry there without her!!

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Deb with me. I regret that I only recently found her again on Facebook. She was special to me and I will pray for you and your family as you celebrate her life.

  • As a classmate of Debby’s at Asbury, like so many others, I was blessed by her beautiful singing voice but even more so by her wonderful sense of humor and a life lived in the image of Christ! Deb’s life, exemplified the teaching of St. Francis to “Preach the gospel always, and if necessary, use words!”

  • I don’t even begin to know what to say at the loss of Debby. I met her through a dear special friend, Sandy, her cousin. As I read through the love expressed in these notes, I feel even more privileged to have known her. Dorothy, Donna, Sandy, Sue, Julie and Lindsay and the extensive family and loved ones, you are in my thoughts and prayers .

  • Dear Dorothy,
    I’m so sorry to hear of Deb’s death. She was such a blessing to me at Sychar each year. Her smile and contagious laughter were a welcome part of camp for me. It’s been a privilege to sit on the platform at camp when Deb sang with Beth Green and Ellen Seymore; her voice is one I so much associate with one of those special places in my life. Last year at Sychar, she gave me a signed copy of her book which I treasured thrn. It’s all the more precious to me now. You and your family are being held up to the throne daily, may God bless and comfort you.

  • We feel so honored to have gotten to know Deb during our times at Camp Sychar. She was always so warm and welcoming and made us feel as if we’d been friends with her forever…what a true gift that is!

    We’ll continue praying for you, Dorothy….trusting that Jesus will be more than sufficient for each moment. Much love to you!

  • Dorothy you have our deepest sympathy in the loss of Debby. We know what a loss this is for you. You are in our prayers.

    Rev. Glen & Roberta Allison

  • Debbie was one of my performance students at Asbury. Major talent in a beautiful person. We treasure her book and beautiful letter she wrote to my wife when she learned she has cancer.

  • Dorothy,
    I am so sorry for the loss of Debbie. She was a fantastic person who touched so many people in her far to short life. I am sorry I did not make the service but please know that you and Debbie have been in my daily thoughts and prayers. Through her recent illness she continued to show strength in her faith and her willingness to trust her Lord and Savior. She is surely resting in peace as she is welcomed into the kingdom of God. Bless you Dorothy.

  • In Vince Gill’s words: “…Wish we could see the angel’s faces, when they hear your sweet voice sing.” That voice and sweet spirt has been a rich blessing to my own heart over the years. Now she is singing His praises in glory. I can only imagine…

  • I, too, sang with Deb in the Singing Ams. Her voice was impressive. She sang with authority, and also with pure joy and gratefulness for her faith. Her legacy, as is obvious here, is love. What a testimony .

  • I had such admiration and appreciation for Deb’s life. She was always a bundle of enthusiasm, joy, and laughter as she expressed her love for ALL the people around her. As a district superintendent of the Three Rivers District, I SO appreciated my connection to Deb’s willing servant heart. She served the church and the Lord in such giving capacity. She touched the lives of many people. I was very thankful to have her on the Conference and District Lay Servant Board. She always had creative and delightful ideas to make things new. She expressed herself with such joy and the Spirit of the Lord. I was blessed to know her and she sincerely touched mine and many other’s lives.

  • Dot & family,

    Deb was such a kind person both in her actions and words. She was a joy to be around and I will miss her so much. I wanted to attend her service, but missed it by about an hour yesterday. I will be praying for you all, and working the polls will not be the same without her bright disposition.

    Becky Vallen