Debra Isham

Debra Ann Isham, Nindizhinakaaz Gizhibaabizoage, 57, of Onigum, Minn., passed away Friday, May 15, 2020 in Bemidji,  with her family at her side.

A wake for Deb began May 18 at the Onigum Community Center and continued until the service May 20 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Onigum with Reverend Matthew Cobb and Reverend William Butcher officiating. Burial was held at St. John’s Episcopal Cemetery in Onigum.

Deb was born Aug. 1, 1962, in Thief River Falls to Lyman and Shirley (Ellis) White Sr. When she was young she lived with her family in Minneapolis. As a teen she and her family moved to Onigum and she graduated from Walker-Hackensack High School in 1980.

She went on to attend Central Lakes College in Brainerd, graduating with her associates degree in 1990. While in school, Deb had the opportunity to travel to London. She married Curtis Isham Sr., and they were blessed with four children: Angela, Eric, Darcie and Danielle.

Deb worked in Human Resources for both Leech Lake Gaming and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. She was well respected and proud of her strong work ethic.

Deb was an active part of the community in Onigum. She was a member of St. Johns Episcopal Church. She was the youth group leader and was an expert at engaging and keeping the attention of the many teens in her care.  She took them on fun trips to expand their horizons and organized three on three basketball games every week to keep them occupied.

When she recognized a person in need she was quick to help with no expectations of a favor in return. Deb was also known for her great sense of humor and quick wit. She had the gift of organization, and her family looked to her to make plans for camping trips and family gatherings. She had respect and appreciation for nature and had a special place in heart for the mountains. She was an excellent cook, and everyone was always sure to show up to the house when she was making tatertot hotdish. Above all, she loved spending time with her family, especially her eight grandchildren.

She will be lovingly remembered by her husband, Curtis; children, Angela, Eric, Darcie and Danielle; eight grandsons, Lyman, Will and Laverne Jacobs, Matthew Dow, Gary Isham, Miskwa  and  Ningozis Butcher and Curtis Isham; siblings, Gary White, Vicki White, Lyman White Jr., Carol White and Marilyn Harrison; mother-in-law, Marybelle Isham; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Deb was preceded in death by her parents; niece, Leann Dick; and nephews, Timothy and Burton White.

Services provided by Whispering Pines Funeral and Cremation Service, formerly known as Dennis Funeral Home in Walker, Minn.

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