Debbie Sears Graham

The famous Debbie Sears Graham, 69, passed away on September 14, 2023 at home following a short illness. She was a resident of Brunswick, Georgia, where she had resided since 1982. She was born on January 24, 1955, to the late Clifford Nathaniel Sears and Vista Burnett Sears in Atlanta, Georgia. Debbie resided in Atlanta until 1972 when her family relocated to Claxton, Georgia. She earned her BA degree from Georgia Southern University and her Masters in Business from The University of West Florida in Panama City. She lived in Waycross, Georgia, after college and worked at the Chamber of Commerce. This opportunity sparked a life-long ambition to entrench herself in local communities and use her talents to help entrepreneurs build their businesses, launch careers, and encourage life-changing education. While in Waycross, she met and married the man of her dreams, Stuart Graham (Stu), and they were together for 46 years. Their life adventures took them to Panama City, Florida, where their daughter, Lindsay Leigh Graham was born. In 1982, they moved to Brunswick, Georgia, where they found their community and tribe of friends for life. As a family, they spent years building memories that included beach and pool fun, water sports, jet skiing, king-fishing offshore, playing tennis, walking along the beach on Jekyll, numerous movie theater trips, and so much more. She had a tremendous love for animals. She had horses growing up and dearly loved to ride. And over the decades, their family had cats, dogs, and rabbits, and she always looked forward to reuniting with her furry family members at the Rainbow Bridge. She worked to help foster, relocate, and care for abandoned animals. Truth be told, you can meet her foster-fails in her own backyard, which grew to include two Lab-mix rescues, Willa and Bentley, and of course her gentle giant, Drax, their 150-pound Great Dane. She loved to watch all of them race around the pond. It was sheer delight for her. While in Panama City she worked with ORI, Inc. developing the Navy’s Hovercraft fleet. While in Brunswick, Georgia, she worked as a consultant with the Coastal Area District Development Center, the Brunswick District Development Center and then finally 20 plus years with the University of Georgia SBDC. As part of her duties at the SBDC she hosted a weekly business outreach program called “Tools for the Toolbox, Business News You Can Use” which aired on the local station WWEZ-FM, 94.7 and 97.5. Woody Woodside said of Debbie: “During her career with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, she was acutely dedicated toward the success of her clients pursuing business careers as entrepreneurs as well as helping existing businesses thrive. Her positivity and encouragement always motivated those she served and worked with.” He said Debbie was a class act. Debbie also was the owner of “The Black Cat Company” custom embroidering hats, shirts, bags, etc. for Brunswick High and others. Debbie was active in the Brunswick community. She served as Pilot Club president in the late 1990s, leadership at the YMCA, and as an actress and back-stage team with the Island Players, serving coffee at intermissions in support of their scholarship program. She and Stu served as PTA Co-Presidents of the Goodyear Elementary School and remained active members of the Jane Macon Middle School PTA and the Brunswick High Booster Club. Attendance at recreation and school sports functions was always a must. She loved the Golden Isles and would say “We are so lucky to live here” whenever crossing the causeway to SSI or Jekyll Island. Debbie was an avid Georgia DAWG fan traveling and RVing to football games in Athens, Auburn and to the world’s largest cocktail party in Jacksonville. After learning to play Bridge, Debbie was active with the Golden Isles Duplicate Bridge Club, often playing three times a week with her Bridge Buddies, all of whom she cherished. She and her group of friends, “The Herd,” always celebrated Cow Day at Chick-fil-A. She also loved plundering the wares at the local thrift stores. The family she left behind will strive to live her memory by making each day count and never taking tomorrow for granted. We all come into this world ordinary, and it’s how we live our lives and how we serve others that determines if we leave this world extraordinary. The Famous Debbie Graham was extraordinary. Debbie is survived by her husband, Stu Graham of Brunswick; daughter, Lindsay Graham of Lawrenceville; sisters, Pattie (Eddie) Akins of Statesboro and Sandie Sears of Marietta; niece, Ashley (Nick) Chandler including grandniece, Georgiana Chandler of Atlanta; nephew. Austin Akins of Brunswick. She will be remembered at a Celebration of Life on October 1, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. at Two-Way Fish Camp Party Pavilion. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.