What is Hamilton's Academy of Grief and Loss?

Death and grief are common human experiences, yet these experiences tend to be different for every individual. As a result, Hamilton's Academy of Grief & Loss offers a wide variety of resources available to you and your family as you begin to work through your grief.
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Academy of Grief and Loss
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Service Details

Visitation:

Service:

Thursday, February 16, 2017
3:00 pm
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines

Disposition:

Hamilton's Crematory
Des Moines

Arrangements:

Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

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Debra L. Cason

Des Moines

Debra Linn Gambrall Cason was born February 8, 1951. She was the first born child of John and Marilyn Gambrall. She is the mother of Marcus James Cason and his wife, Tatum (Armstrong) and grandmother to Mayla. Her brothers are John P. Gambrall and his wife Teri (Lee) and Brian Gambrall and his wife Shelly (McDonald) and her sister Julie Gambrall. She has many extended family, friends and colleagues. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Debra grew up in Des Moines. At the age of 31 life took her to Colorado where she lived for 18 years. She returned home to Des Moines in 2000. Thirteen years of parochial schools in the 1950’s through the 1960’s left her with life enduring beliefs and values, such as living truthfully, having a strong sense of justice, loving and respecting all people, especially for those identified as disenfranchised. She had a passion for learning and continued that pursuit after moving to Colorado. Living in Colorado, raising her son as a single parent, she found herself on a quest for more in-depth spiritual growth. She found numerous opportunities to refine and confirm her life beliefs and values, while growing as a person, mom and nurse.

Deb graduated from Saint Joseph’s Academy in 1969. She had told her mother she wanted to be a beautician. Her mother said “The hell you are”. Her mother told her she was going to be a nurse. Her mother’s rationale was interesting, she said beauticians worked long hours (and of course nurses never do), they stood on their feet all day long (of course nurses lounge all day) and beauticians do not make much money. If you have gotten your hair cut recently you know how this statement is not exactly accurate. But Deb grew up in a time when parents were respected and children did what they were told. So, Deb went to school to become a nurse. Always needing more, she continued advancing her formal and informal education in order to incorporate what she learned into her daily living. The letters behind her name were not important to Deb, the information and how to use it was what drove her for more.

Deb believed she did two things well, being a mom to Marcus and being a nurse. She taught Marcus by supporting his learning through discovery. She did not give him the answer, she discussed possibilities and she allowed Marcus to form his own conclusions based on the information he acquired. She also stressed that conclusions can change, nothing is static, so it is necessary to be aware, be informed and change when it is appropriate to do so. Although identified as a “single mom”, Deb was not the only person to impact who Marcus became. It took many, many influences. Some of you are here today while some are not. She is forever grateful to those who supported her and Marcus along the way.

Nursing was not what she did, it was who she was. Her passion lies in her compassion and advocacy. Alleviating suffering at the bedside, in the community or in the classroom, Deb was committed to improving the healthcare experience for patients, clients and their families. As an advocate, Deb ensured each person had the services they needed to improve their quality of life and that no person was discriminated against for any reason. Deb loved going to school and learning everything she could. In fact, she continued her education, formally and informally, throughout her life. As a nurse she had many roles: bedside nurse, critical care nurse, community health nurse, professor of nursing students, professional lecturer, writer, and consultant. The constant theme in all she did was that of advocate. Her passion was working with disenfranchised populations and she believed that everyone should be treated with respect, dignity and equality, and this is what she fought for. She was tireless concerning professional comportment and prioritizing client’s needs above all others.

Deb had no regrets, life was very good to her. She loved, was loved and the sun caressed her face.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the family or Hope Ministries in Deb’s name.

Please join with family to celebrate Deb's life beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Hamilton's Funeral Home, 605 Lyon Street, Des Moines, on Thursday, February 16, 2017. The family invites you to join them in sharing a meal and continuing to remember and celebrate Deb’s life. Dinner will be served at the Birdland Ding Darling Shelter House immediately following the service.