Debra K. Ridley, age 70, of Belton, Missouri, passed away on Monday, October 2, 2023, surrounded by her loving family at Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas.
Services will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2023, at Cullen Funeral Home, 612 W. Foxwood Dr., Raymore, Missouri 64083. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m. As fate would have it, a major celestial event will occur that morning as well and Debbie would have been sure to tell everyone about it. The family encourages you to look to the skies, just as we know she would have.
Though born “Debra,” she had many names as she moved through her life. Known to most as “Debbie,” she was born in El Dorado, Kansas, on July 12, 1953, to Keith and Dorothy (Rutherford) Fuller. A Kansas girl at heart, she grew up as a farm girl, competing in 4-H and working the farm in her youth, side by side with her father. Fuller’s Earth was an important part of who she was and she never truly left the farm behind.
After high school, Debbie earned another name, Debbie RN, becoming a fierce and compassionate advocate for her patients. She left her work several times throughout her life to pursue other life adventures, but she carried with her the ability to aid and comfort those who needed her.
In 1982, Debbie took on the name that brought her immense joy, love and pride: Mom. Matthew and Andrew were her greatest blessings in life and she dedicated everything she had to raising two strong, kind, and independent young men. She dedicated her life to her family and in raising her boys, she was very involved with them in their activities with Boy Scouts of America. Never afraid to push her way down a trail, pitch a tent, or get her hands dirty, Mom was a Den Mother and Adult Leader. She earned yet another name as part of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, Honored Woman Solitary Gliding Moon. It was a name she earned with pride, side by side with her boys.
On October 13, 2001, Debbie found herself with yet another name, Mrs. Ridley, as she married the love of her life, Dr. Kirk Ridley. As Mrs. Ridley, she found a partner who loved adventure as much as she did as they hiked through the mountains of Colorado, rode in hot air balloons, saw the Northern Lights in Alaska, and ziplined, helicoptered, four wheeled and Segway-ed around the world. In “Kirkster” she found love and safety; a partner in every sense of the word. He was her match and, in their marriage, she found true love, support and happiness. Through their union she also gained two step-daughters, Andrea and Chandra.
In 2008, Debbie earned the name she may have loved the most: Gamma. Debbie threw herself into life as a grandmother with the same sense of devotion as she did a mother. She loved her granddaughters, Charlotte and Audrey, in a way only a grandmother can. She found tremendous joy in spending time with them, taking them exploring through Bedside Manor, reading with them, watching movies with them (even after they spoiled the ending), and playing endless and intensely competitive games of Uno. She always found a way to sneak an extra loaf or two of her famous poppyseed bread into their hands and out of the reach of their father and uncle.
Debbie was happiest in the outdoors and her family will forever see her in the flowers of their gardens.
Debbie was preceded in death by her parents, Keith and Dorothy Fuller; and niece, Julie Fuller.
Here cherishing her memory are her loving husband, Dr. Kirk Ridley; two sons, Matthew Freeman (Linda) and Andrew Freeman (Jill Shrader); two stepdaughters, Andrea Flake (Zach) and Chandra Beadleston (Scott); grandchildren Charlotte, Audrey, Garret, Theo, Liam, Ava, Jacy and Benjamin; and many loving nieces and nephews.
Debbie loved flowers and would love a room full of color and beauty, but if inclined, those who would like to make a donation in her memory should do so to their local library. As Debbie’s health began to limit her time outdoors, she immersed herself in the world of books, spending much of her time exploring and adventuring through the written word.
Arrangements: Cullen Funeral Home
Raymore, Missouri 816.322.5278