Debbie Vassallo, 70 years of age, passed away on June 18, 2019. She was born on April 22, 1949 in Dallas Texas, where she was also raised, and attended Thomas Jefferson High School, class of 1967. Deb attended Tyler Junior College for two years, then joining the Air Force to learn meteorology. With skills learned, Deb was stationed in Germany for 4 years, forecasting weather for troop and armored movements in the European theater. Her judgment was relied upon all the way to Strategic Air Command. On leaving the Air Force, Deb moved to Webster, Texas and was immediately hired as a weatherperson at Ellington Air Force Base, observing weather for flight operations. NASA was her playground and she was friendly with both pilots and astronauts around the field.
While working at Ellington AFB, Debbie further educated herself at University of Houston, making full use of the GI bill. She received an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Psychology. The State of Texas certified Debbie as an LCDC (drug and alcohol) counselor in Texas and she worked in the field of family counseling for many years. Her work at various residency facilities was appreciated by the many individuals and families. Here in Galveston, Debbie worked at Ada House, making practical application of her skills. She was perfect for the part. She enjoyed that relationship from 1991 until retirement.
A prolific artist and photographer, Debbie’s focus was generally on her beloved Galveston Islands, its landscapes, fish and birds. Actively painting, Deb took time out to fish often. Debbie married on July 8, 2017 to Marilyn Mendes, and a fishing dynasty was born. Deb’s passion for decades, fishing became a pastime for both, which included friends and family members on both sides. Deb had her best spots around the island, chasing speckled trout or redfish, mostly. Anything biting was good enough, but she enjoyed the taste of flounder most.
Debbie Vassallo was preceded in death by father, Alfred L. Vassallo, M.D. of Galveston, Texas and Dorothy Glafcke Vassallo of Durant, Oklahoma. Deb is survived by wife, Mel, step-son, Steven Mendes of Waco, Texas, step-daughter, Jennifer Mendes of Pocahontas, Illinois. “Grand Deb” is also survived by her two grandchildren, Jordon and Layla Mendes. She is additionally survived by Alfred (Bobby) Vassallo, Jr., and daughter Gabrielle, Doug Vassallo and wife Donna, Leslie Vassallo and John Vassallo, wife Kathy and children, John and Bridgette Vassallo, all of Dallas; Sharman Vassallo Keister and husband Larry of Houston, Texas and their daughter, Kelsey Keister of New York, New York.
A celebration of Debbie’s life will take place at St. Patrick Catholic Church on Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 10:00 A.M. Honorary pallbearers include (A.L.) Bobby Vassallo, Doug Vassallo, John Vassallo, Brian Vassallo, Steven Mendes, and John Polhemus.
We have all lost a bit of joy and sunshine….