OBITUARY: Debra Jean Popham

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Debra Jean Popham

Debra Popham passed away at age 61 on July 14, 2021 at home in Nashville, TN after a six-year battle with breast cancer.

Debra was born in Nashville on December 25, 1959 to Ira Gene and Bettye Sue Joyce. As a young child, she lived with her family in Charleston, SC, and Great Lakes, IL during her father’s service in the U.S. Navy. Her family moved to Smithville, TN upon her father’s retirement from service.

Debra graduated from DeKalb County High School in Smithville and then attended and graduated from Belmont College in 1982. After graduation from Belmont, Debra remained in Nashville, working for Chicago Title Insurance Company. She married John Popham of Nashville in 1986. They had two children Nick, in 1988, and Abby, in 1990. Debra retired from Chicago Title to devote time to raising her family.

She worked for the pre-school program at Westminster Presbyterian Church while her children were in pre-school. Beginning in 2009, following the graduation of her last child from high school, she began work as a pre-school assistant for the First Presbyterian Church Early Pre-School Program. She loved her work with pre-school-age children and her fellow employees but was forced to retire in May 2020 due to the pandemic and her health condition.

Debra was a devoted wife and mother. Her passion was her two children, Nick and Abby, and more recently, her new grandchild, Wesley, who brought her great joy during the last two years of her life.

Debra was preceded in death by her father, Gene. She is survived by her mother, Bettye Sue Joyce, Smithville, TN; husband, John; son, Nick; daughter Abby (Matt) Hogue and grandchild, Wesley, Franklin, TN; sister, Rosemary Melton, Smithville, TN; brother William (Candy) Joyce, Murfreesboro, TN; niece, Stephanee Wright, and nephew, Preston Melton, Smithville, TN.

Services on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Visitation starting at 9:30 a.m. with the service at 11:30 a.m.

Donations in Debra’s memory may be made to Susan G. Komen, the Martha O’Bryan Center Family Pre-School Program, or a charity of your choice.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.marshalldonnellycombs.com for the Popham family.

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