Debra Jo Jankowski passed away unexpectedly at home on April 15, 2020. She was born November 17, 1954 in Toledo, OH to Joseph and Doretta (Cass) Jankowski. A gifted athlete and honor student, Deb was one of the first female sports participants at Roy C Start High School, lettering in both track and softball. Deb received her Bachelor Degree towards Veterinary Medicine from the University of Toledo. She worked for the Jeep Corporation for several years before beginning a lifelong career with the United States Postal Service, braving the elements as a postal carrier for as long as she was physically able and eventually being promoted to branch manager. She retired from the postal service in 2012.
Those who knew Deb knew she was a diehard animal lover. Although practical reasons led her to a different career path, her heart was always devoted to rescuing any animal in need of medical assistance or a home of their own. Much of her own retirement pension was used to cover the cost of hundreds of rescues, especially homeless cats and their kittens. She covered the cost of spaying and neutering as well as finding them good homes, and her guidance was sought throughout the Midwest. Deb worked very closely with Paws & Whiskers as well as Save-A-Pet. Over the years there were 7 kittens in particular she nursed back to health who became the most fortunate pampered members of her family.
Deb was an amazing person who did so much for anyone around her who needed help in any way. Even through her own struggles with grief and battling breast cancer, her faith and dedication to family and friends never wavered. One of her most significant character traits was her involvement in organizations that served the greater good. Her compassion and faith in God, as well as her strong work ethic were driving forces that kept her hands-on and in touch with the deep needs of the community around her. She was involved in many church retreats; one especially was Mountaintop Great Banquet. She touched many with her inspirational messages of faith and overcoming fears, while speaking without need of recognition or praise. Another passion was Family Promise, an organization helping homeless families with children get back into housing and jobs. Through inviting others to join her on the board of directors as well as countless hours of fundraising, she was able to help grow Family Promise into a respected Toledo organization for the homeless. She also gave countless hours and donations to the Food Pantry at Fairgreen Church.
A collector of many things, one of Deb’s most prized collections was of Star Wars memorabilia. She loved Beanie Babies and old records and was a true Ohio State fan. In her younger years, Deb loved to travel by car throughout the West Coast and Florida. More important to her than anything though, were her family and friends, and she looked forward to every opportunity to celebrate the holidays with them. She thought the world of her nieces and nephews and took great joy in any news of the lives they had created for themselves.
Deb was a devout member of Compelled Church in Temperance, MI. She loved Pastor Nate and the congregation, was devastated when she couldn’t attend services during 15 months of battling breast cancer and thrilled when able to view them through livestreaming. Most important in Deb’s life was her dedication and faith in God. Her church families played an integral part in her spiritual well-being. If ever there was a human being who thought so little of herself and so much of others, it escapes us. The earth is a sadder place without her.
Deb is survived by her brothers, Michael, Gregory and Steven (Janet) Jankowski; sister and best friend, Jolene Balogh (Bill) Hurth; nieces and nephews, Scott (Nicole) Balogh, Daniel (Alexa) Jankowski, Todd Jankowski, Jeffery (Leah) Balogh, Joshua Jankowski, Aimee Jankowski, and Amber Jankowski; and great-nieces and nephews, Nora, Mylah, Lyla, and baby boy on the way. She was preceded in death by her parents.
Visitation and services will be private with interment in Toledo Memorial Park. Arrangements have been entrusted to Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe, 419-476-9176. Memorial tributes may be given to “Paws & Whiskers” or “Save-A-Pet”. Condolences can be shared with the family at www.sujkowski.com.
To send flowers to Debra's family, please visit our floral store.
Paws & Whiskers Cat Shelter
32 Hillwyck Dr., Toledo OH 43615
5250 Hill Ave., Toledo OH 43615