“I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again.” –The Golden Compass


Debra Flood Schilling was born in Wichita, Kansas to F. Dale Flood and Ann Flood.  She attended school in Newport Hills, where she flourished academically and cultivated a fierce love of language.


After high school, Debra attended University of Washington and graduated summa cum laude with degrees in English and Political Science.  She was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority as well as Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to law school at University of Washington where she was on law review.


Debra met her future husband Mike 1981. He had just returned from Europe, and she had recently come back from a study abroad program in France. They bonded swiftly over a shared love of traveling and realized they had attended high school together.  They were married two years later and Debra commenced her studies at law school.


When she graduated from law school, she and Mike traveled to Europe again for a two month stint. Debra adored school and didn’t want to leave, but reluctantly moved on from academia to work as an attorney.


Three years later, Debra got pregnant with her first daughter, Nikki. She traded one promising career for another and became a devoted homemaker/mother.


A patron of the arts, Debra passed her love of movies, theatre, opera and concerts on to her children and her friends, filling the family calendar with splendid shows all year round.


Debra was a lifelong learner and avid reader of everything from Shakespeare to Entertainment Weekly. She was a born teacher who nurtured her children’s minds and engaged intellectually with everyone, elevating the social awareness and vocabularies of those around her. Debra was an informed voter and fervent feminist. She always kept her sense of humor even when politics were disheartening.


For many years, Debra was the children’s choir director at Everett First Presbyterian Church. She sang with Seattle Symphony Chorale, Seattle Opera Chorus, Singers Northwest, and Cascadian Chorale, even completing Cascadian’s spring concert program this year though her cancer was advanced and her discomfort severe.


Debra was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on June 6, 2018.  She met this terrifying illness with grace, wisdom and matchless courage. She died peacefully in the arms of her husband Mike, daughters Mikaela and Nikki, and son James on August 15, 2018.


Debra’s family extends heartfelt gratitude to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Evergreen Hospice for their authenticity, patience and compassion throughout her treatment. Medical care isn’t always implemented with such humanity. This deliberate commitment to principle was not lost on Debra or her loved ones. The quality of her care gave Debra and her family opportunities for gratitude in a time when blessings were few.


Debra was preceded in death by her parents Ann and Dale Flood and older brother Larry Flood. She is survived by sisters Linda Brown, Janis Boucher and Karen Isbell.


In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.


Debra’s Celebration of Life will be held at Legion Hall in Everett on September 30th from 1-4 pm. Debra wanted this service to emphasize joyful commemoration rather than somber formality. Casual dress encouraged.


“The journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it… White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.” – The Lord of the Rings


4 Responses

  1. Karen Story

    I just heard this sad news. I have many wonderful memories of Debbie’s gorgeous voice. We were in drama together at Ringdall Junior High. We were also in Camp Fire girls together for many years. I have often thought fondly of Debbie over the years. I am so very sorry that you have lost her!

  2. Caron Monks

    Debra was a gentle, nurturing and gifted woman. I held her in high esteem, Debra reached out to me during my own cancer treatment, and made me feel loved. God bless her sweet soul. Debra sings with the angels, now. Lots of love to you all. Caron

  3. Linda Brown

    So many incredible memories of loving my sister for 58 years. So many heart to heart conversations, so many musical performances, plays, birthdays, family vacations and watching her get married. Watching her raising her amazing children. She was a beautiful and loving sister. She was a great blessing to us all. I will miss her deeply and love her forever. Knowing she passed away in the arms of her loving family gives me peace. Thank you to Mike, Nikki, Mikaela and James for your incredible loving care of Debra. You are all loved so much.

  4. Janis Boucher

    Thank you for writing and publishing this lovely obituary, Mikaela. And thank you again for all of the loving care you gave Debra in her short battle with the cancer.

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