Deborah Wilkinson Ross was born in Evanston, Illinois on August 16, 1934. She grew up in Highland Park and Hinsdale, Illinois, daughter of George and Louise Ross and sister of Peter.
Debby graduated from Smith College in 1956, where she met her husband, Edgar D. (Ned) Jannotta on a blind date set up by her brother.
Ned and Debby married on December 29, 1956, and lived in Virginia Beach, where Ned was a naval officer and Debby was an elementary school teacher. The moved to Boston where Ned attended Harvard Business School, and they had their first child.
In 1959, they moved to the northern suburbs of Chicago (Northbrook, Kenilworth and then Winnetka), where they raised their 4 children: Katie, Ned, Peter and Ross. Debby became active in the Chicago community, including volunteering at Rush University Medical Center. At Rush she initially pushed a book cart, serving patients with her mother, when she was only 16 years old. Later, she served as President of the Rush Women’s Board.
Debby was one of the leaders of the Chicago Foundation for Education, where she and Shirley Jaffee were Co-Chairs of Development for 25 years, raising money for a grant program that benefited Chicago public school teachers. She worked tirelessly at CFE until her death. Debby became interested in the Lyric Opera of Chicago and was a devoted and esteemed member of their Woman’s Board for 25 years.
Debby was an extraordinary person and generous beyond expectation to everyone she met. She was adored by all who knew her due to her loving and kind spirit.
She dearly loved her husband, Ned, and her children, Katie Palmer (John), Ned Jannotta Jr. (Erika Pearsall), Peter Jannotta (Meghan), Ross Jannotta (Elinor) and her grandchildren, Ross, Charlie, Nate, Ciara and Louise Palmer, Alexandra, Max and Samantha Jannotta, Grace, Joe and Jane Jannotta, and Peter, Luke and Whitney Jannotta.
Wednesday June 18, 2014, 4:00 PM at Kenilworth Union Church, 211 Kenilworth Avenue, Kenilworth, Illinois 60043
Click for Map and Directions
Born: August 16, 1934
Death: May 18, 2014
Memorial donations can be made to:
Chicago Foundation for Education, 1 North LaSalle Street, Suite 1675, Chicago, IL 60602