Deborah East Eley
May 24, 1954 – April 25, 2021
“Spring pushes up bulbs from frosted soil seeking warmth. Colors leap like flames.” Deborah East Eley, 66, a native of Alexandria, LA and longtime resident of Baton Rouge passed away on April 25, 2021. Deborah was a true renaissance woman, who reinvented herself many times in the course of her extraordinary life. Deborah approached life as an artist - with a creative and inquisitive mind. She was a photographer, a fabric artist, a philosopher, a poet, a student of science, and a lover of nature. She had a quick wit and a great sense of humor. She loved growing old roses and bonsai, collecting rocks and gems, taking photographs, walking in the woods, and observing wildlife. She was an avid reader, absorbing everything from mystery novels to quantum physics. Deborah graduated from Northeast La University in 1974. Later in her remarkable life, she went to graduate school, earned an MA in Philosophy from LSU, and taught at Baton Rouge Community College during the early years of the school's development. Her compassion for those in need was always on display. She worked for several years as an advocate for persons with disabilities, working with individuals and their specific needs, as well as working to secure funding to expand a pilot program statewide on behalf of all persons with disabilities. Although she experienced her own health challenges, she met them with strength and dignity. Deborah was a superb seamstress and worked out of her home for many years, sewing for theatre productions, designers, and many loyal customers. When health issues forced her to stop working full time, she took up making jewelry and presenting it at arts and crafts shows. When her health declined further, she did not let it stop her. Rather, she shifted her focus to writing poetry - having poems selected for publication and being invited to attend some notable writer’s workshops. She is survived by her adoring husband of 45 years, Hugh Eley, her brother Clay Cahoon and his fiancé Vy Le, her loving sisters-in-law Martha Eley and Susan Norris and her husband John Norris, and the nephews she loved like her own children, Stephen Black, Daniel Black, and Michael Black. She was preceded in death by her mother Dorothy Cahoon, and her siblings, David East, Diana East, and Dale East. A memorial gathering celebrating her life will be held at Rabenhorst Funeral Home Downtown on Sunday, June 6th from 2:00pm until 4:00pm with a memorial service beginning at 4:00pm. Memorial donations may be made to the Nature Conservancy of Louisiana and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. To sign the online guestbook, please visit www.rabenhorst.com.
- She is survived by her adoring husband of 45 years, Hugh Eley, her brother Clay Cahoon and his fiancé Vy Le, her loving sisters-in-law Martha Eley and Susan Norris and her husband John Norris, and the nephews she loved like her own children, Stephen Black, Daniel Black, and Michael Black. She was preceded in death by her mother Dorothy Cahoon, and her siblings, David East, Diana East, and Dale East.
Celebration of Life
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (next day)
Rabenhorst Funeral Home & Crematory
Deborah East Eley
May 12, 2021
There are some people you never forget, Debra and Hugh are two of these. Debra was kind, sweet, talented and a joy to work with. I'll never forget AC had a conference in N.O. No one wanted to drive the rented van, Debra dreaded but , volunteered . 20 plus yrs ago you followed maps, we circled a lot, but finally got to our destination safe and sound. Knowing Debra was a blessing, she will never be forgotten. She stretcheth out her hand to those in need, also reacheth forth her hand to the disabled and elderly.
Hugh , My prayers, thoughts and sympathy are with you at this difficult time. May the memories of the love you and Debra shared comfort you now and in coming days ahead.
May 7, 2021
Hugh, I am saddened by your loss of Deborah and know you will miss her terribly. She was a magician with a needle and displayed an amazing inner spirit and calmness. Please accept my sincere condolences.
May 1, 2021
I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences at this difficult time.
April 30, 2021
Hugh and Family - please accept my deepest sympathies on the passing of Deborah. I had the privilege of working and getting to know her when she was at AC. She was a tireless advocate and one of the kindest person I've ever met. She will be missed.