Deborah Ann “Debbie” Walls, 63, of Newtown died peacefully at home October 6, surrounded by family, after her battle with cancer. She was born April 30, 1954, in Bridgeport, daughter of Catherine F. and Columbus J. Rossi.
Her husband of 41 years, Noel B. Walls; son, Jason M. Walls, and his wife, Alexis A. Walls, of Cos Cob.; and daughter, Rebecca A. Walls of Medford, Mass., survive her.
Her mother; her loving sister, Linda Finocchi, and her husband, Douglas; and her brother-in-law, James Walls, and his wife, Nancy, predeceased him.
Ms Walls was an alumnus of Notre Dame High School of Fairfield and received her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Central Connecticut State University. She attended the College of New Rochelle for her master’s degree and was certified as a reading and language arts consultant from the State of Connecticut.
An avid follower of Marie Clay’s global work on educational literacy, Ms Walls was a local pioneer in early childhood intervention, Reading Recovery, and also received a certification in this specialized program.
Teaching children to read was Ms Walls’s careerlong passion. Working in the field of education for 30 years, the majority were spent with the Monroe Board of Education. Beginning as a classroom teacher, she ultimately served as reading and language arts coordinator for the three elementary schools in the district and spearheaded the schoolwide reading initiative, “One School One Book,” which later evolved into “One Town One Book.” She established multiple teacher-training programs, including “The Partnership of Comprehensive Literacy,” and a partnership with Columbia University’s Teachers College that provided Monroe educators with an annual series of weeklong intensive workshops and training.
However, Ms Walls’s greatest devotion in life was to her husband and two children, as well as to her very close circle of lifelong friends. She enjoyed holidays with family, traveling with loved ones, and especially treasured her time at the beach. Whether Seaside Park, Cape Cod, Avon-by-the-Sea, or what she called “her” island of Aruba, one could always find Ms Walls with her toes in the sand and a good book in hand.
Family and friends may visit at Spadaccino and Gallagher Funeral Home, 315 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe, on Monday, October 9, from 4 to 8 pm.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at St Rose of Lima, 46 Church Hill Road, Newtown, on Tuesday, October 10, at 10 am, with a burial ceremony immediately following at Mount St Peters Cemetery, 219 New Haven Avenue, Derby.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Lung Cancer Alliance at lungcanceralliance.org.