CAPC Oakland

News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland

Celebrating the Life of Debby Frisch



Debby Frisch, David Kittams’s lively wife of 23 years, lost her brief battle with pancreatic cancer early Sunday morning, September 22, at our home in Berkeley CA.

Debby was born in Brooklyn NY to Irving Frisch and Leonora Weiss. She moved at age eight with her parents and big brother Geoff to Plainview, Long Island NY; attended Syracuse University, City College of New York, and New York University (M. Ed, ESL.)  She stayed in Cancun, Mexico, for 13 years, and then…So read all about it in her memoir, A Mango for the Teacher: Running the Beach and Running a School in Cancun’s early days.

Debby worked in schools and everywhere else teaching English as a Second Language.  She enjoyed travel, photography, birds, designing language-learning games, singing, and hiking with her fellow Newtniks.  She and David had spent this June visiting friends in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Israel, where her diagnosis was confirmed.  Debby stayed twice at Summit Hospital, Oakland; then Sutter Hospice took over her care at home.  Thanks to Hospice, Debby was comfortable enough to celebrate–with food–her birthday, and David’s 35th (for the second time), and their anniversary (and son Lee’s 22nd birthday—same day!)

Debby’s original family now includes Gloria Frisch, her sister-in-law, and nephew Benjamin Frisch (Atlanta GA); niece Julie Frisch and her husband, Michael Glassman (Jerusalem, Israel); her aunt, Shirley Curson Weiss (Tucson AZ); and cousin Judy Weiss, her husband, Jim Judge, and their daughter, Julia (Woodstock NY.)

Our house has been full of neighbors, old friends, sons Arturo Avila and Lee Kittams, daughter-in-law Ranjana Mani, and grandsons Ray and Ravi Avila-Mani.  Cousin Judy and our friend Anne Haas (both from upstate New York); David’s sister Jean Tracy (Minneapolis); brothers Gary (Fremont CA) and Jay Kittams and wife Susan (Molalla OR); and Lorraine Leech (Cancun, now Davis CA); Humberto Dzul, Leticia Casanova, and their son Omar (Cancun); and Agnes Wirbel (Versailles) have all come, worked hard, and helped us have fun as we remember our dear friend.

Come to a brief but colorful service 2pm Sunday, September 29, at College Avenue Presbyterian Church, 5951 College Avenue, Oakland (Rockridge BART or park in the Dreyer’s Grand parking lot—enter north of the green building-front– on Claremont Avenue.)  Debby’s Newtniks vow to attend in clothes “house colors or brighter.”

Debby asked that any memorial gifts go to the Berkeley Schools Enrichment Program and to the Berkeley Public Library.

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This entry was posted on September 30, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged .
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