Deborah Todd Parunak, 69, of Essex, Connecticut, passed away, in the presence of her family on Monday, April 4th, after a complex and prolonged illness.
Deborah was born July 2, 1952, in New York City to Sydney Kramer of Radostów Średni, Poland and Jeanne Kaplan of New York City. Deborah attended high school at the Stockbridge School, in Stockbridge Massachusetts, and graduated college from Boston University. She briefly attended the Boston University Law School until an auto accident terminated her studies. She returned to New York City where she worked for Pitney Bowes as a sales rep, and Citibank and Lehman Brothers where she was a systems analyst. She met her future husband, John, at a Sadie Hawkins Day party while both were working at Citibank.
Deborah and John were avid sailors and from the helm of their sloop, Star Ship II, explored the waters between City Island, New York, and Nantucket. In 1987, they moved from New York City to their favorite port-of-call, Essex, Connecticut. There they were married on the upper deck of the Essex Yacht Club by Justice of the Peace, Jean Hanor, whose claim to fame was, prophetically, “marriages that lasted forever.”
Deborah became interested in canine behavior in 1988 after obtaining her first pet, an independently minded female Rottweiler named Rambo. She studied canine behavior with Jack and Wendy Volhard and was among the earliest members of Ian Dunbar’s dog behavior consulting society APDT. Until her prolonged illness began, she taught canine obedience using the Volhard Behavioral Training Methods in her own school, Canine Compliance.
Deborah loved dogs and sailing, but even more, she loved her large and extended family. She was forever grateful and felt blessed that she had the good fortune to participate, even if for too brief a time, in the lives of her nieces and nephews.
Deborah is predeceased by her older sisters, Louise Axelrod of Tarrytown, New York and Elenore Ogilvie of Middletown, Connecticut. She is survived by her husband, John, and a legion of nephews and nieces whom she loved as her own children. She will be laid to rest beside her beloved mother-in-law, Orianna Van Dyke Parunak, at the Reform Church Cemetery in Spotswood, New Jersey. A Celebration of Deborah's Life will be held on Saturday, May 14th from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Spotswood Funeral Home, 475 Main Street, Spotswood, NJ. In memory of Deborah, she would want you to hug your children and remind them just how important they are.
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