Deborah Gollomp

Obituary of Deborah Paula Gollomp

Please share a memory of Deborah to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

Deborah Paula Gollomp, Debbie, as she was known by us all, started her life as a “premature” underweight infant. Consequently, resilience, endurance, triumph and transcendence came to represent the essence of Debbie’s life. I vividly remember the day of her birth, February 22, 1960. I was seven years old in second grade at the Hillel School. I was a quiet only child who desperately wanted a sibling. I was enveloped by my parents, grandparents, uncles, great aunts and great uncles. I was staying with Grandpa & Grandma, Lou and Lil, at 803 Cornaga Avenue in Far Rockaway, as my mother labored to deliver Debbie. I have an especially vivid recall of my excitement to greet my new baby sister as I descended the front steps of Lou and Lil’s house to go to the hospital to see her. I didn’t really understand the complexity and concerns swirling around me. My sister was struggling. She was “premature”, really an underweight infant (4-11). She was in an incubator. She needed to stay in the nursery. They didn’t have NICUs in those days. Certainly not at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Far Rockaway, a far-away outpost of medical sophistication.

Ultimately, Debbie came home, but that was only the beginning. Then came the recurrent infections, the high fevers to 104, the doctors, the house calls (yes in those days) and palpable concern and fear that circulated through the hearts of my parents and grandparents. I felt that great pain around me. Grandpa Dave had died two years previously, so Grandma Tess took it as her mission to be there for me and frequently have me over her home in Gibson, LI. I would frequently see my uncles there when they returned from college breaks. I also spent lots of time with Grandpa and Grandma Lou and Lil. Less frequently, I would see Uncle Larry at their home, as he lived elsewhere.

Then came the succession of specialist doctors, most of whom were really perplexed. Nonetheless, it was clear that Debbie had “developmental delay”. I rarely heard the term “cerebral palsy” though that was evident.

Slowly she grew and matured. She started special classes at PS 197, ultimately moving on to the Maimonides Institute in Bayswater, Far Rockaway, housed in a beautiful old mansion on the south shore of Jamaica Bay. Debbie spent well over a decade there, slowly gaining life skills. She demonstrated significant motor and cognitive impairments. She was sickly, but was persistent and resilient, but nonetheless slowly grew and matured. She returned to the NYC special education system which she attended by tromping to the bus stop on Empire Avenue, around the corner from our Almont Road home every day. She loved the succession of family dogs that became her constant companions and focus of her attention. Her latest canine objects of affection were Bayla, “Emeck” and Eli.

Ultimately, she “aged” out of the NYC system, CRCC, and new plans were researched and made. My parents found the New Hope Community in Loch Sheldrake, NY, domiciled at the old Brown’s Hotel. Debbie was to be part of this wonderful community, commencing on 8/24/1984 at 24 years old, for the remainder of her life. She roomed with Nikki Binder, who has remained her life-long friend and compatriot.

Over the years, Debbie slowly triumphed over her constraints; she moved to a semi-independent living arrangement (CLA) at 68 Novogrodsky Road, Woodridge, NY, a suburban split-level home, typical of the late 1950’s, with Nikki, along with Nathan, big Debbie and assortment of other then young people. She had various jobs in the local sheltered workshops. She was ever dedicated and persistent, she engaged with her housemates, her coworkers and her community of special people. Charlie was her boyfriend of many years. Years later she was offered the option to live in an apartment around the corner with big Debbie, but she declined that option as it “was too much work”.

Grandma Tess introduced Debbie to word puzzle books in her late teens, engendering a life- long passion for this activity, which waned as her health declined precipitously in recent months. That was an ominous portent of things to come.

Nonetheless, Debbie continued and endured. She triumphed over her adversities. She lived a vital life. She wanted a more normal life with children but knew this was not possible. Nonetheless, when she visited in recent years, she worked in physical therapy to become strong enough to be on the floor with her baby great-nieces, Johanna, Tessa, Sophia and Ruth.

As her mobility slowly began to decline over the decades, she adopted a roller walker, Speedy. There was a succession of Speedy’s, ever present in her life. She called me every Sunday at 8 AM. These were few minutes long calls during which time she shared snippets of her life. She would always conclude each phone call with “talk to you next week, brother”. She would visit us for week-long holiday at our home & get to know her nieces, nephew in laws and great nieces. She became attached to the various family canines, as she had with our parents’ dogs in earlier years. She hated to leave us, but her stays had to be limited per NYS statute.

Several years ago, Debbie demonstrated unequivocal evidence of Parkinson disease and mobility slowly continued to decline. Nonetheless, she transcended those additional burdens of the “falling disease” and the shaking. In early December, after a lovely weekend visit with her in Sullivan County, Debbie fell desperately ill, leading to a 3-week hospital stay, a nursing home stay and another emergent hospitalization. She returned to the nursing home and seemed to be making progress when we last saw her on 3/15/24, prior to our departure for Israel on a support mission. Starting the evening of 3/18/24, things started to go desperately wrong. Back to the hospital on 3/19/24, where she died at about 6:30 PM as Dr. McGinley was ministering medical care to her. Her last words were her agreement, “Yes”, to undergo the minor procedure Dr. McGinley was about to perform.

In the middle of that procedure, Debbie lost consciousness and passed. These terminal events transpired as we were on a support mission to our people in the land of Israel. We connected with very old friends from my elementary school, as well as bonding with decades old friends from our synagogue community and our newest friends in the greater community of Jewish people in the land of Israel. Debbie manifest throughout her life what we saw on full display in Israel; resilience and endurance and, ultimately, triumph and transcendence.

Am Israel Chai!!


Donations in Debbie's name can be made to New Hope Community, P. O. Box 289 Loch Sheldrake, NY 12759.


To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Deborah Gollomp, please visit our Tree Store


Mt. Lebanon Cemetery
7800 Myrtle Ave
Glendale, New York, United States
Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event
About this Event
Deborah Gollomp

In Loving Memory

Deborah Gollomp

1960 - 2024

Look inside to read what others have shared
Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.
Share Your Memory of