Cover photo for Debbie Symes's Obituary
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Debbie Symes

October 31, 1948 — April 27, 2024

Oklahoma City

Debbie Symes

Lovingly surrounded by her devoted family, Deborah Lee Terry Symes (Debbie), passed away at home and entered the arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on April 27, 2024.

Debbie was a loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, and dear friend. She was born on October 31, 1948, to her parents John and Dean Terry. She grew up in Oklahoma City and Ardmore, graduating in 1966 from Ardmore High School where she was a cheerleader and Homecoming Queen. Debbie earned an English degree from the University of Oklahoma where she was an active member and officer of Pi Beta Phi.

Debbie married her true love, Clarence Scott (“Bubba”) Symes. Together, they shared their deep and lifelong love of family with the birth of their four children: Steven Scott, Laura Katherine, John Clayton, and Barbara Caroline. In addition to raising her young children, Debbie managed part-time work by painting needlepoint canvases and teaching preschool gymnastics. She also co-founded and owned Heart House Designs. She served her community as a member of the Junior League of Oklahoma City where she was chairman of several committees.


Debbie was so talented and took a keen interest in many hobbies. She could sing and play piano, play tennis, needlepoint, and enjoyed many handicrafts. She was a skilled artist and an incredible cook. Whether it was a game of cards with her bridge club friends or board games with her kids or grandkids, she mastered it all. God bestowed on her the gift of hospitality as she opened her home and table to so many. One of her greatest joys was to host large Sunday lunches for the entire family and their friends each and every week.


Her warmth and good nature compelled her to love and remain close to her many friends. She found time to enjoy countless get-togethers and trips with friends, hosting them for meals, and later in life spending time with the “Empty Nesters” group. If there was a special event in the life of her family, friends, or her friend’s children, Debbie was always the first to offer to help or serve as hostess in her home. So many of life’s most memorable events were made possible because of Debbie. She made everything more beautiful, more delicious, and more special with her signature love and care.


Debbie adored family time including their yearly highlight – vacations to Orange Beach, Alabama. Her life’s passion was family and every ounce of extra time revolved around spending time with them. While raising her kids, she logged many hours in the bleachers watching them play tee ball, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, cheer, gymnastics, swimming, diving, and tennis. Years later, she and Bubba were back in the bleachers to enjoy their eight grandkids, watching each of their sports and school activities. She was their greatest supporter and cheerleader.


In 1989, Debbie entered the world of education when she became a beloved fourth grade teacher at Heritage Hall for eleven years. The crowning achievement of her career was her role as one of the founders of Crossings Christian School in 2000. Called by her faith and her heart for children, she devoted 25 years to CCS, helping to shape a school of excellence, rooted in faith. During her tenure she served as the Director of Admissions, as well as the Early Childhood Director until her passing. Her influence, guidance and love of Crossings served as a guiding light for the school. She epitomized the role of servant leader with her thoughtfulness, creativity, wise counsel, and love; exemplifying the school’s mission to develop Christ-centered servant leaders. Crossings was “heaven on earth” for her as she cherished and supported the staff, parents, and students through her many years of service.


A member of Skyline Church, Debbie loved to praise and worship her Heavenly Father and, as an adult, was baptized into her faith. She completed many Bible studies throughout her life including several years of Bible Study Fellowship.  Her deep love and obedience to the Lord was the driving force and foundation of all that she did.


She is preceded in death by her parents and her sister Diane Ardis. She leaves behind her loving family, including her husband of more than 55 years Bubba, sons Scott (Art) and Clay (Tara), daughters Laura Lovelace (Todd) and Carrie Woody (Grant) as well as her brother Jim Terry (Sandy) and sister Liz Tiffany, along with numerous nieces and nephews. The adored grandchildren include Zack, Kayli, and Nate Woody; Ross (Addison), Reid, and Kate Lovelace; Trevor and Sydnee Symes. 

The family would like to thank CompleteOK Home Health and Hospice and the Cornerstone Caregiving team for the incredible nurses who took such great care of our sweet Debbie. Also, to the countless friends and family who sent texts, cards, food, cokes, snacks, filled the fridge, and everything in between, thank you. Your love, prayers, and care have sustained us.

Services will be held at Crossings Community Church on Thursday, May 9th at 2:00 pm. Help us honor Debbie’s precious life by wearing bright and happy colors to her celebration. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Debbie’s honor may be made to Crossings Christian School using their website,

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Past Services

Memorial Service

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

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