Debra Roberts
Knoxville, TN
Debra Ann Carswell Roberts
Debra Ann Carswell Roberts, 67, died on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Debbie was born in Manchester, N.H., on November 3, 1951, to Virginia "Gina" Colby and Elwin Carswell. Debbie graduated from Milan High School in Milan, Tenn. She earned her bachelor's degree in education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master's degree in early childhood education from Brenau University. Debbie married the love of her life, Dash Roberts, on June 9, 1973, the day Secretariat won the Triple Crown. They lived in Gwinnett County, Ga., where Debbie served as a kindergarten teacher at Dyer Elementary for over 30 years. Debbie's love of children was unmatched and her greatest legacy is the many children she taught and loved, and by whom she would want to be remembered. She cherished being a mother to her son, Hunter Lane Roberts (Polly), and adored her grandsons Coleman Dash and Case Andrews Roberts. Debbie and Dash retired to Knoxville, Tenn., where they cheered on their beloved Vols and enjoyed becoming part of the downtown community. Debbie was a volunteer cuddler at East Tennessee Children's Hospital and a member of Church Street United Methodist Church. In Georgia, she also was an active member of Buford First United Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday School and directed the preschool. In addition to her husband, son, daughter-in-law and grandsons, Debbie is survived by her sister Susan Carswell-Hurdis (Jim); her sister-in-law Jo Harshbarger; her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Harvey and Arlene Roberts; her nephews Thad Harshbarger (April), Clay Harshbarger and Matthew Hurdis; her niece Melanie Doster (Nate); her Knoxville great nephew and niece, Taegun and Eliana Harshbarger; and many other loving family members. Her family gives special thanks to Dr. Larry Kilgore and his dedicated team, as well as the Belles Support Group, who all extended much care and kindness to Debbie over the years. The family will receive friends at Berry Highland Funeral Home, 5315 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, on Wednesday, May 22, at 3 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 4:30 p.m., with Dr. Jan Wade officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to East Tennessee Children's Hospital or the Gynecologic Cancers Education and Research Fund at UT Medical Center. Condolences may be offered online at

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