Deborah Lee Frates, 72, a long-time Brule resident, passed away on Friday, November 18, at Gothenburg Health. An aggressive form of breast cancer returned and ended her life too quickly.
Deb was born at St. Mary's Hospital in North Platte, Nebraska on December 29, 1949 to Leo and Marian (Perlinger) Langmacher. She lived in Sarben, Nebraska until 3rd grade, then moved with her family to a farm southeast of Brule. Deb attended East Vail Country School (where her future mother-in-law taught) and her 8th grade graduation was held at the Ogallala Auditorium with other local country school graduates. Her family moved to Brule in 1965 and she graduated from Brule High School in 1968. She took business classes at Kearney State College before returning to Brule in 1970.
Deb's faith journey began at baptism. She celebrated her First Communion at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sutherland as a second grader. Her dress was later worn by both of her daughters and granddaughters for their First Communion ceremonies, spanning nearly 60 years. Deb was a long-time member of Saint Luke's Catholic Church in Ogallala, and her class was the first to be confirmed in the newly-built Saint Luke's Church in 1960. In the same church, she was united in marriage to her high school sweetheart John Robert Frates on November 27, 1970. All three of their children, Niki, Anne, and Mike, were baptized there. Their twin grandchildren, Adlyn and Brooks, were also baptized at St. Luke's. In later years, Deb continued to deepen her faith through a weekly bible study with Brule friends.
Professionally, Deb was the Village of Brule Clerk for 17 years where she modernized operations and billing processes. She then accepted a position as the Secretary of Staff Development at ESU (Educational Service Unit) 16 in Ogallala in 2002. She enjoyed the position and built many strong friendships with her co-workers. She retired after 16 years of dedicated service.
Deb prioritized and cherished watching her children and grandchildren's activities, ranging from sporting events to fine arts. Deb also loved watching or listening to Nebraska Husker Volleyball. Her love of 1960s music started as a teen listening to music featured on KOMA out of Oklahoma City on a transistor radio gifted by her father. She loved attending live concerts and theater events with her family.
Outside of Deb's career and family activities, she enjoyed being an active member of her community. She was a founding member of the Villagers Club of Brule which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. She spent over 40 years as the co-director of the Brule Alumni Association and recently served as secretary for the Brule Cemetery Board.
John and Deb liked to travel and special trips over the years included visiting California, Alaska, a Rhine River Cruise in Europe, a 50th wedding anniversary trip to Branson, and a family reunion trip to Washington Island, Wisconsin in 2021.
Deb had many special talents including flower gardening, beautifying her community, and preparing her home for every holiday, gathering, and celebration. Every visitor at her home was welcomed with a smile and warm conversation. She was an avid reader and often selected books from the WWII era. She loved reading to her children and grandchildren, especially at bedtime.
Survivors include her husband of 52 years, John Frates of Brule; children, Niki (Aaron) Salomon of Gothenburg, NE, Anne (Zach) Even of Lander, WY, Mike Frates of Omaha, NE; four grandchildren, Avery and Andrew Salomon, Adlyn and Brooks Even; sister, Lynda Hinrichs; along with many other relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be designated to the Deb Frates Memorial Fund or Brent's Place in Aurora, Colorado.
A memorial gathering will be held at the Brule Community Hall from 5-8 pm MST on Friday, November 25, 2022. Arrangements have been entrusted to Prairie Hills Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am MST on Saturday, November 26, at Saint Luke's Catholic Church in Ogallala. Interment at the Brule Cemetery will follow a church luncheon at St. Luke's.