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February 26, 2020
USATF Georgia mourns the loss of Deidra Charletta DeBerry
In Remembrance of USATF Georgia Official Deidra DeBerry
With much sadness and heartache, we have lost a young member of our USATF/Georgia Association official’s family. Deidra Charletta DeBerry, passed away on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. She was 31 years old.
In 2017, Deidra became an Apprentice USATF track and field official. Little did we know, but she had goals she was trying to achieve as fast as she could. Very few people knew, but Deidra had Lupus. She didn’t want anyone to know because she didn’t want to be treated differently and be told she couldn’t do something that would keep her from achieving her goals. She knew her limitations and time and time again, she pushed herself to do more. Those who knew, admired and respected her for her courage and determination to do more.
Cindy Slayton, Officials Chair, knew of her limitations and stressed she stay out of the sun as much as possible. She always had a smile and she never complained or asked to be put anywhere other than where she was needed. As a result, she worked high jump, pole vault, long and triple jump, umpire, lap counter, throws, anywhere she was needed she worked. The only request she ever made was not to tell anyone of her having Lupus.
Deidra played a big part as an official at the association meets and championships. If she wasn’t there, it was because she was sick. She was a part of the well-known Macon crew of officials that traveled to the meets with friend and mentor, Robert Thomas. Robert said,
“She never gave up and I am thankful she made it to 31 years old. I know I will miss her ... I will never forget her.”
Everyone that worked with Deidra as an official always had the same type comments.
“She was quiet, but she was so kind and sweet. She would do anything needed to be done at the event she was assigned. If she didn’t know how to do what you needed done, all you had to do was show her how to do the task. She always had a smile and never complained.”
In her 31 years--Deidra had a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy and wanted to be a Physical Education teacher as a professional career, but developing Lupus as a teenager and was unable to work a full-time job. She loved sports and was a substitute teacher. She became a USATF official to be involved in the sport she loved the best way she could. She also coached with a youth team, the Macon Striders in Macon with Coach Jerome Hutchins. One team was not enough. She also coached with Robert Thomas in the Macon Parks & Recreation program. She was slated to become the new Head Coach of the Park & Recs team next year with assistance from her mentor, Robert. She was very excited about this year’s coming season as a coach and official and was already planning the meets she wanted to officiate.
We will always remember her determination, kindness, her heart and most of all her smile. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and worked with her at the meets.
Survivors include her mother, Frances DeBerry; father, Melvin DeBerry; daughter, Gabrielle Marley Durham; grandmother, Mary Lee DeBerry; three sisters and a host of other relatives and friends.
The family may be contacted at 310 Sweet Bay Rd., Kathleen, GA.
Jones Brothers Mortuary, Macon, GA, is in charge of the arrangements.
Funeral services for Deidra Charletta DeBerry will be held 11 AM, Monday, March 2, 2020 at New Fellowship Bible Baptist Church, Warner Robins, GA.
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