Deborah Benjamin (Spoont) Segil passed away on July 2, 2021. She was born in 1928 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. She was part of a large extended family of Benjamins that had emigrated from Lithuania in the late eighteen hundreds and put down roots in Hazleton. Hazleton was a prosperous coal town in eastern Pennsylvania, and Debby’s maternal grandfather owned an important coal mine in the area. Debby’s father, Abraham Spoont, owned a clothing factory in nearby Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, and was a founding president of Temple Beth Israel in Hazleton.
Debby graduated from Hazleton High School as the valedictorian, following which she attended Smith College in Northampton and graduated magna cum laude in economics, which she always thought a great joke.
Debby spent her junior-year-abroad in Paris, arriving on the Queen Mary only a few years after the end of WWII. She was adventurous, and traveled around Europe on her own and with friends, in particular to Spain, at a time of some tumult. She was welcomed back to Hazleton by her loving, but anxious mother, Helen, who was relieved to see that Debby had survived her adventures in foreign parts, and intent on taking the reins again.
Upon her return from Europe, Debby moved to Chicago for work, where she met her husband-to-be, Bob Segil. They married in Hazleton, and had three sons, Neil, Joel and Jeffrey, before moving their young family to Marblehead, where they put down long-lasting roots. After 14 years of being a housewife and mother, Debby returned to school and received a master’s degree in social work from Boston University.
Having been out of the workforce for so long, and then attending school, all while raising her family, Debby was extremely excited to get her first job out of her master’s program at the city of Lynn’s Head Start program as a family therapist. From there, she moved to North Shore Children’s Hospital, again as a clinical social worker and family therapist, and as part of her position co-founded the North Shore Children’s Hospital Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic, which she helped run for several years as she transitioned into management. When North Shore Children’s became part of Salem Hospital, Debby took on new challenges and worked for several years at New Medico, a company that managed head-injury facilities.
For the last approximately 20 years, Debby worked for the Greater Lynn Senior Services agency (GLSS), perhaps the most satisfying part of her career. There she managed cases and developed programs to train caregivers, primarily of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. She became part of the GLSS family, of which she was extremely proud. She worked tirelessly at the development of a phone app that provided guidance for caregivers and which launched a few years ago. Debby retired from GLSS in 2020, and immediately regretted it. She began volunteering at the crisis hotline for HAWC, (Healing Abuse-Working for Change), a leading domestic violence agency in Massachusetts, where she worked until a few weeks before her death.
Debby was married to her beloved husband Bob for 64 years; he passed away in 2016. She is sorely missed by her brother Larry and sister-in-law Candy, her three sons Neil, Joel, and Jeffrey, and daughters-in-law Greta, Rosie, and Stacey; her six grandchildren Ben, Helen, Mathew, Alix, Jenna, and Nathan, and her nephews David and Andrew. She was loved and cared for by a host of devoted friends and family, old and young, whom she nourished with her love and wisdom until her last days.
For more information or to register in the online guestbook, visit stanetskyhymansonsalem.com.