Photography

Deborah Lillian Bouknight

July 22, 1950 ~ June 28, 2020 (age 69)

Obituary

The funeral service for Deborah Lillian BouKnight  will begin at 11:00 am, Saturday, July 11, 2020.

Deborah Lillian Bouknight

Deborah Lillian Bouknight was born on July 22, 1950 in Elizabeth , NJ to the late Johnnie May Bouknight Byron and William Matthews.  She departed this life on Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 7:31pm.  As she slept pain free and breathed on her own, Deborah drifted away while her daughter, Sameera and son, Calvin were at her side.  It was a GLORIOUS moment.

For Deborah, family was always a top priority.  The eldest of 12 Bouknight/Byron/Mathews-Jackson siblings, she learned early how to shoulder the responsibility for those under her charge.  No wonder she spent more than 25 years, of her 40+ years work history employed in the school transportation system ensuring children's safety and well-being.  This is how Deborah needs to be remembered, as a protector, a motivator, a guardian - she stood up and shouted out loud for people who had little or no voices.  It was this need to advocate that led Deborah to The Eastern Star, Zipporah lodge chapter, of the International Masonry in 2004.  Here, in her rank as Daughter, she served as both Secretary and Treasurer until health issues forced her to step down in 2013.  She remained an active and supportive member up until the relocation/transition of the Chapter.

Deborah encouraged her children to go beyond their circumstances and see the world as an invitation to opportunities.  From employment at Herman's World of Sporting Goods to Supermarket Service to Vogel Bus Company to J+J Transportation (from which she retired in 2013), Deborah was committed to providing a strong home base and setting a high educational bar for her children.  As a young woman at Battin's All Girl High School, Deborah left school halfway through 11th grade, 1.5 years shy of graduating.  She also walked away from a vocational internship for a word procesing program.  Later, as a more mature and grounded woman and mother, Deborah refused to allow her children and family members to squander opportunities and instead challenged them to Want more, Do more, Be more, Expect more, Give more.  Her commanding type of character served as a tower of strength for her family.  Often the one who stood out in front, while letting others stand behind her - sheltered and protected.

Deborah's strength and tough-mindedness prepared her to spend the last 6 years of this life (2014-2020) undergoing a hip replacement, a replacement of both knees, back surgery, and a litany of physical health concerns.  Through it all, Deborah willed herself past the debilitating pain, the surgeries, the rehabs, and continued on living her life.  Even during this Covid-19 Pandemic, Deborah remained defiantly negative!  For those who met her, even for a short while, were impressed by her light.  For those who knew her more intimately, they were graced with the brightness of her spirit.

Deborah is preceded in death by her beloved parents Johnnie May Bouknight Byron and Charles H. Byron, Sr., her father, William Matthews and step mother, Wanda Jackson, sister, Burnett Bouknight, brother, Joseph Byron, and step brother, Waverly Jackson.

Deborah's legacy continues in her son Calvin L Bouknight, daughter Sameera N Birch (Sherod), siblings, Norman L Bouknight (Kyle), Pamela Brown, Charles H. Byron, Jr., Michelle T. Johnson (Lance), Barbara Jackson, Rose, Raymond Jackson (Chinyera), Lisa Harris (Shawn), Rhonda Jackson Stevens (Richard), Carl Jackson (Surapa), her spiritual sister, Lenora Crum (Alonzo), her grandson Devante L Bouknight, her granddaughter, Alicia B Bouknight, 11 nieces and nephews, 6 aunts, 2 uncles, a host of great nieces and nephews, cousins, and cherished friends. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Deborah Lillian Bouknight, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Saturday
July 11, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Smith Funeral Home
455 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07208

Funeral Service
Saturday
July 11, 2020

11:00 AM
Smith Funeral Home
455 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07208

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