Debbie Smith (Rivas)

Born December 24, 1951 in Lubbock, TX, Debbie passed to be with our Lord on October 10, 2007. Debbie grew up and lived all over the world. As a child she followed her parents, Moffett and Melba Smith, as they served first in the US Air Force in Tripoli and then the United States State Department with assignments in Bonn and Frankfurt, Germany; Khartoum, Sudan; Paris, France and Ankara, Turkey. Upon high school graduation Debbie pursued her university studies at Pierce College in Athens, Greece and Texas Tech University where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts. After a two year assignment in Athens teaching at Pierce College, Debbie returned to Texas Tech and completed her Master's Degree in French Literature.

In September of 1979 Debbie joined Texas Instruments in Lubbock, TX working on the innovative “Speak & Spell” educational product. Her extensive knowledge of languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Greek, and Turkish) allowed her to contribute to multiple variants of “Speak & Spell.” At Texas Instruments Debbie met Mario and after a short courtship they married on November 15, 1980.

The second phase of Debbie's world travels started with moves from Lubbock, TX to Austin, TX; West Palm Beach, FL; Tokyo, Japan; Fort Worth, TX; back to Austin; Eindhoven, The Netherlands; and for a third time returned to Austin, TX where the Rivas family considers home. In the process, Debbie added basic Japanese and Dutch language skills to her repertoire.

Debbie's desire was to become a missionary and her wish was fulfilled via her travels. She particularly enjoyed the women's ministry and taught at every opportunity and in every country she visited. Debbie loved to mix with the younger women and provide a listening ear. Debbie also had a special affection for children.
Surviving Debbie are her husband of 27 years Mario, son Andrew, daughter Vanessa, mother Melba Smith, siblings Calvin Smith, Darrel Smith, David Smith, and Diane and Ray Parker.

The family received visitors Friday, October 12 from 7 to 8:30 PM at Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Funeral Home in Pflugerville. A celebration of Debbie's life was held Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 1 p.m. at Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ, 11908 N. Lamar Blvd., with burial following at Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family wishes for donations to the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Austin, TX Share memories and thoughts with Debbie's family at Everlasting Memorial.

Published in the Austin American-Statesman on 10/12/2007.

In Memoriam