Deborah Lynn Gerlach
Deborah Lynn Gerlach of Emporium, PA, beloved daughter, sister, and friend was tragically taken from this life on October 26, 2016. She was 45 years old. She died in her home. The cause of death was homicide. A suspect is currently awaiting arraignment.
Born on May 16, 1971 in Grove City, PA to Robert James Gerlach and Cheryl McWilliams Mahmood, she graduated Grove City High School in 1988, and received her BA in Political Science and Literature at SUNY Purchase in NY. She lived and worked in Manhattan for several years before returning to her native Pennsylvania where she stayed for the remainder of her life.
Deborah struggled throughout most of her adult life from illness and addiction. She was a beautiful human being, beloved of God and her family, and deserved more than the indignity that was afforded her in her final moments. Her family wishes to assert that addiction needs to be treated as a public health issue and not a criminal or a moral issue. And we have every faith that Deborah will be received into the greater life that awaits in the arms of God who is love.
She is preceded in death by her father Robert of Kennerdale, PA who passed from this earthly life in 2012, and a daughter, Olivia Grace. She is survived by her mother Cheryl and step-father Malik (New York, NY), a brother Robert II (Pittsburgh, PA), a half-brother Karekin (San Francisco, CA), and former husband and father to her deceased daughter, Ted O'Donnell (New York, NY). She is also survived by several aunts, uncles, and cousins. She also leaves behind her beloved dog, Clio.
Deborah’s ashes will be scattered in a private ceremony at a time yet to be determined. No memorial or funeral service will be conducted in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.
Rest in peace, dear one. May flights of angels sing you to your rest.