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Deborah Rose Oaas

February 26th, 1953 - August 17th, 2020

Obituary for Deborah Rose Raymond Oaas Born: February 26, 1953 Died: August 17, 2020 “Where do I begin, to tell the story of how sweet a love can be….” God had a love for this beautiful person we all knew as Debbie Rose and it began in Butte, MT on February 26, 1953; a beautiful daughter to Donald Arthur and Peggy Hanratty Raymond, the 5th of the 6 “D’s”. She followed Deana, Donnie, Dickie and Denny and preceded the 6th, Danny. She lived a “normal” life growing up with 3 “Butte tough” brothers and an angelic older sister and a younger sister who liked testing the boundaries. Debbie was an exceptional daughter who began following the Gospel message of serving others as a loving daughter attending St. John’s Catholic School, and trying to help Mom out in any way she could. She was a tomboy from the start, an unbelievable speed skater never shying away from practice on an outdoor rink in sub-freezing weather and acquired her toughness from her brothers who may have tossed Debbie across the room a time or two for more phone time. But never did her love for Our Lord waiver. She attended daily Mass during Lent and always had a special calling in her heart. She attended Butte Central High School and worked tirelessly with Mom at the family business Don’s Triangle in her spare time. At BCHS she met the one who would eventually be her life soul mate. She was the Senior Class Treasurer and he was the President but no chemistry then, she had more of God’s work to do first. She developed ulcerative colitis that severely limited her high school activities and would lead to multiple complications that continued throughout her life. Upon graduation, while working at the 4B’s restaurant she met, and married Jim Benski. It was that marriage that brought her first child Jon Michael into the world in what was a miraculous preemie birth. Both Debbie and Jon Michael were close to death during the pregnancy but God had much more in mind for her life. Her two-year marriage was annulled; she and Jon Mike moved from their residence in Great Falls back to Butte where she worked as a single Mom and attended night school at Montana Tech. One close high school friend later invited her to her wedding and it was then Debbie’s life changed dramatically. She met her soul mate Erik Oaas, they danced the night away and continued dancing in their life together for nearly 43 years until she was called home after many years of difficult illnesses on August 17, 2020. Their marriage began in Greenwood, SC in 1978 and after moving back to Butte in 1980 for Erik’s work with his Dad at Montana Pole, the business was shuttered in 1984 but not before Debbie’s second child, Erika Rose was born in 1982 in what was a second miraculous birth where again both Mom and Baby were near death. Debbie’s work was not finished though. She and Erik moved their young family to Boise, ID when Erik began a career at Micron Technology. Debbie was an amazing mother to Jon and Erika and loving wife as her life’s passion began to take root. She began working for Sacred Heart Parish in Youth Ministry and she blossomed. She continued following her heart and her undying love of service to others. She was encouraged to pursue her theological degree in parish ministry in the Limex Program through Loyola University in New Orleans. Oh, did she soar! She loved studying and having incredible dialogue as she discerned her faith in a deep and beautiful way. Although her health continued to be compromised, she finished her degree and graduated in 2005. She dedicated her passion for service to the Catherine of Sienna Institute and loved working on Parish Retreats at Sacred Heart Parish. Her health had become a hindrance to continuing and with a deep regret she left her ministry. However, with loss comes gain for those who are open to God’s will. She became a grandmother in 1995 to Sammuel James Benski and 3 years later Kaed Michael Benski. She was graced with Patrick Joseph Bibbens in 2007 and Abigail Rose Bibbens in 2010. She treasured every moment with these beautiful grandchildren. She also loved it when Cosette Nicole Benski became her granddaughter in 2003. As much as she loved her ministry passion, without question her most fulfilling role and greatest love was being a regular Mom who coached basketball and soccer for Jon and Erika and being involved in every facet of their lives as they grew up. She was an incredible cook and loved to prepare gourmet meals. At Thanksgiving for many years, she hosted all of the Oaas family for nearly a week of fabulous meals and hospitality. She would look forward to this gathering every year. But how she loved being a Mom, GrandMom, Mommom and a soul mate to her husband. With family, they danced around the world together to Italy, the Caymans, Norway, Chile, The Netherlands. Traveled to NY, Great Lakes, along the East Coast, the South, Miami, San Fran, AZ, HI and loved the OR coast. How their love soared and thrived always in the love of Our Dear Lord. She took her Mom to NY and she and her husband were blessed to have both sets of parents on numerous trips to OR, CA and Norway. She loved to travel and see the world and share it with everyone. She had an amazing memory of details of each trip and they were always an adventure. When Debbie’s health became so compromised from a congenitally weakened heart and was confined to a bed, she knew she would be loved by and cared for by her soul mate. That love and care continued without fail. God blessed Debbie with a final trip in July to Tamarack. All of her children, spouses, partners, grandchildren, best friend Leona Kelly, her sister in law Tao, and mother in law Grammy shared, laughed, cooked and gave Debbie a beautiful gift of love back. How she loved those 10 days! And she was so proud of her son Jon, V.P. PIMCO in CA and her daughter Erika, co-owner of “a Café” with Ashley Syms in downtown Boise. Debbie was also blessed on Saturday night, she was anointed by Fr. Ben Uhlenkott and just a day later died peacefully surrounded by family and friends at home. She is surely dancing with our Dear Lord in the beauty of Heaven. Debbie’s life was truly a beautiful “Love Story” …… She is survived by her soul mate, Erik; children: Jon Michael Benski (and spouse Bobbi), Erika Rose Bibbens (and partner Ashley Syms); grandchildren: Sammuel James Benski (and spouse Eli), Kaed Michael Benski (and spouse, Olivia with Debbie’s first great granddaughter, Claire, who will be born in October), Cosette Nicole Benski, Patrick Joseph Bibbens, and Abigail Rose Bibbens; brothers: Donnie and Dickie; sister, Danny and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Donald and Peggy Rose Raymond; her sister, Deana and brother, Denny. We are so thankful for the exceptional care and generosity by everyone at Keystone Hospice but especially Jennifer C. and Carrie. Absolutely amazing! A viewing and Recitation of the Rosary will be held at 6:00 pm on Thursday, August 20 at St. Marks Catholic Church in Boise. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 am Friday, August 21 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Boise with Celebrant Fr. Rob Cook.

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Vicki Gribble

We are so sorry for your loss. Our prayers go out to you all in this time of sorrow. The Gribble Family

Published March 30th, 2024

annette stajcar

Sympathy to Jon and family. I was sorry to hear your mom had passed. She was always such a nice person, I have fond memories of when you lived in Butte. We lived across the alley from each other. Annette Weber Stajcar.

Published March 30th, 2024

JoAnn Butler

Dear Erik, Erika and all of your extended family, Mike and I were so sorry to learn of Debbie's passing. We were so honored to have known her for a short time in our lives and to learn how much love you all shared. Wishing you all so many wonderful memories! JoAnn Butler & Mike Spink

Published March 30th, 2024

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