Debra (Cunningham) Briggs, a beloved sister, wife, mother, and grandmother passed away after a four-year battle from complications related to her lungs, intestines and kidney on July 30, 2020, at her home in Pocatello, Idaho, at the age of 69. She was born on March 18, 1951, to Jay Ross and Lillie (Sample) Cunningham. She was the oldest daughter among six siblings: David, Jim, Barbara, Kay and Jay.
She lived In Pocatello most of her life working at 5th Avenue Restaurant, Kraft Foods and The Press Box. She met Pat Briggs at Kraft Foods and they married on August 21, 1981, and raised three beautiful daughters Cynthia (Bottoms) Tennant, Angela (Bottoms) Vietri, and Terra (Briggs) Larsen.
Terra said: “I’ll never forget your laugh, your beautiful smile, your warm loving arms, and your soft kisses. You were my biggest fan and my soft place to fall. I was truly blessed to have the best Mother this life could offer me. You are the kindest, most giving person, with the hugest heart. I wish you could have seen our Harlee girl grow up. I promise I will tell her about her Grandma Debbie and how much you cherished her. I am glad that Olivia and Veronica had more time with you along with all your other grandchildren and will always remember you. I will take care of Dad. This is by far our biggest loss yet. But our family is strong and we will get through together and keep your memory alive in our hearts forever. You touched everybody you met with your kind heart and big hugs and kisses. There really are not enough words to express my sadness and sorrow. You will suffer no more and that will give me peace.”
Angela said: “The world lost one of the sweetest souls … my mother, Debra Briggs to know her was to love her. If you were lucky enough to call her a friend or family, you knew you would get a BIG hug and smooch right on the lips upon greeting her and upon leaving…. Words like, ‘You are beautiful and so wonderful rolled off her lips to describe you. She was delighted to see you and called you her favorite. She made you feel important. And she did these things because she meant it! She loved you and me with every fiber of her being. My heart is so heavy and I am going to miss my confidant, my cheerleader, my friend, my beautiful loving mother…. I love you mommy.”
Cynthia said: “Ode to my mother who I will forever cherish, and know in my heart she was and always will be my biggest fan. I was able to read the following poem to her before she passed:
“Mom from the time that I was really young.
I realized I had someone – you,
Who always cared,
Who always protected me,
Who was always there for me no matter what.
You taught me right from wrong,
And pushed me to do the right thing,
Even when it was hard to do.
You took care of me when I was sick,
And your love helped make me well. You had rules, and I learned that when I obeyed them,
My life was simpler, better, richer.
You were and are the guiding light of my life.
My heart is filled with love for you,
My teacher, my friend, my mother.” By Karl and Joanna Fuches
Deb and Pat were blessed with eight grandchildren: Justin and Jacob Tennant, Gabrielle (Gabby), Margot (Maggie), and Sophia Vietri; Olivia, Veronica and Harlee Larsen. She loved her grandchildren and their pictures are scattered on walls throughout her home. One way she showed her love was through photography. She and Pat have over 75 photo albums.
Deb is survived by her husband, Pat. They would have celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary on August 21, 2020. She is also survived by her nieces, Tina (Cunningham) Packer, Leslie (Cunningham) Rowe, Jessica (Cunningham) Kroll, Stefanee (Cunningham) Welker and Angel (Colling) Rivara (living in Italy); and her nephews Ross, Darrell, Conar, and Nolan Cunningham plus Clint and Mathew Colling. She was preceded in death by her parents and grandparents. The family expresses heartfelt gratitude to Debbie’s sisters, Barb and Kay, for taking care of their sister this year helping her regularly on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (until COVID-19 prevented it), and every week the last three months driving back and forth between Utah and Idaho during Debbie’s “rehabilitation”. The family also expresses special thanks for the help of Tiffany Bingham, Encompass Health, for being available with information and advice at every turn in the road and to Stefanee (Cunningham) Welker (Home Helpers) and Comfort Care Hospice for assisting with the fine details during the last days of Debbie’s life.
Debbie chose to be cremated. A Celebration of Life is being planned for September 19, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Sister City Park, Pocatello Creek Road and Satterfield Drive, Pocatello, ID.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Cornelison Funeral Home, 431 N. 15th Ave., Pocatello. Condolences and full obituary will be available online at www.cornelisonfh.com
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