Life was a challenge from the day Deborah Carol Tuggle was born. Struggling to come into the world Deborah Carol Maitlen arrived on Monday March 8, 1954 at the Cushing Masonic Hospital; the first of 4 daughters born to John and Dorothy (Griffeth) Maitlen. The curly haired, green eyed child was the great granddaughter of 1889 Land Run pioneers on both sides of the family who settled in the Cushing, area. Debbie grew up on a farm below the big brick home on the hill that her great-grandfather Floyd Griffeth had built.  There she raised lambs and calves purchased with money she made when she began baby-sitting, at age 12. She willingly used her money to buy things for her sisters, too, when she sold the animals.

She attended Harmony grade school where she played basketball and began a life-long friendship with Hope Cathey, riding horses and spending time at the Country Club, where Hope lived.

Taking care of, and cherishing her family and friends has always been important to her.

In the summer to surprise her parents when they came home from work she had cleaned the house, mowed the yard and had supper ready. She did everything with great love. Her desire to help make the lives easier is how she lived her life.

When all her classmates were excited about turning 16 and getting their driver’s license, she was in no hurry, as she had already been driving on the farm for some time.  During her Junior and Senior years she drove her VW Beetle to work at Bills EZ Out….and yes, by then she was a licensed driver.

About that long curly hair that she had …. she and Bev decided to iron it and  to make sure it was really straight, cranked up that iron a bit too hot. Debbie had to have her long hair cut very short her Senior year.

Garnering ‘straight A’s’ she graduated with the Cushing High School class of 1972 and moved to Midwest City, while attending College. She later moved to Tulsa where she met and married her husband Jerry Lee Tuggle on October 26, 1974. Seven years later the couple welcomed their first son Jon, who 3.5 years later got to made the announcement to the world when his brother Marc Alan was born.

Debbie loved others unconditionally, cherishing her role as wife, mom, grandmother, neighbor, and friend. She was always at her children’s activities, even if it meant sitting out in the scorching hot sun for hours at ball games without complaining.

Interested in so many things, she loved learning all she could; most recently in creative writing and genealogy classes.

Whenever someone needed help, she would drop everything to assist them, like her parents before her, willingly giving away anything she had, if she thought someone else needed it, even if it meant she often did without things that she needed. She was careful to always thank God for a meal, no matter how meager.      Helping someone whose heart was breaking…..sharing her food….spending time with someone who felt isolated from the rest of the world…. She knew that love is the most important thing.

When she asked how you were, she truly wanted to know; listening carefully so she knew what to pray for, yet never mentioning what she was going through. Most people were unaware that she had lost part of her sight due to a stroke suffered during heart surgery in 2008.

Always in the background, as far as she could get from the spotlight, she was the one clapping loudest to encourage others. Debbie found joy in looking for the best in everyone and took notice of many things to appreciate in each person she came in contact with, whether friend or stranger. Although very shy, she liked to compliment what it was she saw, aware that just one person’s kindness can give another hope and may be the only encouragement they ever heard.

She loved to pray good things for people, even those who were unkind to her. She never saw herself as a leader—-but in every aspect of her life she led by example.

She was truly John Maitlen’s daughter, never seeking revenge or retaliating in any way, nor having any desire to say unkind things; choosing instead to do what her mother, Dorothy (‘Dot’), always said to do: be extra kind to anyone who is unkind to you.

She endured many traumatic events, challenges and setbacks in her life, yet she never lost faith.

Debbie has been described by friends as kind, patient, humble, respectful, tenderhearted, unselfish and a peacemaker.  Her unwavering loyalty to friends, and unshakeable faith combined with integrity showed in everything she did, leaving a huge absence that will be in our hearts forever.

Debbie just recently began volunteering with the A Heart for the Widowed project  as the Oklahoma Ambassador.

Debbie and Jerry built their dream home in the country near Kellyville, where they resided until Jerry’s passing in 2014 when she returned to Cushing. Debbie passed on to Heaven at her home on Nov. 19, 2018. She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Dorothy Maitlen; husband Jerry Tuggle, maternal grandparents Lee and Opal Griffeth, Cushing and paternal grandparents Cash and Grace Maitlen of the Cushing/Yale area.

Left to cherish her memory are her son’s Jon Tuggle (Abby) of Sapulpa and Marc (Jennifer) of Kellyville, and step-daughter Krysti Cooper (Shannon).  Grandchildren:   Gavin, Jorden and Skyler Tuggle, Michaila Gann, and Levi McCrary; great-grandchildren Jakoby, Julian and Thea McCrary; Sisters: Beverly (Johnny) Barnes of Tulsa, Pam (Tom) Lynch of Stillwater and Edie (Danny) Rogers of Cushing.

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments but what is woven into the lives of others. Pericles.

We take comfort in Isaiah 57:1-2 Righteous people die, and no one understands, none considering that the righteous are taken away from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.

One of Debbie’s favorites:

Before a caterpillar can emerge as a butterfly, it has to go through a lot of struggling inside the “chrysalis” to shed its life as it is.
If it were to emerge from the chrysalis too soon— by someone breaking open the chrysalis–the butterfly would die instead of
reaching its glorious potential. It is from the struggles that it becomes stronger.When the struggle is over, no longer confined to its previous earthbound body the butterfly is set free from struggles and earthly
constraints to soar.What the caterpillar sees at the end of its life, the butterfly knows is only the beginning. -unknown

When we accept Jesus Christ, as our personal Savior, by Grace we too will be transformed and receive eternal life.


Services for Deborah Carol (Maitlen) Tuggle were on Saturday, November 24th (2018) at the Cushing Christian Church with Reverend Jim Forrest Officiating.