Deborah Lynn Butterfield was born on September 14, 1965, in Seattle Washington.
Debbie grew up in Bothell, Washington, where she graduated from Bothell High School. After high school she attended Shoreline Community College, then transferred to Western Washington University where she graduated with a degree in English Literature.
In 1989, she married Phil Onishi in Seattle Washington.
At the time of her passing, she and Phil had been married nearly 32 years. Debbie was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme brain cancer in March 2019. Through multiple chemo treatments, radiation and other cancer treatments, Debbie showed incredible courage and strength.
On January 27, 2021, God called Debbie home to join Jesus in heaven. She passed away peacefully, while lovingly held by her boys. She is survived by her husband Phil, sons Matthew and Kenzo, parents Dennis and Nellie Butterfield and brother Peter and wife Lourdes Butterfield.
This website is a place to collect stories, memories, thoughts, prayers, photos and more in remembrance of the beautiful soul, Debbie Onishi.
Click here to browse the photo album we created for our dear Debbie.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
In Debbie's last few months, I would read Bible verses to her before turning out the lights at night. She would tell me that she wanted to memorize the verses. I would read a few words at a time, and she would repeat them back to me. It might take 40 minutes as we worked on a verse. Debbie had a very difficult time remembering words, so I would speak four words and she would repeat, then 3 more, then a few more. We were rarely successful at memorizing any verses in their entirety, but it meant so much to her to hear God's word and know that He was there.
On the left are two very special photos. I'm so very thankful that Kenzo Onishi was on a choir tour that summer, ending his tour in Paris. We flew to Paris and meet up with my sister Leann and Kenzo. The first photo shows Debbie's joy as she was visiting Shakespeare and Company in Paris in the summer of 2018. The total book nerd could not be contained. The other Paris memory photo shows another love of Debbie's, the appreciation of art. Visiting The Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris was a deeply emotional visit. Debbie was memorized by the massive display of Monet's work. Here she stands in awe next to some of the gigantic surround of Monet's beautiful paintings.
Tell your Debbie story. Send a message of love and tribute. Share a scripture, share a photo. My dear relative Ricardo...