Debra Jean Watts entered eternal rest Tuesday, January 28, 2020, in Durango. She was 64 years old.
Debra was born April 19, 1955, to Max and Ellen House Watts in Durango, Colorado. She grew up in La Boca on her family's farm and attended Ignacio Schools. She attended Haskell Indian College in Lawrence, KS and later Southwest Colorado Community in Durango, CO, where she obtained her Associate of Arts degree. She then transferred to Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Soon after high school, she moved to New York City, NY where she was a member of an all Native American Acting and Play group. She returned home where she pursued her education in cosmetology. Debra held many positions within the Southern Ute Tribe, she managed the Community Center in Ignacio, managed the old Sky Ute bingo hall, and worked in the TERO Department. She also worked for the Sky Ute Casino in the count team, casino cashier cage, accounting dept, marketing's players host desk and as Property Shift Manager. She also worked as an EMT for the Los Pinos Fire Dept in the early 90's. She enjoyed playing softball. Debra served as a board member for the Southern Ute Indian Housing Authority and on the Southern Ute Royalty Committee.
Debra enjoyed creating beautiful bead work, making traditional moccasins for her children and grandchildren, along with sharing stories of her life and adventures and her time growing up with her parents, who she loved and missed dearly. She passed down valuable traditional and cultural teachings to her children and grandchildren, along with her Ute language. She was one of few that fluently spoke Ute within her Southern Ute Tribe. She thoroughly enjoyed her time gambling at the casino with her son Corey, as she was always by his side, one was never without the other. But her grandchildren were the light of her life and she loved them more than any word could convey, they were her biggest blessings in life. She loved spending time with her family especially her grandchildren. Debra believed heavily in her traditional Ute culture and her Catholic religion. She impacted so many lives positively and always stopped to share a kind word and welcomed every person with an open heart without judgment from all walks of life which made it easy for her to be loved and respected by many. She truly was the definition of "One of God's angels here on earth." She was a strong person who overcame many obstacles throughout her life. She shared a unique bond with each one of her grandchildren. They were her world and brought her so much joy. She was their biggest fan and loved watching them play sports. They were her driving force to always get better when she faced a setback. She had many adopted grandchildren and Joe, D'Vondra, Marquise, and De'Vra were the apple of her eye.
She is survived by her children: Lorena and Corey Richards, Terence Jacob, Autumn and Sage MedicineBlanket; grandchildren: Joseph and D'Vondra Garcia, Marquise and De'vra Richards, and Warren Whyte; great-grandchildren: Ezekiel Silva De Torres, Luna Rodriguez, and Freja Randall.
She is preceded in death by her son: Patrick Watts; her parents; siblings: Corey Watts, Billie Mae Frost, Lula Watts, Colleen Sage, Ellenette Humpy, and Ed Watts.
A Rosary will be recited on Friday, January 31, 2020 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Ignacio, CO at 6:00 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, February 1, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., also at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. Burial will occur at at Ouray Memorial Cemetery.
Published in The Durango Herald on Jan. 29, 2020.