Hasslein Blog: RIP: Debra Jane Shelly

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Hasslein Blog

Sunday, January 26, 2014

RIP: Debra Jane Shelly

by Rich Handley

Today, a friend of mine from the online world passed away.

Debra smiling (as she apparently always did),
at The Comic Book Lounge & Gallery
I doubt that I have ever met a nicer, more upbeat individual than Debra Jane Shelly. In fact, I've never seen a photo of her in which she wasn't smiling to the point of beaming. We became acquainted a few years ago through an online forum, and since then I've come to greatly admire and respect her kindness, cheeriness, sense of humor and accomplishments, and for the loving relationship she so clearly cherished with her boyfriend, Kevin A. Boyd.

I was looking forward to one day meeting her in person at a convention or some other event, so we could swap stories and discuss geeky topics over drinks, and it is my great loss never to have had that chance.

Debra was only 38 years old, and she passed away unexpectedly while taking a nap, from causes as yet unidentified. She was a researcher at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, and also sometimes worked at The Comic Book Lounge and Gallery (owned by Kevin), where she organized numerous events, including the ever-popular Ladies' Night.

From reading her postings on social media over the past several years, and from our own silly exchanges, one thing has been abundantly clear: She was a much-loved and inspiring person who made a strong impact on the lives of many comic book fans and professionals, as well as family members and friends. I can't think of a single negative thing to say about her, and I doubt anyone else who knew her could either. She was just that nice.

It says a lot about Debra that I could feel such a sense of loss without actually having ever met her. Rest in peace, my friend. The world is a darker place now without your light in it. My sincere condolences to Kevin Boyd, and to everyone who considered Debra a friend or kin. That's a lot of people, to be sure.


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4 Comments:

At January 27, 2014 at 7:56 AM , Blogger Brodie Searcy said...

I felt exactly as you do on her. There's this void in my life now and I barely knew her.

 
At January 27, 2014 at 8:02 AM , Blogger Hasslein Books said...

Brodie: There was something very special about Debra. Even just knowing her online was enough to be very shaken by news of her passing.

 
At March 19, 2014 at 7:13 AM , Blogger Greg Shelly said...

I just came across this blog, Deb was my sister. Thanks for writing it, and despite never meeting her in person, it really sounds like you knew her well. She was all of these great things, and more.

 
At March 19, 2014 at 7:20 AM , Blogger Hasslein Books said...

My sincere condolences to you, Greg. Having lost a brother myself, I understand the pain you are feeling right now--and as the father of an epileptic child, I grasp (and share) the fear your family likely always felt after she was diagnosed with the illness. Debra was such a nice person, and she was one of the very few people I've met online whom I genuinely hoped someday to meet in person. It's my loss that I never did.

--Rich Handley

 

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