On January 2, 2023, Gridley native Debbie Pendergraft passed away in Boise, Idaho, at the age of 69 after many years of declining health.
Debbie was born on November 2, 1953, in Gridley, CA, one of six children of Orion Frank Pendergraft and Hazel Laurel Redwine Pendergraft -- along with her three brothers, Paul, David, and Carl; and her two sisters Tamara and Pamela.
All through her happy childhood, Debbie and her family lived in a home near Gridley on the Onscott Peach Ranch, where her father was the operation's main mechanic. Her sister Tami remembers all the years of their playing in the orchards, jumping into the mud, and then swimming in the canals. Debbie attended Gridley schools, was also a Girl Scout, and as a teenager worked summer shifts on the peach grader at the old Libby, McNiell & Libby cannery.
At age 16, Debbie met and married Bobby Lopez. They became the parents of their daughter Marcie. Bobby passed away a few years later. In 1985, Debbie married Byron Henry Mowles, and born to them were their two sons Tyler and Drew. She was involved with all the activities of her growing boys, especially the Gridley Youth Football programs, cheering on the kids and working the concession stands. In later years, she became a proud grandmother of four: Marcie's daughter Mallory, Drew's son Dylan, and Tyler's sons Lane and Levi.
Debbie's work life consisted almost entirely of nearly 20 years as a field worker and flagger for the local Avag Inc. Other favorite activities included aerobics, and later on exploring the mountains with her boyfriend David.
In 2003, Debbie was diagnosed with an aggressive and virulent brain cancer. The operation to remove the tumor was an initial success, but it left her with increasing physical disabilities. In 2012, Debbie moved to a nursing home in Boise, where doctors, the nursing staff, and her sister Tami cared for her.
Debbie is survived by her sons Drew and Tyler Mowles, who live in the Gridley/Biggs area; her sisters Tami and Pam; her brothers David and Carl; and her four grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Paul, and her daughter Marcie.
A graveside service to honor her life will be held this Spring at the Gridley Cemetery, where she will be buried near her parents and daughter Marcie.