Debra J. Hannapel

April 17, 1955 - September 4, 2015
Martin, MI



Wednesday, September 9, 2015
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
Plainwell Location
120 South Woodhams Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
(269) 685-5881
Driving Directions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Allegan County Animal Shelter
2283 33rd Street
Allegan, MI 49010
(269) 686-5112
Web Site

Lupus Foundation of America
2000 L Street, NW, Suite 410
Washington DC 20036
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Plainwell Flowers
117 S. Main
Plainwell, MI 49080
(269) 685-8055
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


All who knew Debra Hannapel would agree that she was the heartbeat of everything around her. She was vibrant, vivacious, and was the life of the party. It was easy to see that there was no greater treasure in Deb’s life than her family. She treasured her husband and lived to nurture and care for her children, yet when her granddaughters arrived she just may have argued that her life was finally complete. A well-loved sister and loyal friend as well, Deb just had a way of drawing others near with ease. Life was not without times of trial for her, but she faced whatever came her way with a quiet strength and a graceful courage that were truly inspiring. Life will never be the same without Deb here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever treasure.

It seems only fitting that Deb’s journey began during a time that was as colorful as she was. It was the 1950s when televisions were becoming part of our homes, James Dean made young girls swoon on the silver screen, and Elvis Presley took the music world by storm with his rock ’n roll music. This was also the decade that planted the seed of what became the civil rights movement, and by the end of that decade, the space race between the United States and The Soviet Union was underway. It was in 1955 that Douglas and Lena (Tiller) Stewart were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as the beauty of spring unfolded in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The big day finally arrived on April 17th when their baby girl they named Debra Jo drew her first breath. She was the youngest of the three girls in her family, and she was extremely close to her sisters, Sherry and Vicki, throughout her entire life. Growing up in Kalamazoo, Deb was a young girl of her generation. She attended local schools and developed a love of caring for animals of all kinds while growing up.

After graduating from Loy Norrix High School, Deb was ready to see all that life had in store. She took a job with Economy Printing, which proved to be quite fateful since it was there that she met the young man of her dreams. He was a coworker named Bruce Hannapel, and their relationship developed after he delivered a Vernor’s soda to her desk. Although Deb didn’t like that type of pop, she liked Bruce, so she didn’t tell him! Eventually, they started dating and on one of their first dates Bruce casually stated “Let’s get married and have a son named Joshua.” They soon found themselves deeply in love and several dates later, an official marriage proposal came which was followed by their wedding on November 14, 1981.

With her marriage to Bruce, Deb also welcomed his two children, Craig and Lisa, into her heart. In July of 1982, she gave birth to their foretold son, Joshua. In 1985 the couple welcomed their second son Noah, and in 1987 their daughter Jolena was born to complete their family. Deb was an amazing wife, mom, and homemaker as well as the best party hostess around. She forever had fun activities planned for whatever group of kids came over. In the summer, it was huge water balloon fights and in the winter days giant sledding parties in their backyard. It should come as no surprise to those who knew Deb to hear that she was always in the middle of the fun! In addition to her fun-loving spirit, she was also known for her home cooking including her jams, bread, homemade pizza and lasagna, and her pies were famous for their crusts. Deb’s holiday candies were also a favorite among her family and friends.

In addition to caring for her home and family, Deb also kept busy in other ways. She always remained close to her family, and she enjoyed spending time with them as well. One of their favorite things to do was to get together for an evening of card playing. To say that Deb was competitive may be an understatement! She loved a mean game of hearts as well as a good game of poker. Deb was also a fierce competitor when it came to board games. She loved yard games, too, including their family favorites – croquet and horseshoes, and would spend the summers under the sun playing these games with her family. Over a period of several years, she operated a dog training business which allowed her to foster and find homes for several rescue dogs. Deb always had animals around, but her favorite was her tiny Dachshund, Riggs, named after her Hollywood crush, Mel Gibson, taken from his Lethal Weapon character.

Although Deb had lupus for 30 years, she never let it have her. She was a strong and courageous woman who lived her life dedicated to her family, determined to live a normal life. Deb was thrilled with the birth of her granddaughters, Angel and Sophia, and she savored every moment that she spent with them.

A beautiful woman on the inside and out, Debra Hannapel was truly amazing. She was never concerned with building wealth or gaining possessions, rather, her focus was on blessing those around her in ways both great and small. Deb was completely devoted to her family, and had a contagious laugh and a smile that could light up any room. She will be forever missed by those too numerous to count.

Debra J. Hannapel, of Martin, died on September 4, 2015. Deb is survived by her husband Bruce, her children: Joshua (Mary) Hannapel, Noah (Bresha Beckman) Hannapel and Jolena Hannapel, her stepchildren: Craig Hannapel and Lisa (Pete) Turner, her granddaughters Angel & Sophia, her sisters Sherry (Kerry) Halsted and Vicki (Craig) Andrina as well as many other relatives. A visitation will be held Wednesday, September 9, 2015, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Life Story Funeral Homes, Plainwell; 120 S. Woodhams (685-5881). Visit Deb’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory and sign her guest book. Memorial donations may be made to the Lupus Foundation of America or Allegan County Animal Shelter.