Debra Lou (Smith) Shanklin, 68 of Ashland, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, January 9th, 2022.
She was born on March 5, 1953, in Bellaire, OH, the daughter of Lester and Mary Lou (Isaly) Smith.
Debbie attended school at Ashland and briefly moved with her family to Michigan where she graduated
from Hudsonville High School in 1971. Shortly thereafter, Debbie returned to Ashland where she
married her first love, Paul Koons, on August 18, 1973. Together they built a life and raised two sons,
Phillip and Todd. Debbie worked as a switchboard operator for GTE and later found her passion as a
cook working for Ashland City Schools until her retirement in June 2021. Debbie was a long-time
member of First United Methodist Church in Ashland, where she devoted many years of service as the
church custodian until retiring in January 2018. On August 11, 2012, Debbie married the second love of
her life, Johnnie Shanklin, after being widowed for eight years. Together, Debbie and John found joy
and happiness as they participated in car shows and spent lots of time playing games, laughing and
creating special memories with family and friends. Debbie cherished family - especially her role as a
grandma – and she will be deeply missed by those that were blessed to call her mom, grandma, sister,
aunt, cousin and friend.
Debbie is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Phillip and Carla Koons of Polk, along with their
four children (Makenna, Bryan, Naomi, and Preston) as well as her son, Todd Koons, of Pittsburgh, PA.
In addition, she is survived by her siblings Bruce and Linda Smith, Dan and Cindy O’Brien, Scott and
Linda Anderson, all of Michigan, and David and Lily Smith of Virginia, as well as numerous nieces,
nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents and husbands Paul (June 2004) and
John (May 2021).
Services for Debbie will be held at 11am on Friday, January 14th at First United Methodist Church in
Ashland with Pastor Allan Bevere officiating. Friends and family are welcomed for visitation one hour
prior to the service. Burial will follow at Ashland Memorial Gardens. Fickes Funeral Home in
Jeromesville is assisting the family with arrangements.
Online condolences may be made at www.fickesfuneralhome.com.
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