Deborah Anderson Gouldin

June 25, 2018

Deborah Anderson Gouldin passed away peacefully on June 25, 2018. She was born as the only daughter to Arvid and Virginia Anderson, both of whom predeceased Debbie. She was also predeceased by her younger brother, Arvid (Arvie) and her grandparents. She is survived by her husband, David and their children: Robert and his wife Sondra; Michael and his wife Susan; Lauryn and her husband Nico Commandeur; and Derek (Rick) and his wife Melissa. She is also survived by ten beloved grandchildren: Michael (Curt), Jinny, and Teddy Gouldin; Abby and David Gouldin; Nick and Sam Gouldin; and Sophie, Lyla, and Derek (Henry) Commandeur.

            Shortly before graduating from Elmira College, where she received her degree in elementary education and speech therapy, Debbie Anderson went on a fateful “blind date” with then-Cornell law student Dave Gouldin. Debbie married Dave a year and a half later at her home church in Hartford, CT, before moving to Binghamton with Dave in the summer of 1966.

            Debbie taught briefly in the elementary grades at Benjamin Franklin before stepping down to give birth to her first son, Robert. She remained out of the work force while her next three children, Michael, Lauryn and Rick, were born. In 1982, she went back to work part-time home teaching elementary and middle school students from the Binghamton District. Over the last two decades of Debbie’s life, she and Dave welcomed ten grandchildren to their family. Debbie adored Curt, Jinny, Abby, Teddy, Nick, David, Sophie, Sam, Lyla, and Henry, and they, in turn, adored her.

            Debbie’s active involvement in the community dates to her arrival in Binghamton, when she joined the Junior League and the Board of Directors of the Family and Children’s Society. Through her decades in Binghamton, Debbie served on a variety of committees and boards, including the Southern Tier Institute for the Arts and Education, the Sixth Judicial District Review Committee, the Board of Trustees of the Wyoming Annual Conference (which she chaired), the Gannett Scholarship Committee, the Broome Dusters Hockey Advisory Board, the Planning Commission for the City of Binghamton and the Southern Tier Zoological Society.

She also served for eight years as a Trustee for Elmira College. She served as General Chair of the Campaign for the Broome County United Way in 1993, and later served as the President of the United Way Board. She was a founding member of the Board of the Community Foundation for South Central New York (and later the Chair of the Board). In 2002, she was part of a group of women who came together to establish the Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund. In recent years, she was especially proud of having been one of the founders of Binghamton University’s annual Celebrating Women's Athletics Luncheon, which has grown exponentially over the last thirteen years and which celebrates (and raises scholarship funds for) female student-athletes. In 2006, Debbie was honored as the Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts.

            Among other things, Debbie is remembered for her infectious and beaming smile, her talent for and interest in gardening, and her devotion to her church. She enjoyed bridge, golf, and book club with her friends, as well as any family gatherings. She was an avid birdwatcher, and took great joy in photography – with her favorite subject being her grandchildren.  

            Debbie always regretted that she had difficulty getting Dave to play golf, bridge, cribbage, or any other games with her because she had a habit of beating him the first few times they played. Nonetheless, Dave and Debbie celebrated their 50th anniversary in August of 2016. Debbie was blessed with many close friends, who were as devoted to her as she was to them.

            There will be a memorial service for Debbie on July 11, 2018 at Tabernacle United Methodist Church at 11:00 a.m. The family will receive friends on July 10, 2018 at Tabernacle United Methodist Church from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, much as Debbie loved them, the family would encourage consideration of gifts to Mercy House, where she spent her last two weeks in the loving hands of the caregivers there; the Community Foundation (Women’s Fund); Tabernacle United Methodist Church (earmarked for the Book Club or the Wednesday Night Meal); or any other organization of one’s choosing.

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