Debra Kay Kerby

Debra Kay Kerby PH. D passed away January 14, 2020 at The Pines Nursing Home in Kirksville, Missouri after experiencing a rapidly deteriorating illness during the last four months. She was born at the Kirksville Osteopathic Hospital on August 15, 1955 to Guy Jr. and Edwina (Whitacre) Kerby of Glenwood, Missouri who preceded her in death. A sister, Judy and a brother, Eddie also preceded her in death. She is survived by sister, Patsy Hart of Moberly, Missouri, brother, John Kerby and wife, Sue of Greentop, Missouri and sister, Connie Henry of Sterling, Illinois plus nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues and hundreds of students.

Deb was raised on the family farm south of Glenwood, Missouri and attended Queen City/Schuyler County Schools. She began her life-long learning at Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Education. She earned a second Master’s degree from Northern Illinois University in Accounting and a PH. D from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Business Administration. She holds a CPA and a CMA Certification.

Deb was a life-long educator beginning her career at Highland High School as a Business Teacher. She returned to Northeast (Truman) starting as an Instructor of Accounting. Her career progressed to Assistant Professor of Accounting, Associate Professor of Accounting, Interim Division Head of Business and Accounting, Professor of Accounting and Dean of the School of Business. She is leaving a legacy of positively impacted lives of her students and colleagues as demonstrated by the outpouring of love from her Truman family and former students.

Deb’s list of services and publications over the life of her career fills several pages. The awards and recognition she received over the years are numerous and is another indication of the positive influence she had on so many people.

Deb was a huge Truman basketball and volleyball fan. She attended almost every home game through out her 37 years career. If the coaches had asked, she could have given them some very good coaching tips.

Deb was strong in her Christian faith and attended the New Hope Evangelical Church most of her adult life. She was an active member serving as Treasurer, leading Children’s Church and planning and implementing VBS’s over the years. In contrast to her professional appearance at Truman, she was very lively, outgoing and sometimes silly when working with the children of the church. Deb considered the church part of her family. She had some very close friends from church. They played together, vacationed together, worshipped together and prayed together. One friend, Vickie Cooper, who her brother, John, dubbed as a sister by choice, were very close. Her pastor, Darrell Draper, commented on several occasions that Deb was more valuable and important to the church than he.


Funeral services will be held on January 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the Norman Funeral Home in Lancaster, Missouri with Pastor Darrell Draper officiating. Music will be provided by Tammy Johnson, pianist and Twila Jones, soloist with special selections of “Blessed Assurance” and “Ten Thousand Reasons”. A eulogy will be given by Dr. Robert Dager. Pallbearers will be Keith Hying, Evan Clark, Daniel Clark, Randy Ingersoll, Scott Fouch and Jeff Romine. Honorary pallbearers will be SA Lucas Hying, PFC Nickolas Hying, Dr. Robert Dager, Dr. Lanny Morley, Kevin Johnson and Michael Kerby. Visitation will be held on January 16, 2020 between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Norman Funeral Home in Lancaster, Missouri. Memorials have been established for Truman Foundation. Burial will be in the Bethel Cemetery, south of Glenwood, Missouri. Online condolences may be expressed to the family by logging on to Arrangements are under the direction of the Norman Funeral Home in Lancaster, Missouri.