Debbra Lee Cowley Zockoll valiantly crossed the finish line on March 1, 2021, with her family by her side cheering her on. She was a remarkable wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother and friend to so many, and she will be missed by all.
Debbie was born on April 25, 1956, in Richfield, Utah, to Tony Cowley and Julianne Ogden. The oldest of five children, Debbie was tasked as a leader from the start, and she came through in every way imaginable as a big sister. She later married her college sweetheart, Anthony Joseph Zockoll, on Dec. 5, 1975. Together, they raised two children, Joshua and Jacob. Her boys were her proudest life accomplishment – she was always there for them. At every ballgame. At every twist and turn. Ever present in their lives.
Debbie was raised in St. George, Utah, after moving there with her family when she was 12 years old. It became her forever hometown. She fell in love with the community and its breathtaking scenery. She went on to become a proud Dixie High School graduate, where she began to forge many of her lifelong friendships. Later, she attended Dixie College, BYU-Hawaii and Southern Utah University, studying elementary education.
After graduating, she was honored to teach in the Washington County School District for 30 years: at West Elementary, then on to Bloomington Elementary and later at Little Valley Elementary. She retired from teaching in 2007. She loved teaching first grade, and especially cherished her time spent with all of her students helping them learn to read and write. She blessed children’s lives for good in the community as an educator, board member of the Washington County Education Association, and finally as a member of the Washington County School Board.
Many people knew Debbie as the queen of the St. George Marathon, and as its biggest ambassador. She was the only person to have completed all 43 marathons since its formation, and she loved being able to promote the local community and inspire others through that feat. She would finish 298 marathons in her lifetime, including eight Boston Marathon’s, and marathons from New York to L.A. to Japan. In addition, she was a triathlete and Ironman finisher.
She often remarked that she ran because it made her feel alive and happy. A 50-mile run on her 50th birthday was just so Debbie; and, of course, she shared in that day with family and friends. And when she wasn’t running, you could find her out swimming laps, another lifelong passion. She found great joy in lifting others through her running and fitness and was blessed to hold positions like Road Races Director for the Huntsman World Senior Games, where she volunteered for over 30 years.
After her retirement from teaching, Debbie began a second career at Movara Fitness Resort, working as a hiking guide. It was a natural fit for her, and she loved that job, too. There, she was a motivating force that helped others to aim a little higher each and every day just like she did.
Debbie was blessed with a radiant smile that uplifted anyone, and a larger-than-life energy and zeal that encouraged everyone. However, most will remember her for her big heart. She collected many, many friends throughout her life. She treasured all of those friendships. She simply had the uncanny ability to make anyone she came in contact with feel loved and valued in her presence. And of course, the laughed, too. She knew how to light up any room with her wit and humor. She was quite a storyteller.
Most importantly, Debbie loved her family. She enjoyed taking trips with them to Maui and San Clemente, bonding over time at the beach and fun in the sun. She was an amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and grandmother. She leaves a lasting legacy of courage, bravery and hope. Her heart was full of gratitude for those doctors, nurses, friends and family that so lovingly cared for her through her battles with cancer, and who, in turn, witnessed her outstanding strength.
Debbie is survived by her caring husband, Anthony Joseph Zockoll of St. George, Utah; sons Joshua (Michelle) and Jacob of St. George, Utah; Mother Julianne Cowley of Venice, Utah; grandchildren Braxton, Jayden, Austin and Mia; sister Jolee (Brad) Edwards of Bluffdale, Utah; brothers Victor (Dena) Cowley of Logan, Utah, Sidney (Jami) Cowley of Richfield, Utah. She is preceded in death by her father, Tony Cowley and sister, Karen Cowley Abbott.
A celebration of Debbie’s life will be held on Monday, March 8, 2021, 11 a.m. at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff Street, St. George, Utah. Visitations will be held Sunday, March 7 from 4-6 p.m. and on Monday from 9-10:30 a.m.
Family and friends are invited to view the funeral service online. Please click on the link: http://webcast.funeralvue.com/events/viewer/49337
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah, 435-673-2454. Friends and family are invited to sign Debbie’s online guestbook at www.spilsburymortuary.com.