Deborah Wooten Watts Hase passed peacefully March 26, 2023, in Valdosta, at Langdale Hospice House in the company of her loving husband, daughter and grandson. Deborah was born in Lumberton, North Carolina and was the oldest of five children born to Ben and Ethel Wooten. The family later relocated to Savannah, where Ben worked at Union Bag Paper Mill rising through the union ranks to eventually become an International Union Representative for several paper mills. Ethel worked at Cander Hospital as an emergency room registered nurse.
Deborah attended H.D. Jenkins High School in Savannah, and Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri where she met and married Roy Watts. They had two children, Shannon and Adam, but went their separate ways after over twenty years of marriage while living in St. Mary’s.
While Deborah worked briefly at Gilman Paper Company, most of her career was in service to the citizens of St. Mary’s. She began as Deputy City Clerk in 1982 and later served as City Clerk and Purchasing Director up until about 2002 when she resigned to run for Mayor. She won the election to become St. Mary’s first and only woman mayor and also served as Acting City Manager during her term (2002 – 2005). Three years later she ran for and was elected to the St. Mary’s City Council (2008 – 2011).
During her time as Purchasing Director, Deborah met Ken Hase who worked at Gilman Paper Company as an environmental engineer. Deborah and Ken were married on April 9, 1993. They had no children but enjoyed a wonderful marriage that lasted almost 30 years. While Deborah had a long and distinguished career as a public servant, she is best remembered as the best Sunday school teacher your child ever had.
Deborah is survived by her husband, Kenneth G. Hase of Lake Park; her daughter, Shannon (Keith) Crider of Elkridge, Maryland, her son, Roy Adam (Jana) Watts of Mack, Colorado; grandson, Evan Crider of Elkridge, Maryland; her mother, Ethel Wooten of Hendersonville, North Carolina; brothers and sisters, Benny (Debbie) Wooten of Jacksonville, Florida, Kenneth (Karen) Wooten of Hendersonville, North Carolina, Denise (David, deceased) Cross of Knoxville, Tennessee, Lesley (Greg) Shipley of Hendersonville, North Carolina; and numerous nieces and nephews. Deborah was preceded in death by her father, Ben Wooten.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Lake Park 601 W. Marion Avenue Lake Park GA 31636. The family will receive friends at the church on Saturday from 10:00 until service time. Graveside services will be held at 4:00 p.m. in St. Mary’s at Oak Grove Cemetery, adjourning to Riverside Café for supper. www.mclanecares.com
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