Deborah Franco

January 16, 1961 - June 18, 2022

"May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back May the sunshine warm your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields.."

Obituary of Deborah Lyn Franco

Deborah Lyn Franco, 61, of Lockport, NY, passed away on June 18, 2022 after a brief illness. She entered into eternal rest surrounded by her loving family. Deborah was born in Lockport on January 16, 1961. She was the daughter of Richard and Valdeva Qualiana.

Deborah graduated from Lockport Senior High School in 1980, then went on to study advertising art and design at the State University of New York at Farmingdale and travel and tourism at Bryant and Stratton Business Institution.

There are few people in this world that abide by a smile, praise, and constant encouragement - Deborah Franco embodied those qualities. Debbie was always upbeat and humble. The words people use to characterize her reverberate - "artistic," "angel," "awesome and loyal friend," "community advocate," "wonderful mother," and "awe-inspiring marriage." Everyone was, indeed, inspired by how much she and her husband were in love.

Deborah was very active in the workplace and in volunteering endeavors.

She had a successful career with American Airlines. At American, she garnered several awards for her innovation and leadership. She was perhaps most proud of her volunteering opportunities with the Airline Ambassadors Program, a collaboration of airline employees that assist in humanitarian efforts across the world.

This ignited her passion to help others on a global scale. Deborah served at and brought supplies to orphanages in Azerbaijan and Armenian refugee camps. In 2005, she started a second career with Raptim International Travel, a humanitarian-based organization with the motto "serving those who serve the world." Deborah was immersed in humanitarian efforts with trips to Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Kenya, and Tanzania. She was also a host and caregiver to African and Cambodian students.

And Deborah did serve the world with an energetic burst; she was athletic, artistic, and active. Athletically, Deborah excelled at cross country and track both in high school and college. In fact, she was a race walking phenom. She still holds a track and field record at LSHS, participated in several Empire State Games, and was a member of the AAU/TAC National Race Team. She would eventually qualify for the 1981 Olympic Trials. Deborah also completed the Disney Marathon in 2004.

Artistically, Deborah is an accomplished artist and won a grand prize for her watercolor painting "Streets of Azerbaijan." She was a member of the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society and has had her work accepted and displayed in several Keenan House exhibits. She loved teaching art classes in her beloved art studio.

Deborah has always been social and active in the community. She was her sorority President. She served on the board of the Historic Lockport Palace Theatre and was Vice President for public affairs for AM Lockport Toastmasters, where she achieved the rank of Distinguished Toastmaster.  Deborah has been recognized in her community as well. In 2015, she was named a Distinguished Alumni from Lockport Senior High School. Yet, her family was always first.

Deborah completed her mission as Ron's co-pilot in marriage for 32 years. She was the loving mother of Amanda (Mark) Richards; and son, Alex. Deborah's grandchildren lit up her life; she wholeheartedly adored them. Deborah will be that beacon of guidance to Ayva, Micah, and Elijah Richards, who, now, are asked to carry out her blessings.

Visitation will be held Sunday, June 26th from 2-6 PM at Taylor & Reynold Funeral Home, 70 Niagara Street, Lockport, NY 14094. The Funeral Service will be held Monday, June 27th at 10 AM at The WELL Church, 995 Dodge Road, Getzville, NY. 14068. Entombment in Glenwood Mausoleum.

Memorial donations in Deborah Franco's name can be directed for Wings of Grace International


  1. Ken & Jess Beckerman on June 23, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    Our deepest condolences to the Franco family.
    We are with you in spirit during this difficult time
    Ken & Jess Beckerman

  2. Kirk Hansen on June 24, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    I was deeply saddened to here this unexpected news from a lifelong friend. The Hansen family grieves with you and will pray for Deborah. Be strong Ron and extended Franco family.

  3. John Landers on June 25, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    Ron – celebrate Debbie’s life everyday! I remember you both in the time when we graduated high school in ‘80, ‘81, ‘82. I once dropped off my grandparents at Buffalo Airport for an American Airlines flight to Chicago. Debbie was there at the gate to check them in, and in her absolute kindness she got them seats in first class. It meant the world to them, and was not lost on me. Many blessings, and condolences.

  4. Mark A. Crane & Family on June 26, 2022 at 12:49 am

    Thank you, Ron, for sharing your wife’s life with us all for all these years. She was a leader in the community and beautiful soul. Please remember that we all belong to God and one day we will return to Him. The Lord promised that he would prepare a place for all of us, and I am confident she is with him today. We all share your grief, and we will see again in Heaven. Yours, Mark Crane & Family

  5. Bob and Barb Alexis on June 27, 2022 at 7:25 am

    Dear Ron & Family- sending you our very very deepest Sympathy & Heartfelt Condolences-Bob & I are so very sorry for your loss-Debbie was truly an “Angel”, so sweet, loving, caring, kind, personable & the most GOD loving Bible Study Teacher I ever knew!! She will be greatly missed!! GOD Bless you Ron & your Family!! With much Love, Barb & Bob Alexis

  6. Helen Barrett on June 30, 2022 at 11:34 am

    To the family of Debbie Franco I extend my deepest sympathy. Debbie grew up across the street from our family. She had the same perpetual smile on her face even then. Debbie was so friendly, energetic and always pleasant. She was an avid runner as a teen and I see that carried into her adulthood. I am not surprised she went on to do fantastic things with her life. while her life was cut short and your pain deep, please remember the very special times you had with her. Speak of her often and keep her memory alive in your hearts. Please remember: “Sorrow Is Not Forever, Love Is.”

  7. Sharon Starke Meng on July 5, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Debbie was truly one of a kind. She had an amazingly kind and generous spirit which was a bright light to countless people! She truly lived a wonderful life and made a positive impact in Lockport, across the country and around the world. She will be missed, but our loss is Heavens gain. Jesus has a special Angel and I know she is there watching over us all.

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