Deborah Lynne Pope, 60, lost 20-year battle with cancer

Funeral services were held Friday for Deborah Lynne Pope, who died Feb. 28 after a 20-year battle with cancer and was a hero to those who knew her. The lifelong Hampden resident was 60.

"She was an inspiration," said Janet Stevens, who spoke words of comfort to 100 mourners at Hampden United Methodist Church. "People didn't just like Debbie. They loved and respected her. Debbie fought a valiant fight against a deadly disease for over 20 years. She never complained, felt sorry for herself or asked, 'Why me?' She made me want to be a better person. She battled cancer as if it was just another thing on her to-do list."

Richard Thompson, who also spoke words of comfort, praised "the example she has set for all of us."

In a remembrance, daughter Stacey Hammett said she was in college when Pope was diagnosed, but that Pope waited a week to tell her because she didn't want to distract her from college exams.

Pope also gave her indelible advice, based on the song "I Hope You Dance," by Lee Ann Womack.

"I hope you dance for God, dance for yourself and dance for my grandchildren," Pope said.

Mabel Spraggins, a co-worker at Shepherd Pratt, where Pope was a longtime patient accounting representative, said people there knew them as Lucy and Ethel, from the TV show "I Love Lucy."

"The real Lucy and Ethel had nothing on me and my Ethel," Scraggins said.

"She never gave up," said Hampden UMC parishioner Tom Kerr before the service.

"I've been through a lot here, and she was always right there with me," said the Rev. Robin Johnson after the service, his eyes filling with tears.

Pope loved gardening and shopping with her daughter, her family said.

Other survivors include her husband, Gary and her sister, Jo-Ann Supik.

Interment was at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

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