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Deborah Rosen McKerrow, business owner and former candidate for Annapolis alderwoman, dies

Deborah Rosen McKerrow died peacefully in her home in Annapolis, surrounded by family, on February 22, 2020, after a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Deborah Rosen McKerrow died peacefully in her home in Annapolis, surrounded by family, on February 22, 2020, after a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.(Courtesy photo / HANDOUT)

Deborah Rosen McKerrow died peacefully in her home in Annapolis, surrounded by family, on February 22, 2020, after a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was driven, fiercely ethical, humble, and immensely respectful in all her dealings. She was widely respected for her character and beloved in the community of Annapolis.

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Born in Baltimore City in 1948, she was raised by her parents Manny and Jeanette Rosen in Annapolis, along with her sister Bobbie. After graduating from Annapolis High School in 1966, she attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied theater before discovering journalism and joining the staff of The Diamondback, the student newspaper. There she met and fell in love with fellow journalist Stephen McKerrow.

They were married in Annapolis in 1970 and moved to Cleveland, where they both worked as journalists. After moving back to Maryland, their first son Joshua was born in 1973 and they settled in Baltimore. Their son Andrew was born in 1974. She worked as an activist in the neighborhoods of Chinquapin Park and the York Road corridor.

She pursued a successful career in public and community relations, working at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Franklin Square Hospital Center, Essex Community College, Planned Parenthood of Maryland, Carefirst Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and the Maryland Insurance Administration.

In the 1980s, Debbie took weekend classes to earn her master’s degree in management from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore.

Building upon her experiences in settling the estates of her parents and uncle, in 2004 she founded Chesapeake Estate Services. Together with her husband Steve, Debbie’s life-long focus on helping people and communities established a reputation for going far beyond any other services in the field. Together they helped hundreds of local families in difficult times, and the welfare of their clients was always their No. 1 priority.

Debbie and her family were always active in their Jewish communities at Baltimore’s Temple Emanuel, then for many years at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. After she and Steve moved back to her childhood Annapolis home in Admiral Heights, in 1997, Debbie served on the board and as president of Congregation Kneseth Israel.

In more recent years she was co-chair of the Social Action Committee at Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold, where she was devoted to the annual Winter Relief program, which houses homeless during the Christmas week when area churches cannot.

She twice ran for the office of Alderwoman in the City of Annapolis, as a Democrat.

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In 2017, she and Steve embarked on a dream-fulfilling five-month journey in their RV, including meeting Steve’s brother Danny and his wife — another Debbie McKerrow — visiting her son Andy in Salt Lake City, seeing the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, and attending the Iowa State Fair.

The values of her parents and her religious tradition instilled in Debbie a life-long obligation to help both her community and individuals. Everything she did revolved around this commitment and her children carry on this value in their lives and careers. She gathered many, many friends who will mourn her loss.

She is survived by her husband of 50 years, Stephen McKerrow, sister Barbara Wendel and brother-in-law Edward Wendel, sisters-in-law Melissa McKerrow, Amanda McKerrow, and Debbie McKerrow, brothers-in-law Danny McKerrow and John Gardner, sons Joshua McKerrow and Andrew McKerrow, daughter-in-law Elicia Cardenas, and grandchildren Ruby McKerrow, Marigold McKerrow, and Roland McKerrow.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Temple Beth Shalom, 1461 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd, Arnold, MD 21012. Shiva will be held at the home from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 25 and Feb. 26.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions should be made to Wellness House of Annapolis, a cancer support and resource center, at 2625 Mas Que Farm Road, Annapolis, MD 21403.

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