John F. Debs

John F. Debs

June 26, 1937 - February 11, 2016

John F. Debs

June 26, 1937 - February 11, 2016


John Frederick Debs went to his Lord on February 11, 2016, age 78, after a brief illness.

Born in Los Angeles, Fred lived a larger than life role, bringing joy to everyone he met. He knew no strangers.  His intelligence and wit were staggering – he spoke seven languages, had vast encyclopedic knowledge of diverse subjects from science to history, and always won at Jeopardy. Educated at St. Francis Assisi and 3 & 4th grades at St. Charles Borromeo, Loyola High School and University, he attended dental school at Creighton University in Omaha where he met the love of his life, Anne. They celebrated 54 years of devoted marriage. 

He was a prominent and beloved dentist in San Clemente whose dedicated patients praised his painless, beautiful work completed during recitation of non-stop jokes. Fred was immensely proud of his 43 years of continuous military service, first as a naval officer and Vietnam Veteran and later in the Army Reserves. He developed profound, life-long friendships which sustained him. He took pride in his Lebanese heritage and looked forward to his weekly luncheon meetings with the Loafers.  Intensely curious, he loved to read, travel and spoke daily with his family to stay connected with their lives. He was kind and generous, always genuinely interested in how he could help and mentor others. 

Fred is survived by his wife, Anne; sister, Annette Debs, CSJ and brother, Ralph Debs; son, Tony and daughter-in-law, Lillian Soohoo; daughter, Julianna and son-in-law, Daniel Purner; and seven granddaughters and one great-grandson. We will all miss his vivacious presence.

Services will be at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, San Clemente, CA on Friday, February 19th. Visitation is from 10:00-10:30 AM with mass at 11:00 AM.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to:

St. John Maron Maronite Catholic Church
300 S Flower St.
Orange, CA 92868

Loyola High School
1901 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Loyola Marymount University
1 Loyola Marymount University Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

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28 responses to John F. Debs

  1. Jenna Smith says:

    My memories of Fred go all the way back to when I was little, and they always include him with that big smile. Big smiles and big laughs, and just cheeky enough to shock. The stories my dad told me about him, from their friendship that must have spanned over half a century, would end in my dad shaking with laughter. I love that, thank you Fred. Bless you, you will be missed.

    Jenna Smith

    1. Suzan Perez says:

      I was in San Clemente the other day and passed by Trafalgar Lane, which made me think of the Debs family . I am so sorry to see that Fred passed away 4 years ago. I always remember his laugh and the love he had for his family. I hope and pray all of you are doing well. Once again, so sorry to see this .
      Peace and love to all of you.
      Suzie Perez

  2. It’s hard to believe Fred is gone. He is greatly missed. Carol and I have known the Debs since the mid-1960’s when we moved to San Clemente. I was in the poker group with Fred since 1991. In addition to poker, we shared some “walkabouts”, lunches and various activities. I was continuously amazed at Fred’s knowledge on every subject, i.e., the Hanseatic League, Arabic and other languages, investments, etc. I will think of him every time I see an old Mercedes or hear music from “Joe Green’s [Freds name translation] opera “Nabucco”
    Dick Banister

  3. Stew and Lois Mortensen send their sincere sympathy to Anne and the family. Stew and Fred go back many years enjoying many different ventures together. They both were involved with a local Bank for a few years, funded Mobile Homes, enjoyed fishing trips to Mexico and Alaska, and maintained a close friendship over the years. Fred, one of a kind,
    always made a point of keeping in touch. Fred and Anne hosted wonderful July 4th parties in which Stew & I got to meet the family sharing great times. Fred will be truly missed and a friend to be remembered forever.

    Stew & Lois Mortensen
    Hemet, CA.

  4. Tony says:

    1 file added to the tribute wall

  5. Jan Hertzen says:

    I was shocked when I went to this month’s American Legion meeting to hear that Fred had passed. I always looked forward to visiting with him. He was very gracious man who made me feel good in his presence. Jan Hertzen

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