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Deedra Abernethy

July 19, 1967 ~ October 8, 2019 (age 52)


Deedra Abernethy, 52, of Shalimar, Florida passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, while surrounded by her loved ones.

Deedra was born on July 19, 1967 in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the oldest of two children of James Thomas “Tom” and Phyllis Hall Abernethy. She was a 1985 graduate of Choctawhatchee High School, attended Brenau College for Women and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Samford University in 1989.  She then earned her J.D. from Cumberland School of Law in 1992.

Deedra spent her entire legal career helping children, first as an attorney for child support enforcement and at the time of her death as Managing Attorney at the Department of Children and Families for the First Judicial Circuit.  It should be noted that Deedra was especially qualified for this last position as she had spent her whole life “managing” her family, friends and anyone else with whom she came into contact.

Deedra loved her family and friends, but especially loved spending her fall Saturdays watching Alabama football with her Daddy and visiting with her “favorite” nephew, Tom, who she loved as her own.

Deedra also loved to travel, including a trip to Europe while in law school and she had an especially great time guiding her Mother around New York City, but her favorite times were her many trips to Disneyland with her nephew, Tom.

Deedra is survived by her parents, James Thomas and Phyllis Hall Abernethy of Fort Walton Beach; her sister, Angela Shaw (Timothy), also of Fort Walton Beach, and her nephew, Thomas Boyd “Tom” Shaw, of Flowood, Mississippi, her Goddaughter, Chelsea Dowd, as well as many wonderful friends and her beloved cat, Lucy.

There will be visitation at 1:00 p.m. and a memorial service at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at Shalimar United Methodist Church, with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation in Deedra’s memory to PAWS, 752 Lovejoy Road, N.W., Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548, or the Children in Crisis Program, 1000 Luke’s Way, Fort Walton Beach, FL  32547