Deborah J. Huddleston


Deborah Jeanette Huddleston, 64, died peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. She was at home in her own bed, following multiple, long hospital and nursing home stays, and her family is so thankful she was able to see her dog Cocoa and her granddaughter Izzy again, and to eat her favorite foods and to be in her own bed, before she passed. 

Debbie was born on Sept. 10, 1956, in Providence, R.I. She lived in Rehoboth for much of her childhood. She often talked about spending time on her beloved grandfather’s farm, and though she loved animals, she did have a thing or two to say about the chickens that would peck at her feet. 

Debbie graduated with the Dighton-Rehoboth High School class of 1974, then attended Bridgewater State College. She studied child psychology, and went on to have a career in childcare. She moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1982, and she and her husband Tom were married at the West Tisbury Congregational Church in 1987. She adored her job working in the infant room at Community Services on Martha’s Vineyard, and later worked as the Head Start Health Coordinator there. She truly had a desire to help children live their best lives, safe and surrounded by love — caring for these kids was her passion. It was at her job that she met her two daughters, whom she and her husband Tom took into foster care so that they wouldn’t be separated, and eventually adopted. Her girls never doubted that she loved them as her own. 

She loved babies, dogs, and birdwatching. She often said her dog Maggie was the love of her life, and her family hopes that they are somewhere snuggling together again. She always pointed out the first robins in the spring, eager for a sign of hope after the long winter, and she had a keen eye for spotting indigo buntings passing through in the summer. 

Parenting and grandparenting were truly the joys of her life. She taught her daughters the meaning of unconditional love, and did everything in her power to keep them happy and safe. She organized Christmas Eve treasure hunts, and decorated the house for St. Patrick’s Day, injecting a little bit of magic into her family’s day-to-day life in a way that her girls will always remember. Her kitchen was the heart of the home, and she always found time to make dinner for her family of four, even when she was working full-time. Her soups were legendary, her flavors were inspiring.

Her husband Tom was her partner and her friend. Their goofy laughter and senses of humor always made their house feel warm and cozy, both on the Vineyard and their home in Maine, where they moved in 2001. They loved each other deeply, and are happy to be reunited. 

Debbie is survived by her daughters, Justina Huddleston of Panorama City, Calif., and Jillian Huddleston of Farminton, Maine; her beloved granddaughter Izzy of Farmington, Maine; her new grandson Forest of Panorama City, Calif., who absolutely knew her love even though they never met in person; her father and friend, Louis Sarkisian of Seekonk; her brother Dennis Sarkisian of Rehoboth; her dearest friend Cindy Picozzi-Odell of Thornton, N.H.; and her niece Ashley Odell of Campton, N.H. She was predeceased by her husband, Tom Huddleston, and her mother, Olive Sarkisian. 

Debbie will be laid to rest next to her husband Tom in Oak Grove Cemetery on Martha’s Vineyard, their final home in the place they both loved so much. A memorial will be scheduled post-COVID so that friends and family can safely attend. You can reach her daughter Justina at if you have any questions.