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Deborah Petrovsky

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Published in March 2022

Deborah Ruth Petrovsky, passed away peacefully on March 25, 2022 as the sun was setting, the day after her 59th birthday, after receiving a diagnosis of ALS in 2019.

Debbie was born in 1963 in Portland to Miriam and Irving Remar, and beloved big sister, Joan. She attended Deering High School before pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Vermont, then a master’s degree at Boston University. Debbie loved life and squeezed joy out of every moment. She was always in motion. As a gymnast in middle school, she delighted in giving tumbling lessons to young cousins at family gatherings. She was a cheerleader in high school, a dancer in college, and a yogi in adulthood.

Debbie married Andrey Petrovsky in July 1989 after meeting in Boston. Neither one of them liked the idea of a “blind date”, arranged by their parents no less, but it actually worked! Together Debbie and Andrey raised sons Aaron and Alex in Natick, Massachusetts. Their family life was active, including taking many adventurous trips to Greece, Costa Rica, National Parks, and spending time in nature. Debbie became a registered dietitian working in the Boston area, and later formed a private practice where she provided personalized nutritional services, and consulted for Hannaford Supermarkets. Debbie was an avid gardener whose face would light up each time she harvested the juiciest tomatoes or cut flower clippings to admire in cherished vases which adorned each corner of her home. She put others’ needs first and was happiest when she could find ways to take care of her beloved friends and family. She was committed to helping people in her community, including leading the redesign of a playground near their home in Natick. More recently, the Petrovsky family moved to South Portland, Maine to be near both of their families. They loved their home together and Debbie delighted in furnishing it with Joan’s trusted guidance.

Debbie loved being outside, and even as her disease progressed she cruised the neighborhood in her electric scooter often with abundant cut flowers in her basket, and used her electric wheelchair even on icy roads just to catch a view and a cool breeze. Debbie loved to nurture growth. Raising Aaron and Alex was her crowning glory, while planting and tending flower gardens and hearty vegetable gardens fed her soul.

Perfecting her ability to “live in the moment” and find joy in her path served Debbie well, as she met the extreme challenges of her illness. She was diagnosed in 2019 and lost her ability to speak that year. ALS is a horrific disease and Debbie suffered through the especially challenging Bulbar variant. Debbie wanted people to know about this disease and wrote poetry that was published in the Massachusetts ALS Society blog posts.

In true Debbie style, the close family learned modified American Sign Language to aid in communication. In the following months she became unable to eat any food by mouth and eventually to walk, use her hands efficiently, and her breathing became extremely labored. During these months, Debbie and her family started with in-home care, until her stay at Gosnell Memorial Hospice where she passed away peacefully.

Debbie is predeceased by her father Irving, of blessed memory. She leaves behind adoring mother, Miriam Remar Millman; loving husband Andrey; her pride and joy, sons, Aaron and Alex; devoted sister, Joan Levy and family, and many loved ones and dear friends.

A graveside memorial service will take place at Temple Beth El Memorial Park in Portland on Monday, March 28, 2022 at 11:00am, which will also be available via livestream. Due to Covid-19, there will be a small private reception at the Petrovsky home.

Community shiva will be observed as follows: Monday, March 28th at 6:00pm on Zoom; and Tuesday, March 29th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm in the courtyard and lower lobby of Temple Beth El.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be directed to Compassionate Care ALS in Falmouth, Massachusetts or to the charity of one’s choice.