Debbie Bruce Van Cleave

Debbie Bruce Van Cleave

Debbie Bruce Van Cleave, 57, passed away peacefully on July 25, 2020 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born on October 5, 1962 to Billy Wayne and Connie Bruce. She graduated from Three Rivers High School in 1981. She married David Ray Van Cleave on June 4, 1983. They raised their only daughter Darla Raye Van Cleave at their home in Three Rivers. Debbie stayed home to raise Darla, and she and David ended up helping raise their nieces and nephews. They all loved to go to DD’s and Uncle Shaven’s house where they were loved and spoiled. Up until the end, DD was there for them, day or night, her door was always open so naturally, when the great nephews and nieces came along, they too loved to go to DD’s house. She formed a special bond with each one and they will miss her terribly. When Darla was older, Debbie went to work at The Write Shop. She loved her job and her customers. She also formed a special bond with her co-workers who became her life-long friends. After 10 years of service, Debbie had to quit due to complications of MS. On July 28, 2010 life forever changed for David, Debbie, and Darla when David suffered a major stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to care for himself. This is when we saw exactly how caring and self-less Debbie truly was. She brought David home and cared for him day and night for the next ten years. Debbie was never alone in this, their daughter came to the aid of her parents, giving up her days off to come care for her father so her mother could rest. They are a true testament to how a loving family takes care of each other, no matter the sacrifices. When Debbie got the devastating news in October 2018, that she would be facing a fight against cancer, it was no surprise that she hit it head on. Her only concern was to get well so she could care for David. She fought so hard to beat cancer, not just for David, but for her beautiful daughter too. While continuing her battle through radiation and chemo, she got the best news of her life…she was going to be a grandma. She had a new reason to fight and that she did! Although her health steadily declined, she loved watching her granddaughter grow and Darla becoming a mother. She also loved to shop for her girls, trying to make sure they had everything they needed and lots of pretty clothes with all the accessories. Debbie was able to help pick the baby’s name, Davina Rhea, who is due to arrive in December. Davina may not have been able to meet her grandmother, but we will make sure she knows what a special person she was. Davina will have her very own guardian angel watching over her. During Debbie’s illness, she was shown a huge outpouring of love from her family, friends, and caretakers. Her friends who came to visit her and pray for her, we love you all. To the lovely nurses with Exclusive Home Health in Beeville, we will be forever grateful for the care you gave her. You always treated her as a person, not just a patient. To all of Debbie’s doctors, surgeons, and nurses, thank you all for leading this fight with Debbie. She truly had the best! Debbie’s family has been by her side as well as David’s side from day one. It really has taken a village and that will continue as now the responsibility of David’s care rests on Darla. The Bruce family continues to help and support David, Darla, and Davina as they try to move forward. Debbie was preceded in death by her grandparents, brother-in-law, Dennis Van Cleave and sister-in-law Dena Van Cleave. She is survived by her parents Billy Wayne and Connie Bruce; her sisters Tammy (Pat) Copeland and Sharon Bruce all of Three Rivers. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews; Matthew (Elle) Muniz, Logan Muniz, Lorissa Seal, Kristen (Cody) Ruiz, Ryan (Samantha) Saenz, Alexis Saenz, Tara (Robby) Stephenson, Ashley Thomas, Lyssa (Joe) VanCleave Arzola and Mallori (Desmond) Osmond: great nieces and nephew Cason, Havon and Truli Muniz, Zain, Zion and Zacc Seal, Adelyn and Kadyn Ruiz, Callie Gibson and Ryder Saenz who is due any day, as well as many cousins. We must also mention her family dog, Bella who already misses Debbie. Debbie also had some very special friends over the past few years who became a part of our family. Maria, Regina, and Billy, we can not thank you enough and we love you all. A sunset graveside service was held at 7 PM on Friday, August 7, 2020 at the Simmons Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be given to the MS Society. Services entrusted to Roberson Funeral Home, Three Rivers.

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