Debra “Debbie” Lee McClelland, age 64, of Kennebunk, formerly Norwell, Massachusetts, and Hampton, New Hampshire, passed away peacefully at home on May 14, 2022, surrounded by her loving husband and three sons. Loved ones will remember her for her incredible kindness, sense of humor, positivity, strength, courage, and endless gratitude. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and friend.

Beloved wife and best friend of Bruce for 42 years. Proud mother of Mark McClelland and wife Janine Santilli of Winthrop, Massachusetts, Dan McClelland and fiancée Lauren Cristoferi of Marshfield, Massachusetts, and Steven McClelland and partner Eric Evangelou of Portland. Proud Grandmother “Yaya” of Xander and Flynn. Beloved daughter of the late Mary (Stevenson) and Ralph “Jimmy” Monegan. Loving sister of Val Monegan, Mike Monegan and his wife Carol. Beloved daughter-in-law of the late William and Frances (Tirrell) McClelland. Loving sister-in-law of Lianne (McClelland) and Jimmy Higgins, and Robert McClelland and his wife Sissy. Also survived by a caring and supportive group of nieces, nephews, extended family members, and close friends.

Debbie was very active and had a profound appreciation for nature from a young age. Her favorite activities included hiking, skiing, and swimming. She loved spending time at the beach, where she collected sea glass, driftwood, and stones – eventually transforming them into beautiful pieces of artwork or jewelry. She was a talented artist who loved expressing her creativity through writing, painting, sewing, cooking, and crafting.

She had a love for pop culture and nostalgia – plays, musicals, music, TV shows, movies, actors, and singers, were some of her favorite topics to discuss. She was always up for puzzles, trivia contests, or games, whether using a board, dice, cards, or controller. She enjoyed playing Nintendo, especially Dr. Mario, with her husband, Bruce, well into their 50s.

Debbie met and fell in love with Bruce when they were seniors at Winnacunnet High in Hampton, New Hampshire. She always excelled in school and graduated as class valedictorian and later from Smith College cum laude. Throughout her education, the only thing she valued more than her academic achievements were the lifelong friendships she cultivated along the way.

She and Bruce married shortly after graduation and settled in Norwell in 1985. She worked in numerous roles for the town, including as an active member of the planning board and conservation committee. She also became a substitute teacher and classroom aid at different schools throughout the South Shore and supported Bruce in starting his business in 1991.


Ultimately, being a selfless mother to her three boys was Debbie’s most valued role. She loved baking treats, sewing costumes, and making every birthday and holiday special. Helping them with homework, teaching them to swim, and planning trips to places like Disney World were just a few of her favorite memories with them. Above all, spending quality time with her husband, sons, grandsons, and beloved dog, Maggie, gave her the most joy in life.

Debbie was a true warrior throughout her battle with breast cancer. From the time of her first diagnosis in 1988 until her fourth in 2020, she handled dark moments with grace, determination, and humor. Her devoted husband never left her side throughout the endless appointments and painful effects of chemo and radiation therapy. Raising her boys and watching them grow into caring and loving men was always the driving force behind her strength and perseverance, which never wavered.

For those who were lucky enough to call Debbie a friend, you know that she wanted us to celebrate her life. We will celebrate her positivity through the kindness and compassion we show to others because she will always be with us. Our family is incredibly appreciative of the outpouring of support from family, friends, doctors, and caretakers. There will be a private service for immediate family only.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

~ Maya Angelou

To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, please visit Debbie‘s Book of Memories Page at

Arrangements are entrusted to Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer St., Kennebunk.

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