Debra Redford


image of Debra Suzanne Redford

Debra Suzanne Redford

It is with great sadness that we announce that our dear wife, sister, and friend, Debra S. Redford, lost her long and courageous battle with cancer on February 5th, 2022. As one of her many friends said upon hearing this sad news, “the angels could wait no longer.”

Debbie was born on October 24, 1963, in Overland Park, Kansas to Richard and Joan Lyon.  She grew up the only girl in her family, with three brothers.   According to the family, the characteristic most noted at her birth were her amazingly beautiful eyes and long lashes; and as a baby, she would just stare, look at, and observe them intensely.  She was a strong student as a child, with reports of her waking up daily at 4:00 a.m. to study, much to her brothers’ annoyance.  When left in charge of younger cousins and siblings, she was known to regale them with wonderful stories and then switch up these stories as she told them, to keep her listeners on their toes.  Large, extended family get-togethers were also a big part of Debbie’s life growing up – which foreshadowed her own legendary party-throwing and hostessing skills and flair.

Debbie grew up Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools as a youth, then went on to the University of Kansas, where she graduated in 1985 with a BA in English Literature.  After deciding that the law was her life’s calling, Debbie graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1990.

It was during that first semester of law school that she met her future husband, Randy Redford (whom she married in 1994), and when she was first diagnosed with colon cancer.  She had emergency surgery at the Mayo Clinic, and with help from a great number of friends, was able to finish her first year of law school from her parents’ house in Overland Park.  During these years, she was active in many school organizations; she also clerked for a judge in the Douglas County District Court (the equivalent of the Superior Court in Washington).

Debbie and Randy moved west to Seattle, Washington in 1990. She first worked at the Snohomish County Public Defender’s Office in Everett for almost three years before taking a job as a public defender for King County with the Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons (“SCRAP”).   During her nearly 20 years at SCRAP, she litigated in all the various practice areas, including misdemeanors and dependency, but spent most of her time in the felony unit, handling serious crimes, including death penalty litigation.  In December of 2013 Debbie left SCRAP and joined the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (BIIA) as an Administrative Law Judge.   She started as a trial judge, and eventually became an appellate judge and mediator with the BIIA, and continued in that role until her death.

During their 35 years together, Debbie and Randy indulged in their shared love of travel, visiting over 30 countries all over the world.  Debbie was a consummate hostess, cooking and baking for friends and family and throwing her epic Halloween parties.  Randy notes that based on their home decor, Debbie should have been a stockholder in the glassybaby company!  She loved her garden, her book groups, and had an affinity for good whiskey. She was a woman of strong faith, actively involved in her parish, St. James Cathedral, and she gave much of her time to the Welcome Back Catholic, RCIA, and Juvenile Justice programs at St. James.

Debbie is survived by her husband, Randy Redford, her two brothers Rick Lyon (Katrina), and Chris Lyon (Sherrie), many aunts & uncles, and her faithful feline companions, Finn & Loki.  She was preceded in death by her parents and older brother, Steve Lyon.

Mass of Christian burial will take place on Monday, March 7, 2022, at 10:30 a.m., at St. James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, followed by her interment at Holy Rood Cemetery

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