It is with heavy hearts that the Her Honor Mentoring team shares the news of Deborah Crowder’s passing. Deborah, a devoted mentor and longtime friend of the Her Honor Mentoring community, passed away on September 4th after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Deborah was caring, selfless and determined. Known for her loving energy and motherly spirit, Deborah was the proud mother of Zyaire Crowder, though many more benefitted from her strong maternal care. Deborah grew up in healthcare — her mother was an optician and father an opthamologist. She furthered her parent’s legacy through her time with Ebony Eyes, Jacobi, Downstate, and Harooni and Sheindlin. In her career, Deborah was a dedicated worker and strong patient advocate. Her light and life touched many.
Through Her Honor Mentoring, Deborah developed a strong bond with Anya Patterson, her 2014-2015 mentee. Anya, who was a senior at Mount Vernon High School at the time, shared how impactful Deborah’s mentorship was on her life with the Her Honor team.
“She taught me how to advocate for myself, a serious work ethic, that excuses are for the weak, and most importantly she taught me how to love,” writes Anya, “These lessons began on the first day we met and ended a couple of days ago as we played Uno in her apartment before we brought her to the hospital for the last time.”
Anya worked with Deborah at the Harooni and Sheindlin medical office over her year in the Her Honor program, but their relationship developed into one much deeper than a professional mentorship, “My life has been forever changed by a five foot ray of sunshine, and I am eternally grateful for the many moments I got to share with her. After our time spent together in Her Honor, we continued our relationship, and she moved from being my mentor to my second mother. She introduced me to her family and brought me in as an honorary member.”
Our deepest condolences are shared with Deborah’s friends and family and with Anya. Deborah, the “five foot ray of sunshine”, will be sorely missed by the entire Her Honor Mentoring community.
To honor Deborah’s life and her enduring commitment to young women, Her Honor Mentoring has created a scholarship fund in Deborah’s name. The Deb Crowder Award will be presented to one Her Honor Mentoring participant in Spring 2017 who exemplifies Deb’s expansive energy and compassionate spirit. Anya, now a junior at Fordham University double majoring in General Science and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, plans to present the award in the Spring. In the future, Anya plans to attend medical school and work within a non-profit centered on women's empowerment — decisions we know would make Deb proud.