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Deb Smalla

Deb Smalla of Otsego passed away Monday, September 4, 2023 in Kalamazoo. Deb was born November 21, 1955 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of James and Diane (Kopp) Nelson.

Deb was a 1974 graduate of Otsego High School and had worked for Perrigo for 41 years retiring in 2017. She enjoyed trips to the casino, she especially loved spending time with her friends and hanging out at her favorite social club, Salvino’s. She also enjoyed golfing, walking and being outside. More than anything, Deb loved her family, especially spending time with her grandchildren and watching their sporting events.

On October 19, 2002 she married Tom Smalla who survives; also surviving are her children, Steve (Kelly) VanSparrentak, of Alamo Twp, Brandi (Kevin Kahl) Leonard of Gobles, Beth (Eric) Covault of Byron Center, Sarah (Jimmy) DeJonge of Kalamazoo, 10 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren; her siblings, Vicki Chenelle, Maryann (Dan) Bowman, Chris (Terry) Leroy, Bill Markus, Bob (Lynda) Markus.

She was preceded in death by her parents and father William Markus and brother Dale Nelson.

Friends may meet with Deb’s family Friday, September 8, 2023 at the Winkel Funeral Home, Otsego from 4 to 7 P.M.

A private burial of ashes will take place at Mountain Home Cemetery, Otsego at a later time.

In lieu of flowers donations in Deb’s memory may be made to Wings of Hope Hospice. Special thanks to Lake House of Kalamazoo.

Messages of condolence may be posted at

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Condolence Messages

Douglas coulson

September 5, 2023 at 5:48 pm

Tom and Family ,

Cathy and I are very sorry too hear about Deb


Tonia Forney

September 5, 2023 at 6:04 pm

Mom Smalla,

I love you. You will be missed by all. Thank you for everything you did for me when I was younger and the talks that we had. Thank you also for my sister Brandi and my brother Steve. I will cherish our memories forever.


Tonia Forney ,( Leonard)


Tina Cook

September 5, 2023 at 6:09 pm

Tom and family. I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.


Bonnie Crampton

September 5, 2023 at 6:27 pm

Brandi, my heart go out to you and your family. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. You and your family are in my prayers. Sending Prayers & Hugs ❤️. Bonnie Crampton


Tim and Marcia Quigley

September 5, 2023 at 6:33 pm

Dear Tom and Family,

We are so very saddened to hear of Deb’s passing. We loved her so much! She was always so positive and she never gave up – we had so much fun when we would see her at Salvino’s! So many memories and good times to cherish! Please know she is now an Angel in Heaven watching over you!


Lisa Meyer

September 5, 2023 at 7:18 pm

Tom and family, I’m so sorry to hear of Deb’s passing, she was a true warrior. Prayers that wonderful memories will help to heal your hearts in the coming days.


Kim Kalchik

September 5, 2023 at 7:40 pm

I’m so sorry to hear of Deb’s passing. All of you will be in my thoughts and prayers. ❤️


Leon Harter jr.

September 5, 2023 at 7:45 pm

My prayers for Deb and all the family and friends


Kelly Krotz

September 5, 2023 at 7:47 pm

I am so sorry to hear of Deb’s passing. She was loved by so many. I loved her beautiful smile. Sending lots of hugs and prayers to Tom and all the family ❤️. God bless you all.

Love Kelly, Roger and Rachel Krotz


Marnie Junker

September 5, 2023 at 7:56 pm

My deepest condolences to the family. I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers will be with you Tom and the entire family.


Renee Robbins

September 5, 2023 at 8:27 pm

Tom and family- I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of Deb. May the special memories you made together help you through this difficult time. Sending prayers and love…Renee Robbins


Joyce Galloway

September 5, 2023 at 8:45 pm

Tom and family we are so so sorry to hear of Debs passing. Sending prayers to you and all the family.


Beth Chapman

September 5, 2023 at 8:47 pm

Will miss you deb


Tom Plyley

September 5, 2023 at 9:18 pm

Tom, so sorry for your loss. Deb was truly a wonderful lady and so fun to be around. I will always cherish the memories I have of her.


Kurt Andree

September 6, 2023 at 3:52 am

There are no words for the loss of Deb, a person who was cherished by everyone who knew her. Tom, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this time of sorrow.


Rob and Christy Matthes

September 6, 2023 at 8:28 am

I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Deb in the years I worked at Perrigo. A kind and caring person, who was always willing to help anyone. My condolences to Tom and to the family. God bless.


Diane Long

September 6, 2023 at 10:40 am

Tom & Family,

Mike and I send our prayers. Deb was always ready with a smile when we would see the two of you at Salvino’s.

Mike & Diane Long


Dave and Linda Hays

September 6, 2023 at 11:20 am

Tom and family, So sorry for your loss and will be praying for you all.


Diane Groh

September 6, 2023 at 12:26 pm


Cherish all the great memories. So very sorry for your loss.


Jay & Tracey Miller

September 6, 2023 at 12:38 pm


Very sorry for your loss. Prayers for you & your family in this time of sorrow. May many wonderful memories spent with her be a comfort to the family.


Terry Snyder

September 6, 2023 at 12:40 pm

Tom & family, so sorry for your loss. Deb was a great person, she will be missed.


Sarah Bartels Waynick

September 6, 2023 at 2:00 pm


I am so sorry for your loss. I will be thinking of you and your family.


Bud Radtke

September 6, 2023 at 3:59 pm

Tom and family Mollie and I are so sorry to hear about Deb.Thinking of you.Budr


Deborah Harrington

September 6, 2023 at 4:27 pm

Such a wonderful lady. Your smile and laugh will be missed by us all at happy hour. Prayers my friend


bruce leonard

September 6, 2023 at 6:43 pm

so sorry


Kim Slater

September 6, 2023 at 11:00 pm

Brandi and family, so sorry for the loss of your mom, loved one! Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!


Stacey Madden

September 7, 2023 at 7:51 pm


I am so very sorry. Please know you are being thought of and prayed for as you journey through this.


Barb Nordman

September 9, 2023 at 10:39 am

Tom and family,

We are so sorry for your loss. Deb was a warrior and she will be missed by so many. Our prayers are with you and the family and friends. RIP friend.

Barb and Mike Nordman



September 7, 2023 at 7:58 pm

Tom and family you are in our thoughts and prayers. Such a sadness for all. We are sorry for your loss .

Mike & Joanne Krcatovich


Beth Loftus

September 8, 2023 at 5:35 am

Tom and Family,

It seems not long ago that we first found out at Salvino’s, although you had been dealing with her illness for much longer. I’m glad Bob and I were able to see you recently in that casual setting. Deb was a big part of Perrigo for so many years and you know we are all hurting for you. Sending much love to you and your family.

Beth and Bob Loftus


Gloria Dowdy Chase

September 8, 2023 at 4:04 pm

Tom and family,

You are all in my thoughts and prayers. My heart hurts for you all.

I worked at Perrigo and have wonderful memories of conversations with Deb.


Amy Whitsit

September 9, 2023 at 5:24 pm

Tom and family,

I am so sorry for your loss. I am praying for peace and strength during this time.


Amy K Fuller

September 16, 2023 at 10:13 pm

Brandy and family.. I am very sorry for your loss. Many prayers for you and your family during this difficult time.


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