July 31, 1946 – April 14, 2009
We have lost a dear friend and benefactor. Deborah was a loving friend, wife, mother, grandmother, sister and a caring and engaged member of the Island community. She will be dearly missed by anyone who came to know her. Deborah grew up in the New York and Boston areas. Her paternal grandmother was in the first graduating class of Radcliff and her father graduated Harvard. She graduated with a degree from Hunter College, did graduate work in art at the Chicago Art Institute and New York University, and then worked in advertising and as an art teacher before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico in the mid 1970’s. There she ran a business baking bread and serving a stylish Sunday brunch in a local health food restaurant. She bought a small house and moved to Madrid, New Mexico where she became a vital and integral part of a small group that rebuilt the once ghost town into a thriving artist community. She served on the Water Co-op and the Madrid Landowners boards and participated in the growth of the Children’s Workshop, a parent co-operative school where her daughter Jesse was a student. Deborah ran a small restaurant in the neighboring town of Cerrillos and then taught aerobics and yoga classes in her studio. She was an accomplished jeweler, but she brought beauty to everything she touched. In Madrid she met her future life partner Terry Conrad and together they started the Madrid Supply Company Gallery, a showplace for their own art and the work of other local and area artists.
While on vacation in January 1989, Deborah and Terry discovered Galveston and three days later made an offer on a beautiful downtown commercial building on Tremont Street. In April of that year they moved to Galveston and opened the Conrad Gallery, one of the early commercial art galleries downtown and became a founding member of the Galveston ArtWalk. Deborah’s daughter Jesse enrolled in the Satori School and Terry’s son Clay enrolled at Trinity school. In 1990, Deborah opened the Intima lingerie boutique on the Strand, and in 1994 opened The Firm, a trendy upscale women’s clothing boutique at its’ present location on Postoffice Street. Her keen eye, unfailing sense of style and energetic charm has brought success to all of her ventures.
Deborah became engaged in broader community service very early on. In New Mexico she joined forces with other environmental activists in defense of threats from development and mining interests. She and others once served time in the Carlsbad County Jail for their civil disobedience protest of a nuclear waste facility in that area that would take trucks carrying nuclear waste from Los Alamos directly through the center of Santa Fe. She has been an active participant in the Island community due to her commitment to service and her ability to clearly articulate thoughts and feelings on any topic. Her vision of life for her grandchildren and all future Galvestonians has made her a strong and consistent voice for the disadvantaged in furthering educational and economic opportunities on the Island. Her latest passion was to see community gardens in every neighborhood of Galveston.
Many know Deborah through her public presence at The Firm, and know that she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990. For 19 years she has been a friend and gracious supporter for numerous women with that or a similar diagnosis. She underwent surgery and radiation but stanchly refused to take chemotherapy, a decision that had mixed reception with her medical team, friends and family. Instead, she used the opportunity to deepen her yoga and meditation practice, get more conscious of her diet and the health implications of all aspects of her lifestyle. Through all, her attitude was intensely positive, encouraging and caring, even to the point of confronting those that were unable to share her vision. Even so, and in part due to her natural beauty and warmth, she was widely loved and respected, it was obvious to anyone with whom she engaged that she lead with her heart on every issue.
Deborah is survived by her husband Terry Conrad; daughter Jesse Conrad; granddaughters Alexa Conrad and Romie Castro; son Clay Conrad and his wife Erin Conrad, all of Galveston, and son Calder Conrad of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Surviving family members also include Deborah’s three brothers Bob Dunn and his wife Pam Wickheiser of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Stephen Dunn of Berkeley, California; and Kevin Dunn and his wife Linda Kelly of Hull, Massachusetts.
Deborah requested that there be a Life Celebration for all who knew her and their families at the Garten Verein in Kempner Park on Thursday, April 23rd at 6:30. The family is grateful for all of the expressions of love for Deborah in the form of cards, letters, food and flowers, that flowed in daily; and to Beverly and the Hospice Care Team for their wonderful and invaluable assistance at the end. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Deborah’s name to either the Satori School Scholarship Fund, or the Galveston Gardens project % The Postoffice Street Association, 2218 Postoffice Street, Galveston, TX 77550.