Mizell’s friendship missed

Published 12:01 am Thursday, January 3, 2008

NATCHEZ — Deborah Mizell is in heaven. Her friends know that for certain.

And the tragedy that took her there Tuesday can’t erase the life full of family, friends and laughs she lived for 49 years.

Mizell, who was accidentally shot by her husband Glenn, died in the kitchen of her Jeff Davis Boulevard house early Tuesday morning.

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But the memories stayed here.

“She was a devoted friend, whether or not you had spoken to her in the last six months or the last six years,” Diane Rice said. “If she knew you had a need or were hurting, she was going to reach out to you.”

Rice has attended Parkway Baptist Church with Mizell for the last 16 years. But their friendship grew stronger over the last five years.

Rice, a cancer survivor, works heavily with the church’s Relay for Life team. Two years ago, when the opportunity arose, Mizell volunteered to take over the teams’ finances.

“It was because she was a friend,” Rice said. “I had dealt with cancer and she wanted to be there.”

Friends were important to Mizell, friend DaNell Ballard said, but God, then family came first.

“She was a godly woman who loved her family,” Ballard said. “She loved her grandchild and daughter, but she would tell others that God came first and the family came after him.”

And keeping things in that order made life worth living, friends said.

“She was so full of life,” friend Linda Garrett said. “She did everything to the nth degree.”

That’s true, Ballard said, whether it was her work — first at Natchez Community Hospital and most recently at Natchez Regional — shopping, cooking or scrapbooking.

“This past November we took a trip to the Smoky Mountains together,” Ballard said. “Just the car ride up there itself was a blast because you were with friends you loved to be around.”

Being friends with Mizell meant being loved, Rice said.

“If you’ve ever been the recipient of Deborah’s friendship, you know it was sincere,” she said. “It was 100 percent. She didn’t give it to you partially.”

Funeral arrangements are not yet final.