Deborah Rae Nihart (Byington), beloved wife, mother, and grandmother passed away from natural causes on Friday, December 10, 2021. She died at home with her family at her side.
Deborah, or Debbie to those who loved her, was born on February 24, 1953 in Nampa, Idaho to her parents Archie and Leila Byington. Debbie was the youngest child in the family which included a brother and three sisters. Debbie lived with her family in Homedale, Idaho where she attended elementary school. During her teenage years, the Byington family moved to Caldwell, Idaho. Debbie graduated from Vallivue High School, in Caldwell, and was an alumni from the Class Of 1971.
After graduation, Debbie enrolled at Links, a secretarial and business education focused school, where she learned typing, shorthand, and accounts bookkeeping to ready herself for a career. It was also, at that time, that she met the love of her life, Michael (Mike) Nihart of Nampa, Idaho.
It was during high school when Debbie first met Mike. But it would be years later, after Mike returned from serving in the Navy, that they would fall in love. On December 2, 1972, Debbie would marry Mike, entering into a loving union that lasted over 47 years, 3 children, and 8 Grandchildren.
After the wedding, Debbie’s career would be put on hold as the newly married couple began their family in earnest. First was Wayne, followed by Michelle, and then Scott. Money was tight, like finances in single income families can be. Debbie, ever enterprising and shrewd with figures, always contributed to the family’s financial well being. Like when she spent the summer months probing for worms which she would sell by the pound to the bait store up the road to fund family camping and fishing trips. And over the year, she would plan her spending at the supermarket to best capitalize on green stamp coupons which she could then redeem for Christmas presents.
Soon enough, however, all kids were in school and Debbie went to find work. Work such as entering numbers on the computers for Kit Manufacturing in Caldwell, managing the account books at a dental prosthesis manufacturer in Nampa, and managing the account books (and doing year end taxes for her friends) at Ruben’s Body Shop. All of these jobs served to get her ready for managing her own account books as she and Mike opened “M & D Auto Repair”in Nampa. Together, they grew the business and fixed the cars of long-standing customers, family, and friends until they closed in the early 2000s.
Debbie retired from Ruben’s Body Shop and went on to enjoy Mike’s companionship at their home in Nampa. What initially seemed like a bunch of free time quickly became busy and full. Debbie’s children now had their own children and Grandma became inundated with sticky fingers, children’s car seats, and crayoned school drawings.
Debbie also spent a lot of time in her sisters’ company. They would travel together on trips and to family reunions. They would also create beautifully crafted glass works which she would later gift to family and friends. Her life was made full each time a loved one opened a box and she saw their eyes light up in awe by the detail of slumped flowers and wise inscriptions.
In February of 2020, the love of Debbie’s life passed from this life to the next. While her heart was broken, she displayed the same resolute passion which defined all of the success she enjoyed in life. She bought and furnished a home, assigning one room and the garage as a workshop, and bought glass in earnest. She generously shared her knowledge, talent, and enthusiasm for life with everyone she knew.
Debbie is survived by her sons Wayne Nihart (Autumn), Scott Nihart (CoraAnn), and daughter Michelle Nihart-Mehr (Darrin). She has been blessed with 8 grandchildren whom she loved dearly; Paige, Payton, Parker, Aiden, Brady, James, Joseph, and Ben; her sisters, Darlene Stattner (Jim) and Linda Byington; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Mike, her parents Archie and Leila Byington; her brother Phillip Byington (Beverly); and her sister Gayle Spencer (John).
Our family will be hosting a viewing/visitation on Monday, December 20, from 11am until 12pm followed by a 12pm service at Alsip & Persons Funeral Chapel in Nampa. After services, we invite you to a short graveside ceremony at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Caldwell.
Lastly, the family would like to invite you to remember and share memories of Debbie with friends and family at a reception hosted by her dear friends Carol and Dave, at their home in Nampa.
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