News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

LaLa Vernon Debari, December 12, 2002 – October 1, 2020

With overwhelming grief and sadness we share that our darling, darling sparkling light of a daughter Lala, was killed in a traffic incident on October 1. She was in the car with two other girls, one of whom was her best friend from California, Amelie Shae Locke, who also died at the scene. All the girls were wearing seat belts but the driver lost control of the car and all three girls died at the scene.

Lala was born on December 12, 2002 at 12:02 p.m. in Santa Rosa, California to Wendy Vernon and Dominic Debari. She lived in the woods of Mendocino County for her first year and then relocated to Sisters. She had a wild and wondrous time playing in Little Sisters Outlaws, then Miss Evelyn’s, as well as the Redmond Early Intervention program. While a student at Sisters Elementary School, she discovered her fantastical storytelling skills, that she was freaked out by all the testing, and loved to sing and dance. She was a Daisy, Junior, and Cadette Girl Scout and particularly loved the service component collecting monies for victims in Haiti, the Philippines disaster, and Animals in Need.

Lala played softball in middle school and as a lefty was desired, could hit pretty much any ball, but didn’t really get the game and no one who attended the Redmond fields game will ever forget Lala carrying her bat with her to second base. So she wasn’t a softball player, but she was a singer, writer, and dancer. Lala loved hip-hop dance tremendously. She took classes in Sisters, Bend, Portland, Berkeley and Vancouver. In her free time the music went on and the body started to move. When she wasn’t dancing she was writing stories, drawing, and singing. Lala was a movie buff and happily shared and discussed details about the multitudes of movies she had seen.

Lala had parents that loved to travel and she got to do a lot of it: Hawaii many times; Vietnam; Thailand; Hongkong; Italy; New York; Mexico; California; Canada; Washington; Nevada… She loved the adventure and couldn’t wait to begin her own new life post graduation, hoping that it would be in New York. And Lala was a phenomenal reader: the classics; contemporary fiction; relational stories...always something in her hands to read. She hiked the outdoors and many new trails, often grudgingly, but a participant by the end.

Lala had many loving friends and interesting acquaintances.

She was generally polite (her foul mouth was completely her mother’s fault) and always kind to a stranger.

That is what Lala did, and Lala was so much more.

She was a wonderfully kind, naive, empathic, sarcastic, loving friend, girlfriend, niece, cousin, faux granddaughter (adopted by many sets of grandparents).

Most importantly she was the most spectacular daughter: loving; kind; creative; spontaneous; irksome; nature-driven; culture-driven; socially conscious; and a fierce advocate for the underdog.

She protested for what she felt was right and against what she perceived as wrong.

We have been as proud of her as any parents could ever be.

She will forever be our sparkling star, our reason for being and we miss her more than anyone can comprehend.

Memorial services will be held in the field across from Sister Middle School, Friday, October 9, at 3 p.m. Please park at Sisters Middle School and drivers with special needs will be accommodated. The field is rough, so strong shoes are suggested. Please bring your own chair if you wish to sit. Social distancing will be required and masks are mandatory — many older relatives will be in attendance in honor of Lala. Please honor them and each other with social distancing and wearing a mask.

There will be music, sharing, and perhaps some dancing. Please consider yourself invited to celebrate our wonder-full daughter.

Thanks to all who have been so supportive as we navigate this nightmare.


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