Debra Clay Manteghi, 65, of Akron, Ohio, known by many as the Angel of Akron, peacefully passed into God's loving embrace May 5, 2017.
She was born in Ashland, June 6, 1951. Debra was preceded in death by her parents, Edward Clay Jr. and Polly Ann Clay.
She graduated from the University of Akron with a bachelor of arts in family and child development with a minor in psychology while continuing on later in life to obtain her masters of science in family and consumer science.
Debra lived fiercely. She found her calling in life through advocacy by tirelessly working to give voice to the voiceless. She pioneered Project RISE (Realizing Individual Strength through Education) a federally-funded program whose mission is to help children experiencing homelessness. Project RISE continues to be the district's most impactful program that proactively addresses this critical issue. Debra also empowered students to become community leaders through teaching family development and poverty at the University of Akron.
Debra lived passionately. She was a genuine presence to all those around her especially her family and close friends whom she prioritized her time with above all else. There is nothing she enjoyed more than her family being together, being a mother and big sister.
As a young woman, Debra traveled the world trekking across the Sahara Desert on her own and was inspired by artists and poets while she lived in San Francisco. Later in life she traveled with her beloved son and their golden retriever, Ember, to the southern hemisphere in New Zealand and enjoyed many long introspective walks in Central Park while they lived in New York City. Debra enjoyed photography, exploring art museums, discovering new musicians and connecting with those around her through poetry.
Debra lived devoutly. She was an active member of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Akron and in the face of life's adversity she found courage through her faith and family always remaining steadfast and resolute towards her convictions. She was her family's champion too, their shepherd when they were lost and their light when it was darkest.
Debra's legacy will be carried by her son, Amir Manteghi and his partner, Monica Band; her two sisters, Sherry Fogarty and Jennifer Clay Naader; her brother-in-law, Edward Fogarty; her nieces, Jamie Naader, Katie Miller and Julyan Fogarty; her nephew, Patrick Fogarty; and the rest of the extended Manteghi, Clay and Rice family.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 11, 2017, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 50 N. Prospect in Akron with Deacon Marla Wood Kay officiating. Interment will be at Chestnut Hill Memorial Park.
Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at Bacher Funeral Home, 3326 Manchester Road in Akron and after 10 a.m. Thursday at the church.
Condolence may be left at bacherfuneralhome.com.
Published on  May 8, 2017