Obituaries

Debra Lynn Kocks

Photo of Debra Lynn Kocks
The family of Debra Lynn Kocks sadly reports that she unexpectedly passed away in her sleep on March 22, 2024, in her home in Rogers, Ark. Debbie was a remarkable, kind, and very compassionate person with a quick smile and heart of gold. She also was a keen and successful businesswoman. She will be greatly missed by all her family and many friends. Debbie was born July 11, 1954, in Peoria, Illinois, to parents Walter and Dorothy "Dottie" Goetz. She was the eldest of their three children and she grew up in the small town of Metamora, Illinois. She graduated from Metamora High School and then earned a degree in fashion merchandising in Peoria, Illinois. Debbie's passion for business led to a highly successful career in retailing. She began her retailing career with P.A. Bergner & Co. department store in Peoria, then moved to Venture (May Company) in St. Louis, and Gold Circle (division of Federated Department Stores) in Columbus, Ohio, before moving to northwest Arkansas and accepting a position with Walmart as a women's apparel buyer. During her 22-year career at Walmart from 1988 until 2010, Debbie excelled at her job and became one of Walmart's first female Divisional Merchandise Managers. One of the most exciting parts of her career was the opportunity she had to extensively travel internationally, helping Walmart source its products from all over the world. After she retired from Walmart in 2010, Debbie began another stage of her career, leading the Li & Fung Ltd. supply chain group of Hong Kong which further supported Walmart's merchandising business. Her outstanding success was a balance of her ability to develop great businesses along with her leadership skills and her passion to help others develop their careers. Debbie also excelled in her role as a mother to her only son, Jay. She was a loving and fiercely dedicated parent and supported him with unconditional love and wise guidance during his youth, high school days, his college days and his adulthood. Even after Jay moved from Rogers and began his own career, they kept in close touch, maintaining their special relationship. Debbie also had many dear friends from her childhood, her career, and within the northwest Arkansas community. She enjoyed gathering with them, especially around her pool or getting together to watch games, such as cheering for the Arkansas Razorbacks and Green Bay Packers. Debbie was also a devout Christian and a member of the First Christian Church of Rogers, Ark. Six years ago, she met her love, Ron, and together they enjoyed beach vacations, cooking and entertaining friends and family and simply just each other. They were engaged in October 2021. Ron added much joy and love to Debbie's life. Debbie is survived by her only son, Jason "Jay" Kocks (Eutemia Hernandez); and her two adored young grandchildren, Akasha and Jet (whom she fondly called her "grandsweetums"), all of Lyons, Colo.; her sister, Barb Mishler (Greg) of Metamora, Illinois; her brother, Doug (Lori) of St. Paul, Minn.; and six nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her fiance, Ron Pryor of Rogers, Ark. She was preceded in death by her parents. Debbie's cremation arrangements have been entrusted under the direction of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home of Rogers, and the memorial service will be held at First Christian Church at 905 S 13th St., Rogers, Ark., on April 4th at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any memorial contributions be made to a charity of their choice in her name.

Published April 3, 2024

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