Debra Eubanks-Shinholser Benninghoff, loving wife and mother, passed to eternity surrounded by her closest loved ones on Saturday, March 26, 2022, in her lifelong home of Jacksonville, FL. She was 63 years old when she succumbed to an aggressive cancer, for which she received a diagnosis only nine weeks prior.
Debbie was a tremendously strong woman. Married early to her high school sweetheart, Ray, only to be suddenly widowed at 30, she pulled her life together to provide for and raise her young children. She worked her way through college and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Florida, became a teacher (from which she recently retired), and went on to earn a master’s degree in Education. In 1990, Debbie fell in love with her second husband, Rick Benninghoff, to whom she had fortuitously been introduced by her first husband, Ray, shortly before he passed away. Debbie frequently reminisced about that day. When they left their lunch meeting with Rick, Ray very pointedly and repeatedly told her that Rick was a very good man. In 1995, our family was completed when she married that good man in a little white chapel in their favorite vacation spot, the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, where she and Rick owned a vacation cabin for 20 years.
Debbie loved traveling, most especially to experience the National Parks. Known as the “Glamping Queen,” -- a reference to her insistence on camping in style -- she spent the past several years traveling the nation in her fifth wheel on weekends and holidays with her husband and their many “camping buddies.” In fact, one of her friends once quipped that Debbie “put the ‘glamp’ in camping.” It was her post-retirement dream to “glamp” her way across the country with her husband and see all the national monuments.
While Debbie was an outwardly glamorous woman, she was one of those rare souls that was even more beautiful on the inside. She deeply loved all three of her children and adored her grandchildren, whose homes were her favorite destinations. Although her first husband was gone, she maintained a special relationship with his family, most especially his parents, Charles Ray and Virginia. Debbie loved bringing them along on her many traveling adventures. She took to her second husband’s family -- including his son, whom she loved as her own -- like a fish to water. Debbie was especially close with her late sister, Lou, and ever an attentive daughter, spent endless hours caring for their elderly parents after her eldest sister and brother passed away.
Debbie’s life ran the gamut; from tragedy to triumph, from pain and sorrow to love and contentedness. Through it all, her presence here was marked by a deep grace and graciousness. She spent her last days making absolutely sure that those who knew and loved her were certain she loved them, wholly and unconditionally. Her loss has left an enormous hole in the lives of all she touched and we will miss her for all our remaining days.
Debbie was preceded in death by her first husband, Ray Shinholser; her mother, Patricia Eubanks; her mothers-in-law, Virginia Shinholser and Wanda Benninghoff; her father-in-law, Eugene “Benny” Benninghoff; her older sister, Lou Rymsza, and her brother, John Eubanks.
She is survived by her husband of 27 years, Rick Benninghoff; their three children, David Benninghoff (Jane), Mandy Pagano (Tony) and Michael Shinholser (Sarah); her grandchildren, Krystal Romero, Josh and Lara Pagano and Evan and Lilly Shinholser, as well as her father, John Eubanks; her brother, James Eubanks; her father-in-law, Charles Ray Shinholser and her brother-in-law, Bob Rymsza. She is also survived by her first husband’s sisters and brothers and their families, as well as her second husband’s sisters and their families.
Debbie will be laid to rest in a service beginning at the graveside at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at Riverside Memorial Park, 7242 Normandy Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32205, followed by a memorial and reception at 11:00 a.m. at Lakeside Church of Christ, 2539 Moody Road, Orange Park, FL 32073. Friends and family are welcome to come to any or all of the services. Attendees are asked to please wear an item of pink, her favorite color, to the services and the family has requested pink flowers in her honor.
Aaron and Burney Bivens Funeral Home, 529 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park, FL 32703, (904) 264-1233 is serving the family.