Deena Carter lived life on her own terms. From the time she was little, she approached life's challenges with a fearlessness that gave her a unique world experience. Born Donna Jean Wall on June 29, 1956, in Carlsbad, N.M., she earned the name Deena from her sister who found it easier to pronounce. Deena passed away on March 10, 2022 after a brave battle with heart disease.
The eldest of five, Deena grew up in Utah with her four siblings, Cindy, Perry, Brett and Chad. Living in a rural area gave her an appreciation for nature. She had horses, dogs, cats, enjoyed camping, hiking and exploring. She cared for many stray animals through her life.
Deena was an avid reader and had a lifelong thirst for knowledge. An archeologist at heart, she would take solo trips camping and exploring the hills and deserts.
She married Gary Carter on July 11, 1974 and moved to Salt Lake City where their son Gabrial Lian Carter was born on September 13, 1976. Soon they moved to Maple Valley, Wash., to be closer to Deena's parents.
They moved to Ephrata, Wash., in 1982 and set up a small farm raising pigs, chickens, dogs, cockatiels and cats. Deena volunteered at a local mid-wife operation and wild animal refuge.
By 1990, Deena and Gary started their own landscaping business which continued until after Gabrial left for college in 1995. A few years later, Deena and Gary divorced.
In 2002, she and three cats traveled through the West; later joining her parents in Bullhead City, Ariz. until moving them to Washington in 2010. Deena became their caregiver for several years until they moved into assisted living.
Deena never loved the northwest climate and returned to New Mexico in 2017, reuniting with Mike Cunningham and rekindling a relationship started years before. They lived together where he lovingly cared for her throughout her final years.
If you asked Deena about her life's greatest accomplishment, she'd say it was her son, Gabrial. She once said, "I never deserved such a perfect son, but God blessed me with one."
Deena is survived by her son Gabrial (Michele), two grandchildren, Aiden and Liam; four siblings, Cindy Wall (James Whipps); Perry Wall (Melody); Brett Wall (Misti); Chad Wall (Michelle); her partner, Mike Cunningham and two fur-babies, Kate the kitty and Chaos the cat. And numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Dennis and Barbara Wall. She will be deeply missed by all her friends and family.
A private Celebration of Life for Deena will be held at Bitter Lake State Park at a later date.
The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to the US Humane Society, 1255 23rd St. NW, Suite 450, Washington, DC 20037 or the Friends of Roswell Animals, PO Box 366, Roswell, NM 88202, https://forarescue.org in honor of Deena's memory.
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