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"Deborah Hartley" Obituary

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"Deborah Hartley"

Toccoa, Georgia

October 18, 1940 - June 7, 2024

"Deborah Hartley" Obituary

With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Maxine “Deborah” Hartley, age 83. She died peacefully, June 7th, in her home surrounded by family and friends. Deborah was born to parents Linnea Olin and Maximilian Bruckner in New York City on October 18, 1940. Although Deborah grew up with little means, a first generation American and the second child of ten, her parents instilled in her an appreciation and love of fine arts. As a child, Deborah sought sanctuary and found inspiration in the magnificent (and at the time, free) museums throughout Manhattan.


Deborah attended Julia Richmon High School (Class of 1955). While still in school, she met her future husband, Duane Hartley, who was stationed in New York during his service in the Army. They married in New York in 1958, then moved to Duane’s home state of Missouri where their two children were born. The young family moved to Athens Georgia in 1966 when Duane took a teaching position at the University of Georgia. After the dissolution of their marriage, Deborah pursued a degree in Art Education at Georgia Southern College, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1976.


Upon graduation, Deborah was hired to teach art at Tallulah Falls School, thus bringing her to Toccoa. Soon after, she took the position of art teacher at Stephens County High School, where she taught for ten years.


Deborah found her true calling when she boldly opened The Studio: a gallery, frame shop, home for art lessons, and hub for all things ART. Deborah truly believed anyone could learn to become an artist, and took it upon herself to make sure those who wanted to learn did just that. She particularly felt that children should have every opportunity to create, and was ever supportive and encouraging in this endeavor.


Deborah lived an uncompromised life, guided by her own sense of ethics and morality. She cared about all humanity, animals and the environment. She was beyond generous with her time and energy, always putting others before herself.


She loved books and old movies, both of which she had an encyclopedic knowledge. She was never comfortable with computers, cell phones or new technology. A favorite early memory of Deborah’s was walking to Central Park to ice skate in the winter and roller skate in the summer. She would pack a piece of bread with butter for lunch and said that after a morning of skating, nothing ever tasted more delicious. At the end of the day, when she and her friends walked home, it felt like they still had skates on their feet.


Deborah is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Hartley (David Judd), son David Hartley (Kitty), grandchildren, Halliday and Wiley Hartley, and a rich community of countless friends and former students. She is predeceased by her grandson Jeffrey Rogers.


A celebration of Deborah’s life will be held at The Studio, 61 Doyle Street, Toccoa on Saturday, June 22, from 1:00 - 3:00. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Currahee Artists’ Guild, which Deborah helped found. Checks can be mailed to The Studio at the above address.


Acree-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of the arrangements for Maxine “Deborah” Hartley.





To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of "Deborah Hartley" hosted by Acree-Davis Funeral Home.

With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Maxine “Deborah” Hartley, age 83. She died peacefully, June 7th, in her home surrounded by family and friends. Deborah was born to parents Linnea Olin and Maximilian Bruckner in New York City on October 18, 1940. Although Deborah grew up with little means, a first generation American and the second child of ten, her parents instilled in her an appreciation and love of fine arts. As a child, Deborah sought sanctuary and found inspiration in the magnificent (and at the time, free) museums throughout Manhattan.


Deborah attended Julia Richmon High School (Class of 1955). While still in school, she met her future husband, Duane Hartley, who was stationed in New York during his service in the Army. They married in New York in 1958, then moved to Duane’s home state of Missouri where their two children were born. The young family moved to Athens Georgia in 1966 when Duane took a teaching position at the University of Georgia. After the dissolution of their marriage, Deborah pursued a degree in Art Education at Georgia Southern College, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1976.


Upon graduation, Deborah was hired to teach art at Tallulah Falls School, thus bringing her to Toccoa. Soon after, she took the position of art teacher at Stephens County High School, where she taught for ten years.


Deborah found her true calling when she boldly opened The Studio: a gallery, frame shop, home for art lessons, and hub for all things ART. Deborah truly believed anyone could learn to become an artist, and took it upon herself to make sure those who wanted to learn did just that. She particularly felt that children should have every opportunity to create, and was ever supportive and encouraging in this endeavor.


Deborah lived an uncompromised life, guided by her own sense of ethics and morality. She cared about all humanity, animals and the environment. She was beyond generous with her time and energy, always putting others before herself.


She loved books and old movies, both of which she had an encyclopedic knowledge. She was never comfortable with computers, cell phones or new technology. A favorite early memory of Deborah’s was walking to Central Park to ice skate in the winter and roller skate in the summer. She would pack a piece of bread with butter for lunch and said that after a morning of skating, nothing ever tasted more delicious. At the end of the day, when she and her friends walked home, it felt like they still had skates on their feet.


Deborah is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Hartley (David Judd), son David Hartley (Kitty), grandchildren, Halliday and Wiley Hartley, and a rich community of countless friends and former students. She is predeceased by her grandson Jeffrey Rogers.


A celebration of Deborah’s life will be held at The Studio, 61 Doyle Street, Toccoa on Saturday, June 22, from 1:00 - 3:00. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Currahee Artists’ Guild, which Deborah helped found. Checks can be mailed to The Studio at the above address.


Acree-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of the arrangements for Maxine “Deborah” Hartley.





To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of "Deborah Hartley" hosted by Acree-Davis Funeral Home.

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Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of "Deborah Hartley".