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Dec. 17, 1952 Oct. 23, 2016
Deborah Pinkerton K

Deb, wife of Oakdale native, Bret Hewitt, passed away in the afternoon of Sunday, October 23 after a determined and valiant battle of a recurrence of breast cancer. With her at the last moment were her husband, sister-in-law, Lauren Hewitt, daughter, Clare Hewitt, and her loyal Russian Wolfhound, Raisa.
In addition to being a wife and mother, Deb defined herself first and foremost as a teacher – while at UC Davis and upon graduation, as the education director in the UC Davis Arboretum in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and more recently running the children’s theater outreach and education program for the Washington, DC-based Helen Hayes Awards organization. In between those stints she taught junior high school science and social studies in several parochial schools in Manhattan and greater Washington, DC. She was also a park ranger in a Sacramento park district, traveling in ranger hat and uniform from school to school with her animal skins and live animals in tow.
Deb’s enthusiasm and love for her students, individually and collectively, was undeniable and it brought her great joy. Even though she was known as a strict teacher, her students adored her and stayed in contact for years after they left her classroom. When Deb had successfully coached one of her students into a top high school, she bounded through the back door of her home, literally “walking on air.”
Deb was born in Wenatchee, WA and raised in Costa Mesa. After receiving her AA degree from Orange Coast Community College in 1974 she transferred to UC Davis, from which she received a BS in Environmental Planning and Management in 1977. She and Bret were married in the Arboretum’s Oak Grove on June 29, 1985. The couple then spent 29 years on the East Coast between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Washington, DC and Arlington, VA before resettling to Northern California to retire and raise their daughter, Clare, who joined the family in 2013. During those years, with Bret she attended six of the OHS Class of 1972 reunions and was accepted by Bret’s classmates as own of their own.
Deb was preceded in death by her mother, Joy Shinkoskey Pinkerton, her father, Ralph M. Pinkerton, her daughter, Amelia, and her mother-in-law, Oakdale’s first woman Mayor, Emily M. Hewitt, and father-in-law, Oakdale’s long-time optometrist, Dr. Thomas B. Hewitt. She is survived by her husband and daughter, and her sisters and brother and their respective spouses and Bret’s brother, Garth, and sister, Lauren and respective spouses.
Services are scheduled for Saturday, November 19 at 3 p.m. in the Episcopal Church of St. Martin, 640 Hawthorn Lane in Davis with a reception to follow at the Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St in Davis. Children are welcome at both events.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to the “Pinkerton Prize” in the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, a 20-year old working endowment providing educational support to budding undergraduate leaders involved in the Arboretum’s many offerings. Gifts can be made by check and sent to the UC Davis Foundation (with the name of the fund on the memo line), One Shields Ave, UC Davis 95616 or via this link:
Funeral services were provided by Smith Funeral Home. Those who wish to sign a guestbook online may do so at
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Nov. 16, 2016