Deb Peters Profile Photo
1957 Deb 2024

Deb Peters

August 14, 1957 — April 24, 2024

Deborah "Deb" (Harvey) Peters, 66, of Greenwood, Indiana passed away on April 24, 2024. 

Deb was born on August 14, 1957, to Thomas "Tom" and Geneva "Genie" (Dulworth) Harvey in Detroit, Michigan. She told many funny stories of what it was like growing up as the only daughter with two older brothers, Wally and Mark, who liked to play practical jokes sometimes involving scorpions, tarantulas, and snakes. 

Deb and her brothers grew up living in several parts of the country. The Harvey family moved from her birthplace in Detroit, Michigan to Cocoa Beach, Florida, to Pasadena, Texas, and finally to the Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Deb attended Howe High School in Indianapolis where she participated in choir, The Madrigals, several school musicals, the "Hornet Honeys" drill team, and student council. She shared her musical talents through song, dance, and playing guitar. Deb treasured her friendships and often recounted many hilarious stories and adventures with her high school friends who called themselves the "Kittenz." 

Deb and Doug Peters became high school sweethearts after Doug literally knocked her off her feet at the Ellenberger Park ice skating rink. Though Deb saw through his heroic rescue as a way to catch her attention, it eventually led to many more dates together playing putt-putt, attending school dances, and spending time with friends. They married on March 4, 1978 at Irvington United Methodist Church where they had to trudge through the remains of the Great Blizzard of '78 to make it to the church on time.

Deb and Doug started their life together just down the street from Doug's parents where they renovated the first of several houses together. As a couple they took many trips together, spent time with family and friends, and started their careers. Deb worked at Naval Avionics alongside several other family members. 

Deb and Doug have two daughters, Laura and Kim, who Deb carried and raised while she was a student at IUPUI. While balancing motherhood with coursework, she discovered a passion for geology and made the difficult decision to switch away from her business major. She had to fight for it though - one professor advised her against the idea, telling her that the difficult science courses would be too much for a married mother to handle. 

Like many who knew her, he learned never to tell Deb "you can't do that." She proved her professor wrong, achieving straight A's in calculus, physics, physical geology, and chemistry. Additionally, she taught courses in rocks, minerals, and dinosaurs at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. She was pregnant with her youngest daughter Kim while climbing outcrops in South Dakota to sample soil and rocks as part of her field studies. Deb earned her Bachelor's Degree in Geology from the IUPUI Indiana University School of Science in 1988. 

Deb's professional legacy is one of entrepreneurship and environmental stewardship. When the firm she was working for decided to close the environmental department, Deb took the initiative and founded her own environmental-engineering firm in 1996: Quality Environmental Professionals, Inc. (QEPI). Within the first two years of business, QEPI was recognized with back-to-back Indiana Growth 100 Awards, and was often ranked among the top environmental consulting firms in Indiana. 

In 2013, QEPI became the first woman-owned business to win an environmental-engineering contract with the Louisville Army Corps of Engineers, which Deb called one of their biggest successes. From a profile on Deb in Indianapolis Woman magazine in July 1998, she shared "To discover the problem, solve it, and walk away knowing you made the environment safe for the bugs, bunnies, and people is very rewarding." 

As a leader, Deb had a competitive spirit but was always guided by her heart. She was a memorable force - vibrant, down-to-earth, hard-working, with a straightforward approach that made her stand out among more conventional peers. She was honored to be selected for the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, and to be involved in local Indiana politics.  

Deb's career in geology, environmental consulting, and as a business owner spanned over 30 years. She passed along her knowledge by mentoring others and encouraging women to believe in themselves and pursue careers in science. She served on the Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) Advisory Board and was a council member for the School of Science Dean's Advisory Council. In 2014, Deb received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the School of Science Alumni Association. 

As successful and trailblazing as Deb was in her career, there was nothing she loved more than her family. She loved playing cards and games with her mother Genie. She was proud of her father Tom who was a talented musician and songwriter. She was equally proud of her brothers and the families they built. She cherished the relationship with her devoted stepfather Richard "Lamar" Frey as they cared for Genie together throughout her journey with Alzheimer's.    

Deb invested herself completely into everything she did. She loved watching Indianapolis Colts football and attending games, hosting family gatherings and cooking meals for a large crowd, and she had very special bonds with her many dachshunds through the years. She enjoyed watching the movie "Twister" on repeat with Doug, reconnecting with her high school friends for Kittenz reunions, taking trips to white sandy beaches, and building a complete collection of My Little Ponies with her daughters. She was generous not only with her time and resources but also with her love and laughter. Deb made others feel welcomed, loved, and at home. 

Deb was an inspirational and supportive mother who never failed to share with her daughters how proud she was of them for pursuing their dreams. She lived and passed on her philosophy that there "isn't anything a woman can't do."

Deb is survived by her husband of 46 years, Doug Peters; daughters, Laura Peters and Kim (Peters) Hlava; brothers, Wally Harvey and Mark Harvey; stepfather, Richard "Lamar" Frey; and dachshund, Birdie. 

A Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, May 2nd, 2024 at Indiana Funeral Care, Greenwood at 2433 E. Main St., Greenwood, Indiana. Visitation is from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm with a service to honor Deb's life at 4:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer's Association. 
https://www.alz.org/get-involved-now/donate


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