Deborah Anne Frantisak (nee Twomey), 47, died on Dec. 27, 2022, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago with her husband by her side, after a long struggle with breast cancer that began in 2013 and ended in hospice care.

Born in 1975 in Norwalk, Connecticut, she spent her early childhood in Greenville, South Carolina, where she and her faithful canine companion, Sheba, explored the outdoors together. Her family spent summers in England and Wales where she gained a lifelong love of horses and trekking. Her family moved to Naperville, Illinois, in 1983. She graduated from Naperville Central High School in 1993, and went on to attend the University of Illinois Chicago, graduating in 2005 with a degree in Psychology. She went on to work in Human Resources at Superior Graphite in Chicago. During this time she was also an energetic performer on guitar, voice, and flute in several local music groups, notably The Pillowmints, Tiny Bones, and Covers for Cover charity performances.

Deborah married Christopher Frantisak in 2008, having been introduced (and subsequently re-introduced) by mutual friends and fellow musicians. They welcomed daughter Philippa (Pippa) in 2010 and then son Simon in 2013, settling in Oak Park shortly after. In late 2013, Deborah was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She dove headfirst into treatments as a young working mother of two children, hopeful that she would be cured. Several surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation sessions later, she banged the gong at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in August 2014, signifying that her treatments were complete.

In 2019 after a trip to Iceland and Ireland with her family, mum, and dear friend Marcia, metastatic breast cancer was discovered. With her determination to live stronger than ever, she began her second battle against breast cancer.

She felt that time is a gift and that people give and receive gifts when they spend time with one another. She gave her time to those she loved the most — her family and close friends. Deborah enjoyed planning travels and excursions, any equestrian activities, all manner of English baking, cozy mysteries, pantomime and drama, and almost every variety of tea. She was always ready to put on a show and gave musical performances with her group at Belmont Village and the Oak Park Arms.

She doted on her two children and tried her best to ensure that her family was prepared for whatever the future held for her. Deborah was always ready to lend a hand when one was needed. She was an active, energetic, and direct patient up until the very end. She continued to plan future travels until her illness made it impossible. Her hospitality, forthrightness, voice, wit, and way with words will be sorely missed by those who knew her.

Deborah is survived by her husband, Christopher; their two children, Philippa (12) and Simon (9); her mother Yvonne Twomey of Naperville; and her sister, Helen (Robert) Scheckel. She was preceded in death by her father, Bartholomew Twomey, of Marshfield, Missouri.

A memorial service for Deborah Frantisak is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Peterson-Bassi Chapels, 6938 W. North Ave., Chicago.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University ( or cancer care at Rush University Medical Center (

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