Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Debi King, Ridgewood-Wilton Neighbor Leader, Passes Away

Longtime Ridgewood-Wilton neighborhood leader Deborah (Debi) King passed away December 9, 2022.


Ridgewood-Wilton resident Deborah (Debi) King, passed away Friday, December 9, 2022 after an all too brief battle with Multiple Myeloma cancer. She was 69 years old.

King was a longtime resident who was an active member of the Ridgewood-Wilton Neighborhood Association where she was highly regarded for her welcoming nature, her unbounded energy, and dedication to neighborhood and the Wilshire Branch Library in particular.

“Debi had a seemingly endless supply of energy,” neighbor Mary Rajswing told the Buzz. “I always felt like an underachiever compared with Debi. She was strong and forthright in her opinions and she was also a very caring family person and business person.”

Rajswing told the Buzz how she and King bonded over their efforts to restore the flashing red light at the intersection of Wilton Place and 2nd Street. The two spent months monitoring the traffic once a week at 9 p.m. for 30 minutes to create a report showing LADOT officials how cars were speeding through the flashing yellow that had replaced a long-standing flashing red light at the location.

“Mary and Debi were just not going to let that go no matter what it took,” said Kathleen Mulligan, who served as president of the Ridgewood-Wilton Neighborhood Association at the time. It took nearly a year but ultimately the flashing red signal was restored and neighbors celebrated a party at King’s home, which she shared with Dick Herman, her husband of 26 years. Herman is a local architect and is also active in the neighborhood, serving for many years on the Land Use Committee of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.

“Debi had more energy, empathy and compassion for issues than anyone I ever met,” said Mulligan, who told the Buzz she met King when Mulligan moved into the neighborhood. “Right away she invited me to dinner and welcomed me into her large extended family and circle of friends she’d gathered over the years of living in the neighborhood.

Both Mulligan and Rajswing told the Buzz about how, at a local neighborhood meeting, King had urged neighbors to support LAPD’s request to install no-right-turn signs on Western Avenue. At the time, LAPD hoped to reduce the presence of prostitution near a local elementary school. Some residents resisted the signs, saying it infringed on their rights to make turns into the neighborhood. According to Mulligan, King made an eloquent and impassioned plea, saying efforts to protect the school children overshadowed the interests of drivers wanting to make right turns. Her argument won the day and the signs are still in place.

“Debi was involved with a local charity helping women who had been trafficked,” explained Rajswing, “She was really knowledgeable about the issues and said that if LAPD asked for support for these signs, we should give them our help.”

Rajswing also worked with King on a survey of neighborhood sidewalks that needed repairs. They got together on the weekends, walking the neighborhood and writing the status of each block on a spreadsheet, said Rajswing. Though nothing came of the effort, “we had fun,” she said.

King was a super volunteer and a very thoughtful neighbor. She invited Rajswing to clip lilacs, quite rare in our neighborhoods, from the bush in her front yard for Rajswing’s ailing mother.

“Debi really cared about her neighbors,” said Rajswing. “These are just a few examples of her many kind gestures toward friends and neighbors.”

“If they are lucky, every LAPD Senior Lead Officer has a go-to person in the neighborhood; Debi was my go-to person,” Officer Joe Pelayo told the Buzz. “She would always reach out if there was anything going on in the neighborhood. We talked all the time, and she was instrumental in getting resources for us to serve the neighborhood.”

Pelayo recalled that he first met Debi at a neighborhood watch meeting, and they realized they both grew up in Pasadena.

“Right from the start, we had a connection,” said Pelayo. “Debi and Dick always supported our fundraisers. She was a good friend.”

Debi was a native of Southern California. She graduated from Pasadena City College where she earned a degree in nursing. Debi worked as an ICU nurse in Santa Monica until she and her first husband, Jay, bought Economy Office Supply, a family office supply business in 1976. Together they ran a successful new business. Upon her first husband’s passing in 1994, Debi took over Economy and successfully operated the business until her passing. Her employees were so very grateful for a kind and present owner. They appreciated and respected her day to day running of the company and the sincere admiration she had for everyone. Economy Office Supply is admired by many because of the longevity of employees.

“Debi was and will continue to be very present in our collective lives,” said Bing Miller, VP of Economy Office Supply Company since 1964.

King was also involved in many local charities and volunteered at local events. She and Economy were awarded the 2022 Business of the Year by the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. She was also very much respected in the office supply industry by vendors, other dealers and the buying groups, said Miller. Customers were always surprised to receive a call from Debi who would thank them for their business.

“Debi had a wonderful way with people,” Herman told the Buzz. “We have received lots of condolence cards and kind messages from her employees, vendors and customers. She was dedicated to the community and her family, she enjoyed traveling when she was not working. She taught me to see things I would never have looked at or thought of, like a hummingbird, or birds of all kinds. She loved gardening, but not weeding.”

Herman recalled how much King also enjoyed family events at the beach in Laguna, where she would gather all the children, family and friends together.


A studio portrait of Debi King with her children Kathleen and John.


King is survived by her children, John and Kathleen, as well as John’s wife Joanna and their three children, Grace, Julia and Michael, and Kathleen’s husband Brent Joyce (they were married last fall). King is also survived by Herman’s children Stefanie and her husband Kevin, Paul and his wife Amy, Andrea and her husband Joe, Chris and his wife Johanna, and John and his wife Beth, along with grandchildren Michael and Christopher, Agnes and Dean, Alexandra, Isabella, and Adam.

A funeral mass will be held at St. Brendan Church, with celebrants from Cathedral Chapel where the Herman family has a long-standing connection,  at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. followed by a burial service will be at Holy Cross Cemetery with a reception to follow.


Dick Herman and Debi King at a holiday event for the at Paramount Studios in 2019.


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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