Debbie Lukens Arnn of Cranberry, Pa., formerly of Lexington, died Jan. 2

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Debbie Lukens Arnn passed away peacefully at Sherwood Oaks retirement community in Cranberry, Pa., on Jan. 2, 2023. She was 86.

Born in Chester, Pa., on Jan. 8, 1936, to James Willie Lukens and Winifred Morris Sloan Lukens, Debbie grew up in Swarthmore, Pa., and graduated from the Baldwin School. She attended the University of Pennsylvania before transferring to and graduating from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1959 where she majored in elementary education.

Debbie went on to teach second grade at the Valley Forge School and third grade at the Episcopal Academy near Philadelphia. While teaching, she also volunteered with the Junior League in Philadelphia

In 1962 Debbie married and moved to Somerset, Pa., where she said her greatest joy and proudest achievement was raising her three sons, Jim, Tom and John Courtney. Debbie became a journalist for the Daily American and participated in a variety of volunteer roles in the community. She volunteered with Meals on Wheels, the Welfare League and Somerset Garden Club. She served as president of the Fortnightly Club, a literary study group and organized and directed the Newspaper in Education (NIE) program in Somerset County schools. Debbie co-founded the Somerset Nursery School and served on its board for four years before serving as a board member for the Laurel Arts Rural Arts Center. Debbie was also a member of the Somerset Country Club, where she enjoyed playing tennis with friends.

In later years, Debbie lived in Lexington, close to cousins and where she and her second husband, Ed Arnn, volunteered as hosts supporting Virginia Military Institute first-year cadets. Debbie was an avid reader of the Bible and Our Daily Bread Christian Devotionals and she attended Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington. In winters, Debbie lived in Naples, Fla., where she grew up going to the beach with her family, and where friends and relatives, including her close cousin Jacqueline Morris Sloan, lived.

Debbie loved people and was known for engaging them with her curious nature and sense of humor. A lifelong learner, she loved books and writing, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, singing and listening to music. Debbie also enjoyed gardening, healthy cooking, the outdoors, hiking trails and cross country skiing. She loved her dogs, too, and the many birds that visited her garden. In summer, she often visited the Chautauqua Institution, where she frequently attended concerts and lectures and rowed in her single shell on Chautauqua Lake (a passion she shared with son Tom).

Debbie is survived by her three sons, James B. Courtney, Esq. (Susan), Somerset, Pa., Thomas L. Courtney, M.D., Mercer Island, Wash., and John W. Courtney, Esq. (Lori), Johnson City, Tenn.; and her loving grandchildren Matthew J. Courtney and Alana G. Courtney.

With her second husband, the late Edward T. Arnn Jr. M.D., Debbie was also a stepmother to E. Thomas Arnn (Ted), Gibsonia, Pa., Nancy Kim Arnn Colorado Springs, Colo., and Mina Weiler (deceased).

Debbie was preceded in death by her sister, Phoebe Lukens Guckes; brother, James W. Lukens Jr.; and sister, Wistar Lukens.

At her request Debbie was buried beside her husband, Ed Arnn, in the Chautauqua Cemetery in Mayville, New York. An online memorial with photos and comments can be found at

A celebration of Debbie's life will be held at 10:30 a.m. June 10, 2023, at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church at

1845 N. Center Ave, Somerset

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Summer's Best Two Weeks Christian camp in Boswell, Pa.







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