2017 National Woman of the Year – Debbye Converse
Debbye Converse was born on October 23, 1952 in Dermott, Arkansas and moved to Houston with her family in 1956. She graduated from Ross Sterling High School in Baytown and attended Lee Junior College. Debbye was enticed by the money that the Railroad had to offer. Thanks to her best friend, Ginger Stanbery and her best friend’s dad, the late JJ Reed, Debbye got her foot in the door at Missouri Pacific Railroad in Houston, Texas in 1974.
In 1982, her office moved to Spring Texas as Missouri Pacific merged with Union Pacific. In 1988, she was relocated to Omaha, Nebraska. Debbye’s hard work and dedication earned her a series of promotions beginning in 1998 as Manager of Asset Utilization, Manager of Yard Operations in 1999, Corridor Manager (Rock) in 2003, and finally to Manager Train Operations in 2005. Her career has seen many cities and numerous promotions. She retired in 2012 with thirty years of service, but has not let the grass grow under her feet. She is truly dedicated to hard work and commitment in both her personal life and making the Houston Chapter of NARBW a success.
In the Houston Chapter of NARBW, she has held the positions of Secretary, Membership Chairman and numerous committees; and is currently their President.
Debbye is also a member of Altrusa International of Montgomery County and in addition has worked the following charities: MD Anderson Children’s Art Project, Be the Match, Ronald McDonald House, National Autism Society, Toys for Tots Houston, Avon Breast Cancer, Willis Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, Angel Gowns by Diane, Spay and Neuter Assistance Program, and Houston Achievement Program.
On September 10, 2011 Debbye married the love of her life, Mark Converse. Collectively they have four wonderful children; two girls and two boys; ten granddaughters, and two grandsons. Debbye takes care of her mother, Martha Kilcrease, who is 85 and legally blind, her brother, Keith Kilcrease, 66, who is deaf and her nephew Klint Kilcrease, 33, who is paralyzed from the waist down because of a car accident in February 2017. There is never a dull moment in Debbye’s life.
Debbye is an inspiration to the Houston Chapter and to NARBW as a whole. Her hard work, dedication and commitment to follow through on whatever is required of her is what sets her apart from the rest.