By Tribune staff
NASHVILLE, TN — Many folks throughout the Nashville journalistic and writing community, including Tennessee Tribune staff members, are still reeling from news of Deborah Ann Culp’s passing on Oct. 26. She distinguished herself during two decades of experience in media and marketing, and the Tribune was among many places where Culp’s versatility as a writer was on display.
Her educational background proved ideal for later entry into media. Culp studied Radio/TV at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Southfield, Michigan, and subsequently studied Telecommunications engineering at Henry Ford CC/University of Michigan Dearborn. That versatility in both broadcasting and writing, as well as technical fields, was reflected in her reportage, interviewing and feature articles.
She wrote about everything from sports to politics during her tenure at the Tribune. Her articles included an updated profile of Sam Smith’s Continental T-Bells Track Club, an outgrowth of the historic Tigerbelles, a look at the Treva & Kevin television show, and coverage of the historic 2015 Nashville Mayoral campaign. Culp combined writing and photography in her various endeavors, and her contributions to the Tribune were as exemplary as her articles for many other publications.
Culp was also a very spiritual person, and became known as #GodsWriterGirl. Some other places where she contributed included The Nashville Pride, DIVINE Magazine Online, the Detroit News, On Detroit, the Wilmington Star News Online, Divine Caroline, Convenient Shopper magazine, TPEpost News, Change Gospel magazine, and Path magazine. She also began God’s Writer Girl Ministries, an online writing and communications ministry, in 2012.
She skillfully utilized the Internet to build a marketing firm known as “Guerilla Marketing DAC Style.” This was Culp taking her knowledge of marketing and promotion, coupled with You Tube and various social media, to develop a unique method of promoting and advertising for various clients. It also became a way to mentor and advise young people and potential new business owners on strategies and techniques for improving the productivity of their operations.
Culp refused to let tragedies, illness or personal problems stop her. She served on Swift Tabernacle Baptist Church’s Social Ministry team, assisted with an apartment building newspaper, and even volunteered as an on-site photographer at special events. In addition to writing and photography, Culp loved music, movies, travel, thrift shopping and spending time with various family members.
She and her late husband raised one son, William Culp IV, who is still serving in the United States Marine Corps. That was the catalyst for her launching a military family support group called ‘Minority Military Moms and Supporters.’ Any mother or family member is welcome to join or be a positive part of that information and support group.
There was an outpouring from across the spectrum of Nashville political, business and social leadership upon hearing the news of Deborah Culp’s passing. “When I learned that Deborah Culp passed I was sad, but then I remembered that a life well served is a life well lived,” said Dr. Katherine Y. Brown.
“Deborah was an amazing journalist who believed in giving voice to people in a meaningful way. She served others with a smile, a camera, and a pen through the art of the oral tradition of storytelling. I remember when she decided to join church, she invited me to accompany her and it was a blessing to witness her give her life to God. We loved her smile, her laugh, and love. To me she was more than a writer, she was a friend and she will be missed.”
“Ms. Deborah always had words of encouragement for me,” added Sydney Y. K. Brown. “She was genuinely interested in my family and me. I will miss her laughter and how she always told me that I was destined to go great things. Every time I saw her she would ask about my three brothers and me. She remembered every detail and truly cared.”
Fellow Pride writer Wanda Clay provided these thoughts. “As we say goodbye to a fellow writer, I am reminded of Deborah’s great sense of sharing and respect to her collegues. When she came to the PRIDE, she always wanted to know if an event she was going to cover was something that I had done in the past. Or, if we happened to attend the same event, she took great care to understand if it was something that she needed to write or if she needed to yield the story to me. Nevertheless, we never had a problem and she relished sharing her pictures with me, often sharing a photo of the two of us. Although her pen is stilled, “God’s Writer Girl” has written her own legacy throughout her lifetime.”
Judge Rachel L. Bell also had happy memories of their friendship. “Deborah A Culp, my very dear friend and sis, as we always called each other, passed away this morning.,” Judge Bell said on Oct. 26. “I have so many fond memories of her and so many stories to share. She was a delight to be around and she will be terribly missed by me personally. Her friendship was invaluable. Deborah, I love you and will miss you!! Rest In Peace my sister. Everyone please keep her son, father and family in your prayers.”
“The last time I talked with her was Tuesday morning. You never know when it’s going to be the last time you talk or see a dear friend. My heart hurts, but I’m at peace knowing God’s Writer Girl is safe and at home with her husband and our creator, God. I always loved her tag line, “God’s Writer Girl”. Habakkuk 2:2- “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” This scripture was profound to me and the basis of many discussions we shared together. This is and will be my greatest memory. Rest In Peace my dear friend. You accomplished your assignment and God is well pleased!!”
Treva Gordon worked with Culp on multiple occasions when she was doing coverage for CCS Media and Convenient Shopper Magazine. Culp also helped with events for Leading Ladies in 2016, and provided social media for the Treva and Kevin Show Facebook page. “Deborah will greatly be missed.,” Gordon said. “She was one of the hardest working publicists I ever met. She also served as a publicist for my daughter Robyn Gordon and her book “Stop Bullying.” She would refer to Robyn as her niece. There will never be another Deborah “God’s Writer Girl” Culp. Whenever she was needed she was there.”
A final tribute was offered by Kelly Miller Smith Tower Assistant Manager Gail Taylor, who said: “She was always happy when she lived here, and after she moved out she remained very close friends with another resident, Frankie Caldwell. They loved walking together to take the bus, even though Frankie had a car.She loved to see Black women involved with organizations. She was a proud member of the Red Hatters. She was so very delightful!”
Grieving her loss are Leo James, father, and William Culp IV, son, other surviving family members include Frederick Leon Culp, brother; Karen F. Williams, sister; Sharon DuMas-Pugh, sister; Gail D. Homes, aunt; Helen Davis, aunt; W. Deezy Davis, cousin; Barbara Jayne Bolling, cousin; Brente Davis, cousin; Orgmoney Kingkam, grandson; and Cynthia Culp, sister-in-law.
Nashville has lost a gifted and talented writer, and an even better friend and community asset.