When you are on the radio every day, you meet a lot of people. Some of them like you and some of them don't. Oh well, it goes with the territory.

Whether they like you or don't, they tend to have a lot of questions for you. One of the most frequently asked questions from WBSM listeners has been, "Who is 'Dirty Deb,' and what is she like?"

"Dirty" Deb was a real person. She worked hard. The kind of physical labor most associate with men. "Dirty Deb" worked with big trucks and heavy equipment. She shunned television and wasn't interested in the mall, the latest fashions, or which Hollywood celebrity was clawing for the public's attention. She was a gentle soul with a wonderful sense of humor and was full of compassion. Deb had old school values and a lot of common sense.

She passed away over the weekend at the age of 65.

When I first returned to WBSM after about a 15-year hiatus, "Dirty" Deb was among the first to welcome me. I wasn't quite sure how to take her at first or whether she was just looking to have a "yuck" at my expense. After a few tense calls, we began to settle in with each other. I began looking forward to her daily calls. It's been a little while since I've heard her voice and I've missed her.

Any talk radio host will tell you that certain callers are legendary. Their timing is impeccable and their audience appeal is off the charts. Deb was one of those callers.

In responding to the news of Deb's passing this morning, another caller who goes by the name of "Fall River" posted on Facebook, "I would love to hear her comments in her tough, but yet sweet way about her. She was a real hot ticket. She is going to be missed." That sums it up.

I never met "Dirty" Deb but spoke to her almost daily. Early on, she would drive her truck up to the studio window and I'd catch her peering in through the glass to get a look-see at what I was all about. She would send me trinkets in the mail or drop off food. Whenever something a bit different or odd appeared at the station, it was usually delivered by "Dirty" Deb – like the big Indian statute that stands in the studio.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

"Dirty" Deb was a kind soul; a little odd, but that's what made her so special. It breaks my heart that I will never hear that voice booming into my headphones again.

Rest easy, my friend. You were special.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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