So many of us looked forward to hearing a daily call from "Dirty Deb," guaranteed to amuse us with her unvarnished, open-and-shut musings about whatever we were talking about.

Her wit, burlesque and wisecracks cut through what she once called the "ear rape" that we've become accustomed to in these times of disharmony. Speaking of musicality, she had her "dirty paws" all over modifying a news-talk format with her customary musical requests.

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

Listeners at first were somewhat stunned to hear the name "Dirty Deb." We'd often explain to listeners that her near-famous moniker wasn't from anything X-rated; rather she worked her hands hard in the dirt, dust and grime of the excavation and trucking businesses she owned.

Courtesy Deb Arney
Courtesy Deb Arney

While her on-air persona hooked radio audiences here and elsewhere, we got to know and love her personally. At first, the staff would probe and question the contents of packages she'd either send through the mail or drop off at the radio station's door. She'd send babushkas, silks, ponchos, trinkets, shoes, statues, stamps, Ritz sandwich crackers with peanut butter, leather vests and $2 scratch tickets.

One time, she called me exuberant that she hit for $250,000 and wanted me to verify it. When I told her that she misunderstood the code, she had me go to the local lottery office to make sure! She was certain she was a winner. And she was, in many ways.

She was a giver and a handy person. "Dabs," the name she'd use answering the phone, put up with absolutely no BS or stretching of the truth. She lived in a kind of self-made seclusion, in an undisturbed area with plenty of foxes and deer that visited her regularly.

We will genuinely miss Dirty Deb's spontaneity, authenticity, her improv for life, and affectionately her customary sign-off of "82 degrees, Rochester!"

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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