Deborah Kirk Kerber, 79, of Broomall, who volunteered at the Melmark School for the mentally disabled for more than 25 years, died of cancer May 11 at home.

Mrs. Kerber graduated from Marple Newtown High School. She was a Bell Telephone operator before her marriage to I. Newton Kerber in 1948.

While raising five children, she was a school bus driver and worked in the cafeteria at Paxon Hollow Middle School in Broomall for several years.

Mrs. Kerber served on the Marple Newtown Fourth of July Committee and was a chaperone at the Marple Recreation Center. She was an active member of Radnor Friends Meeting and the Marine Corps League and Broomall Fire Company Auxiliaries.

In the late 1960s, she began volunteering at the Melmark School in Broomall. She did whatever was needed, her daughter Katharine Wiercinski said, assisting with the school's Girl Scout troop and horse-riding program, helping the gym teacher, and teaching the children to grow flowers and plants in the greenhouse. In 1994, she received a United Way Volunteer of the Year for her service to Melmark. She volunteered at the school until the late 1990s, her daughter said, and continued to stay involved with several of the students. Mrs. Kerber also helped provide patterning therapy for neighbors with handicapped children.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by sons Kerby and Kirk; daughters D. Elaine Parks and Jayne Hadden; 13 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. Her husband died in 2001.

Services are private.

Memorial donations may be made to American Diabetes Association, 1 Plymouth Meeting, Plymouth Meeting, Pa. 19462.