Deborah Vickery House grew up in Kennecott, Alaska with her sister, Jane Vickery Wilson, when the Kennecott mine and mill were in operation. The family moved there in 1918 when she was two years old, and lived there until 1931. Their father was the cost accountant for the town, which means he determined how much ore per ton it cost the mine to produce. When they left the mine, the family moved to Seattle so the girls could finish school. After growing up in Kennecott, Deborah found it difficult to adjust to a large school. She went to college at Western Washington University and then taught first and second grade in Washington for 30 years.