Deanna was born in Calgary in 1940. When she was a child she formed the habit of drawing things, and this inclination to produce art continued for the rest of her life. She had a nomadic childhood, living in Whitehorse, then in Vancouver, and then in several small towns in Saskatchewan. The family eventually settled in Medicine Hat, where she matriculated at the Medicine Hat High School. She then entered the School of Nursing at the Medicine Hat Hospital and she became a Registered Nurse in 1960. That same year she married her husband Donald, a member of the Armed Forces who had just graduated from the Royal Military College. They then began their own nomadic existence, which is normal for military families. Along the way, whenever she could, Deanna worked as a nurse, including stints in the Emergency ward at the Montfort hospital in Ottawa, and at the National Defence Medical Centre and elsewhere.
The new family first moved to Saskatoon, where Don obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering and their first child was born-another Donald. The family then moved to Ottawa, where Boyd, their second son, was born. Their next transfer took the family to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where they lived on the beach and sailed and danced for three years, all at government expense. While at Eglin Deanna took classes in art, beginning with work in charcoal and progressing to oil painting. The classes were given by Emil Hotzhauer, a well-respected American artist.
In 1967 the family was transferred from Florida to Cold Lake, which that year experienced the coldest winter in its history. Among other things, Deanna learned that when it reaches fifty below, trees often explode in front of you. While at Cold Lake, she participated in an outreach art instruction program provided by the University of Alberta. When the family was posted back to Ottawa, she enrolled in a course in sculpture at Algonquin College and she discovered that she had a strong affinity for working in clay. Ever since then she has worked continuously in this medium.
Deanna and Donald retired together and moved to acreage near Sedgewick, Alberta. Their nearest neighbours were a large and boisterous family of Great Horned Owls, who liked to hang out in the barn. The countryside all around was full of deserted farmsteads and they evoked a strong emotional response in Deanna. It was during this period that she developed a new method of depicting these buildings with clay and paint as wood-mounted relief sculptures. For over thirty years, she continued to sculpt these buildings, although many years ago her subject matter expanded to include small prairie mammals, owls and landscapes-all depicted in her unique clay sculptures, in relief form.
In 1981, after her son Donald had joined the Canadian Forces (Army), the family settled in Medicine Hat, where Deanna continued to develop her clay sculpture techniques. In 1982 Boyd followed the family tradition and he also joined the Canadian Forces (Air Force). At about this time Deanna’s art work began to flourish and her sales, foreign and domestic, expanded rapidly. Her work has won many awards, and she has had several major exhibitions of her artwork, including a large, one-year exhibition which travelled to venues in Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. For ten years after that, her sculptures were presented and sold at the Calgary Stampede, first in the Artisan’s Gallery and then in the prestigious Artist’s Gallery.
Deanna's unique wood-mounted clay sculptures continued to focus on prairie subjects until the time of her death. They are to be found in the Alberta Art Foundation's Collection and the Medicine Hat Art Gallery, and in several private collections in the Canadian prairie region and elsewhere in the world.