Manhattan Beach’s Walmer was American Martyrs Church, volleyball matriarch

Debbie Walmer (left) with friends, watching her family play volleyball. Photo courtesy of the Walmer family

Debbie Walmer (left) with friends, watching her family play volleyball. Photo courtesy of the Walmer family

“Last year, I thought the homes on the tour were so fantastic, it could never be duplicated. I actually thought about not doing the tour again – why not go out with a bang? And then this year came along and the tour is going to be just extraordinary. After 40 years, I’ve finally gotten this down,” Debbie Walmer said. The year was 2013. Walmer was talking about the Annual American Martyrs Sophisticated Snoop Home Tour, which she had founded four decades earlier, and directed every year since.

Every year, Walmer threatened to retire. And every year, as the tour date approached, she would again call friends and plead, with desperation in her voice, for help finding five new homes for the upcoming tour. Then, when she had the homes assembled and photographed, and the brochure printed, she’d tell those same friends, with surprise in her voice at her own dumb luck, “These are the best homes we have ever had. There’s one house on the tour, that alone, is worth the tour price.”

Tour tickets were $35 and over the years raised close to $3 million for American Martyrs School.

This year, even without the pandemic, friends would not have received Wallmer’s plea for help finding homes for the tour. In June she was diagnosed with lymphoma. On Oct. 9, she passed away.

As a successful Realtor, Walmer was a natural choice to lead the home tour. But an even more natural role was that of matriarch for three generations of beach volleyball players.

Her husband Barry was a prominent player in beach volleyball’s pioneering days. The prestigious Barry Bob Invitational Beach Volleyball Tournament, founded in 1999 and played at 10th Street in Manhattan Beach, was named after her husband and his playing partner Bob Cleary.

The couple’s son Tim played on the AVP. Grandson Jack earned All CIF honors at Mira Costa last year. Walmer was their greatest cheerleader.

Walmer is survived by her children Tim (and wife Megan), Doug, Kim (and husband Jeff), Marc and Chris (and wife Kashi) and eight grandchildren.

American Martyrs Church will host a memorial Mass on the school’s athletic field at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22. Attendees are asked to register online at, bring a chair or blanket to sit on, wear a mask and maintain a safe social distance. ER



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