The Untold Truth of Deborah Shiling, the first wife of Bernie Sanders


Deborah Shiling in other words (Deborah Shiling Brass) is a former buyer at the Hunger Mountain Coop. However, she came to the media as the first woman of Bernie Sanders, the veteran senator. The former couple were married for over a year and a half before divorcing.

Bernie, the former presidential candidate, has kept the details of his first marriage a secret from the media for so long. Apparently, Deborah also leads a quiet life.

Well, in this article, we are going to talk in detail about every aspect of Deborah’s professional and personal life, including her current marital relationship and much more!


Key takeaways about Deborah Shiling

  • Deborah was born in 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • As of 2023, she is 79 years old.
  • Deborah Shiling spent 20 years of her life in Hunger Mountain Coop.
  • She is married to Bernie Sanders.
  • Mother of a child with her husband.
  • She has a net worth of $300,000.

Where is Deborah Shiling from? Her age and early life

Deborah, the first wife of Bernie Sanders, is from Baltimore, Maryland. Deborah, who is three years younger than her ex-husband, was born in 1944. As for her age, Shiling is 79 years old. She spent most of her early life in Baltimore with her family.

Talking about her nationality, Deborah is an American and belongs to the white ethnicity.

First and last name Deborah Shiling
year of birth 1944
Age 79
Birthplace Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Profession Entrepreneur
Height 5 feet, 4 inches
Ethnicity White
Net value $300,000

Her father was the doctor for lung diseases

Deborah’s father’s name was Moses Shiling. He was the chief physician of lung diseases at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. However, the information about her mother is still behind the closed door.

Professional Career: Two Decades Spent in the ‘Hunger Mountain Coop’

According to Daily mail onlineShiling previously worked for the Hunger Mountain Coop, a 20,000-square-foot community-owned natural food cooperative in Montpelier, Vermont. She worked as a buyer for the company for about twenty years.

Deborah Shiling used to work at Hunger Mountain Coop.
Deborah Shiling is a former buyer at Hunger Mountain Coop.
Source: DailyMail

Speaking of the well-known supermarket, it started as a pre-order service in the late 1960s. At the moment the Hunger Mountain Coop has approximately 170 employees and has more than 500 local vendors and 8,000 member-owners.

Deborah Shiling is Bernie Sanders’ first wife: their marriage in detail

The former flames exchanged their vows on September 16, 1964. They hosted their wedding ceremony in Deborah’s parents’ backyard in Baltimore. Shortly after their marriage, Deborah and her then-husband Bernie moved to a small hamlet called Middlesex nestled outside Vermont’s capital, Montpelier.

According to the public record, they paid $2,500 for the property on 85 acres of land. In a book published in 2010, The Jews of Capitol Hill, Kurt F. Stone wrote in his publication,

“Sanders, his first wife and their son Levi, lived without electricity or running water in a converted sugar house.”

But in 2016, Deborah revealed in an exclusive interview with Daily mail online That Levi was not born then. She also told that they had enough water.

They divorced after eighteen months of marriage

Deborah and Bernie initially shared a strong bond and also led a happy one marital relationship for more than a year. Nevertheless, it did not last long and they divorced in 1966, 18 months after their marriage.

Sources reported that the now-exes had an amicable divorce. Shiling is still a staunch supporter of her ex-husband. She once said,

“I don’t really want to say much. All I can say is that I believe in and strongly support Bernie Sanders.”

Details about their first meeting

A year before their wedding, Deborah met Bernie while they were both at the University of Chicago. Together they volunteered in the Israeli kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim. Sanders studied psychology at university. He was quite into protests against racially segregated housing on campus at the time.

Like her husband, Deborah was also a civil rights activist and involved in various social justice issues. She joined the Congress of Race Equality in 1960 and supported numerous sit-ins in Baltimore segregated restaurants.

Deborah Shiling remarried after divorce? Relationship with her second husband

While Deborah has remained elusive about her love life following her divorce from her first husband, tabloids have discovered that Deborah is married to a new man. And the reported man is Bob Messing. The two married in 1967, a year after her divorce from Sanders. Shiling often describes her second husband as ‘a poet slash logger slash philosopher’.

The two have been leading a blissful relationship since their marriage without showing any signs of conflict.

Shiling is the mother of one child

Deborah Shiling gave birth to her daughter in the early 1970s with her second husband Bob. However, the couple has not spoken about their only child nor has she revealed her name.

They now live in a house on a steep hill less than a mile from Montpelier.

Similarly, talking about the love life of her ex-husband Bernie Sanders, the famous politician is married to Jane O’Meara for more than three decades. The two have no children of their own, but Jane has three children heather, CarinaAnd David from her previous relationship.

Bernie has been married to Jane since 1988.
Bernie with his second wife.
Source: USA Today

By the way, Sanders has a biological child, a son Levi Sandersborn in 1969 with his ex-girlfriend Susan Campbell Mott.

Is Deborah Shiling still alive?

Due to her quiet lifestyle, there are no recent updates on what Deborah is doing to this day. That’s why many people also started to wonder if Sanders’ ex-wife is still alive or dead?

However, nothing could be said with assertion as of now.

What is her net worth?

According to CelebSuburb, Deborah Shiling’s net worth is $300,000. She made her fortune mainly through her long-standing partnership with Hunger Mountain Coop.