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Debra Hopkins is being remembered for her own professional achievements, and friends say she was easing into long-term retirement from Northern Illinois University – a retirement which has been cut tragically short.

The 62-year-old Hopkins died Monday morning, in a traffic crash near Cherry Valley; she retired this past year from NIU, where she had taught in the school’s accounting program for 27 years.

Hopkins spent 21 of those years as director of the university’s certified public accounting review; she had given seminars in accounting on four continents, and helped give NIU several top 10 national finishes on the uniform CPA exam.

The Illinois CPA Society honored her in 2013 with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

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