Miss Brenda Fhuere has always been one to stay true to her roots.
From a young age, Brenda has been one rugged, independent, religious woman who knows how to get things done while also making family the number one priority. Her three children and five grandchildren can attest to how much she cares about them, as well as the stories she tells of having multiple paper routes growing up to make her own money.
“She is an incredibly self-sufficient individualist, not ever wanting to be dependent on anything or anyone for her needs,” Brenda’s oldest son Brett said. “She is also selfless, almost to a fault. She went back to college to get her degree after her children left home, eventually becoming an ordained Episcopal priest.”
One thing that has always come easy to Brenda is her ability to love her family first and foremost. As the middle child of seven siblings, Brenda quickly adopted the idea of putting family first while also learning to fend for herself, and this counterbalance is something that not many people are able to find to this day.
“She is inspirational,” Brenda’s lone daughter Janiel said. “I admire her for always trying to become a better person through emotional growth. She grew up very poor, but always had the unconditional love of her mother, The Original Grandma B. She has tried to follow in her mother’s footsteps and has done a fine job!”
Brenda had a wonderful mother of her own to learn from, and her kids will all tell you the job she has done since stepping into motherhood has been more than acceptable, and they hope she will be a role model for their own children just like she has been for them.
From getting her college degree at 52 – where she not only became the resident director, but took part in all activities, including Jell-O wrestling – to taking her kids and grandkids on adventures through the great outdoors, Brenda has been such a great matriarch for her family. She loves to love, and she is someone who makes sure that the people around her are always taken care of, showing a selflessness unlike any other.
“She is fiercely loyal to the people she is closest to,” her youngest son Patrick said. “She loves to volunteer her time to help people in need. She looks for, and finds, the good in people and the positives in situations. She is a forgiving person that puts negatives in the past and looks forward to the future.”
Brenda is someone who is always going to find the silver lining, no matter the situation, and she is willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. She wants what is best for others, and she is going to do whatever it takes to make sure everyone around her knows they are loved.
“She is the embodiment of selfless love,” Brett said. “She’ll give everything and expect very little or nothing in return. She’ll never give up or stop trying to achieve what’s meaningful to her as evidenced by taking paper routes, going back to college and eventually overcoming the trauma of two brain surgeries.”
Brett said Brenda even spends a lot of time volunteering with the veterans groups… Talk about amazing.
Beyond just her selfless personality, Brenda is also someone who is so full of life. And with that, she is so full of life lessons. Her kids all remember so many of the things she has taught them over the years, and they are things that they will not soon forget.
Janiel said the life lessons she learned from her mom came through phrases she has used:
“Number 1: If it is not morally wrong or physically hurting somebody, then don’t worry about it.
Number 2: If your room is dirty, close the door so others don’t have to look at it.
Number 3: Play and have fun when you can, the housework can wait (unless dad is headed home!)
Number 4: In reference to someone being upset with you – They will either get over it or they will die pissed.”
These are some valuable lessons we can all learn a thing or two from, and it is easy to see why Brenda’s children all speak so highly of everything dealing with their mom. She helped mold them into the adults they are today, and they hope that she is proud of who they have become.
“There are several things I have learned from Mom,” Patrick said. “She has taught us, from an early age, to be individuals, to be confident in our decisions and ourselves. She has taught us that being a good person, being nice and helping others is not a weakness, but a strength. I have learned that not agreeing is okay and thinking differently helps us learn. I have learned that life is more about relationships than it is about relations.”
These relationships are something that Brenda has always prioritized, as the impact she has made on people has not been limited to just her family.
“She is known as Grandma B to my son and all of his friends,” Janiel said. “This nickname is quite an honor as it was the name that we called her mother, who is her greatest inspiration.”
Being looked up to as a grandmotherly figure by your grandkids’ friends is not something to take lightly, and that is something Brenda will remember for the rest of her life.
On the other hand, Brett said there are many things that he and his siblings will never forget about their mom, from their camping and backpacking trips – including Brett’s first camping trip with his oldest daughter – to the bungee jumping story Brenda tells. They will also always remember their mother as someone who cooked and ate a rat… and survived to tell the story.
They are glad that they get to celebrate such a momentous birthday – 80 years – with such a special lady, and they hope to celebrate many more milestone birthdays with their mom.
“Mom is a giving and generous person,” Patrick said. “She enjoys helping people and doing things for others. I believe one of the highlights of her week is spending time with the veterans group that she volunteers with.”
That’s just a glimpse of who Brenda is, and it is very easy to see why her kids and grandchildren love and admire her as much as they do. She is such an amazing woman who is inspiring to many, and Brett, Patrick and Janiel are proud to call Brenda their mom.
“Thanks for being exactly who you are and raising me with the skills necessary to cope with the everyday issues in life, and to ultimately be successful in whatever I attempt,” Brett said. “I have a wonderful wife and kids and a beautiful home, and I owe my mom for much of it. I love you mom!”