Nancy August 26th, 2020

I met Brenda when I was a newly-hired professor at University of South Florida in fall 1981. I was the only woman in the department so the wives of the faculty were especially important to me. Brenda was incredibly busy with a young daughter and teaching at King High and all of her other friends and activities. Still she was incredibly kind. At the time, she seemed much older than me--a decade difference seemed more significant at age 30 than it does now--and she was more reserved than I was. But as I got to know Brenda and to become real friends over the years, I discovered how funny, witty and wise she was. And she was still incredibly kind. After Steven Lawson and I left Florida for North Carolina and then New Jersey, we stayed in touch with Brenda and Kelly even as other old friendships faded. We visited on our way to spend a month in Sanibel and they visited us there for relaxing days on the beach, taking walks, eating seafood and reminiscing. And when we retired to St. Petersburg in 2018, we had the joy of spending much more time with Brenda and Kelly. I was amazed at her range of activities and all the old friends and new she gathered around her. The time we spent together the last two years seem even more precious now. And it was wonderful to see the joy she felt in continuing to teach and write through Ollie. We spent a lot of time reminiscing and a lot of time laughing, and she spent so little time complaining about, or even talking about, her health issues that it was easy to believe that we had many many more years together. Fortunately she lit up the world in ways that last, and I hope she would be happy that when I think of her, the first thought is of her making some witty remark, waiting a heartbeat to make sure we'd gotten the joke, and then laughing. (Nancy Hewitt)