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The Life Story of Brenda Henry
Saturday, January 19, 1957, in Indianapolis IN Brenda Joyce Henry was born the third child of six children to her parents Roddie and Emma Bea Weatherford – Henry.
Brenda was born and raised in a loving, Christian family. From birth to adulthood she was brought, taught and nurtured at the College Ave. (Oasis of Hope) Baptist Church. It was truly a family affair. She accepted Christ and was baptized early in her life. Brenda and her family were active and involved in the life and ministries of the church. Brenda Joyce and her siblings attended Sunday School and worship, participated in children and youth activities, ushered went to VBS and sang in the choir. These activities were foundational in her Christian beliefs and spiritual development. The Emma Bea look- alike, attended a weekly community children’s bible class as well as a required home family bible study.
As a young adult Brenda was a youth counselor, active in the music ministry and worked on the first pictorial church directory. Not only did she give of her time and talent, but she also modeled her parents and became a consistent tither. She later united with the Eastern Star Baptist Church.
Her educational journey began at Indianapolis Public School Riverside #44. The honor roll student excelled in academics, learned to play the violin and discovered a love and talent for sewing. Brenda, her brother Ronnie and the eighth- grade class of 1971 were a part of the IPS desegregation order. They were bussed from the northwest side of the city to IPS Emmerich Manual High School on the southside. The racial tension and long ride on the city bus did not deter Brenda from achieving. She maintained high moral and academic standards, participated in choir, orchestra and took 6 classes in clothing. The bright- eyed achiever never missed a day of class. She learned to make, design and do alterations in her clothing classes. The young seamstress made some of her own clothing, did alterations and made outfits for some of her church choir members. She even made her sister Sharon’s prom dress. The 1975 graduate earned a diploma, a perfect attendance award and received a Wallace Murray scholarship from her dad’s place of employment.
The second of Roddie and Emma’s three daughters continued her educational pursuits earning an Associate Degree in Fashion Retail from Vincennes University in 1977. In 1979 Brenda earned another Associate Degree in Marketing Technology from IVY Tech Indianapolis. She also attended Ball State University.
Determined and diligent to succeed, Brenda encountered numerous job experiences which included retail, substitute teaching and working at WGRT radio station in marketing. In 1991, she was hired by the Indiana State Police as a clerical assistance and advanced to data entry processor for crash records.
The hard worker retired in 2008 on disability.
The year 2000 challenged the faith and resolve of the loving aunt of 6 nephews and 1 niece. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis Brenda went from living in her own apartment and driving her new car to assistant living and finally to a nursing home facility. As the MS progressed, and other health issues developed Brenda kept going and never complained about her illness. She remained strong in her faith.
She attended church in her motorized wheelchair and worked in the bulletin ministry. When she was unable to attend church, she watched and listened to Dr. Charles Stanley faithfully and subscribed to In Touch Ministry materials. Brenda would watch the ESC services on tv. When the broadcast ended, she listened to Pastor Johnson on the radio. B J learned to stream , continued to participate in the ministry and remained a cheerful giver. Brenda shared her faith with others in the nursing home. She also praised and thanked God that she endured no pain.
“For with God nothing is impossible” was her favorite scripture. No longer having mobility due to the MS Brenda used Indy Go/ Open Door to transport her to the movies, the store, family gatherings, plays and church. Spirited in personality Brenda let her family know her likes and dislikes. She liked watching videos and the nightly news, Law and Order and old family shows. Brenda was an avid Pacer fan, often calling family to inform them that the game was on and to discuss the plays. If an Afro-centric program was airing ,she would call to inform family. Not a holiday or birthday went by that Brenda did not call with a greeting to friends and family. Using her flip phone Brenda would call her siblings if she needed anything or to express her dislikes.
Brenda’s beautiful smile, love for her family and strong resolve were character traits from her mother.
Her strength and strong resolve were evident as Brenda endured surgeries, skin breakdowns, countless doctor appointments and two major ICU hospital visits. In 2017 she had a near death experience with sepsis shock caused by kidney stone blockage. After spending weeks in the hospital and rehab, she was able to return home just days before her 60th birthday. She had a celebration with 60 cards from friends and loved ones, balloons, ice cream and a birthday cupcake just for her. Two of her special guests were Mrs. Jimmie Luton and Mrs. Naomi Jiles both over 90 yr of age at the time. Love and gratefulness were the greatest gifts in her room that day.
May 29, 2021, 4 years later, Brenda was rushed to IU Methodist Hospital in critical condition with the same medical issue. After nearly 4 weeks in ICU Brenda,” kept looking up “and peacefully went to her predestined appointment with God on June16, 2021. Her 21- year MS venture was over. Her loving family was dedicated, devoted, supportive and strong advocates for her during the good and most challenging times of her MS journey.
Praising God for her peaceful transition are her sisters Alfredia Henry-Parrish, Sharon Johnson (Jeffrey); brothers Ronnie Henry (Juanita) Sumter, SC and Stanley Henry (Angela); 2 aunts, 6 nephews. 1 niece , several cousins and many friends. Her brother Phillip David Henry , her parents Roddie and Emma B. Henry made their predestined appointments with God years before Brenda. To God be the Glory!
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