8 Apr 1960 - 12 Dec 2011
Brenda had verve for living. Her death December 12, 2011 in Jaipur, India was unexpected and unexplained. She'd been traveling, as she so loved to do, for 10 days throughout India with her partner and her dear friends, seeing extraordinary sites. Brenda was in her element embracing every moment of the experience.
We celebrate her life, even as we mourn her death. Brenda's circle was wide and strong touching so many through her journey. She lived to "make the world a better place," with joy, in song, with passion for all that is good and right. For Brenda the glass was never "half full" but instead overflowing. She saw, and believed the best in people, found strength and peace being in the out-of-doors, always stepped forward, seldom looked back. She relished new experiences, was devoted to justice, was fiercely committed to what she believed, welcomed challenges, and rejoiced in the adventure of living. She had good friends, who cherished her smile, her laugh, her voice, her song.
Brenda was born in San Diego, CA, and lived in Westhampton, MA at her death.
She was proud to be a Girl Scout professional, serving communities in Spokane, Washington, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Toledo, Ohio and Central/Western Massachusetts in her 27 year career.
Brenda was committed to learning and bettering herself; she was a voracious reader, she had a Masters in Nonprofit Management, she learned from the world around her.
Brenda also was a volunteer, serving in leadership roles with The Association of Girl Scout Executive Staff, Holyoke Rows, Northampton Youth and Community Rowing, The Women’s Partnership, The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, The Human Services Forum, Step-Up Springfield, The American Camping Association, the Independence Squares, and The Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence.
Brenda traveled extensively, loving the adventure, the new experiences, and the chance to learn more about the peoples and places of our world. India, China, Italy (3 times!), Ireland, Barcelona, Paris, London were amongst her passport stamp destinations. She also loved to explore St. John, USVI, had cruised Alaska and the Caribbean, had hiked much of the Appalachian Trail, and had ridden her bicycle across the United State and back!
Brenda camped throughout her life, first with her family and her Girl Scout Troop, then at Girl Scout Camps, and as an adult each summer with friends, finding strength and renewal in being in the woods, near the water, around a campfire.
Brenda was a rower, first in her youth with ZLAC in CA, and later with multiple clubs in Northampton, MA. She rowed in the Head of the Charles a number of times, and often talked with pride about rowing in the Nationals in Philadelphia as a teen in 1976.
And Brenda loved square dancing. She started dancing as a way to meet people after seeing a demo square at a Pride event - it seemed better than hanging out at a bar! She served the Independence Squares as a board member and as Fly-In co-chair. She was a solid C1 dancer and was trying to teach herself C2.
Brenda was deeply loved and is desperately missed by so many including her spouse and partner of 21 years, Laurie Estes (Westhampton, MA), her sisters and best friends, Karen and Valerie Wolfe (both of Portland, OR), her father Ray Wolfe (of Long Beach, CA), her large and beloved extended family, the Girl Scout family to whom she devoted so much, her community at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence about whom she was passionate, her rowing teammates at Northampton Youth and Community Rowing with whom she shared many early mornings and long rows, Square Dance friends from around he country, friends from her youth in San Diego, CA, and her many dear friends and professional colleagues throughout the Pioneer Valley and around the country with whom she shared, celebrated and experienced all that life had to offer.