Brenda Faye Newsome, affectionately known as “Bren” or “Aunt Bren,” 70 of Pikeville, North Carolina, moved onto Glory and leaves an enduring legacy. In typical fashion, without much fanfare, she left in the early morning of March 17, 2021. Brenda was born on January 9, 1951, in Goldsboro, North Carolina, to the late Bernard Newsome and Mable Beatrice Thompson Newsome. She attended the segregated Norwayne High School in the late ‘60s, graduating near the top of her class, and praised the efforts of her teachers who instilled a perennial love of learning within Brenda, a budding scholar.
The various revolutions of the ‘60s inspired Brenda to embrace her African American heritage and her feminist roots. After graduating from Elizabeth City State University in 1973 with a BA in English and a minor in French, she joined the tail-end of the Great Migration and settled in Anne Arundel County in Maryland, where she landed a job as an English teacher. She later earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland. Earning the moniker, “Gruesome Newsome” from students throughout her nearly three decades of service, Brenda, although diminutive in physical stature, demanded excellence and earned the adulation and praise afforded any top-notch educator. In short, one former student noted that Ms. Newsome was “no joke” in the classroom. In addition to teaching, she developed a passion to serve others while working at the Crofton Convalescent Center, as a nurse’s aid and volunteered for the local Hospice Group, often serving as the principal support system during a family’s time of need. Meanwhile, as the head of a one-parent household, she meticulously raised one boy during the crime-riddled ‘80s and endlessly supported his educational endeavors, employing similar techniques mastered in her wheelhouse. Although oftentimes fatigued, she never missed one of her son’s high school football games and provided continual encouragement and guidance. Once retired, she returned to North Carolina to be closer to family, a long-time goal, where she became a caregiver, cheerleader, and trusted confidant.
In her free time, she enjoyed rooting for her favorite sports teams, fellowship with Evangel Church, online ministries, numerous Gospel artists, or researching passages in the Bible. Furthermore, a good book allowed Brenda’s mind to wander on limitless adventures, with quiet reflection as a prerequisite.
She is survived by one son, eight siblings, and fifteen nieces and nephews. Her son is Juarez; her sisters are Staris, Kay, Marsha, Angela, Sharon and LaVonia; her brothers are Will and Curtis; her nieces and nephews are Bernadette, Chari, Shadonnia, Odettia “Kiki” (Demetrick), Stephen, Brandon, Lela, Malcolm, Jeffrey, Kayla, Kartlon, De’Lon, Jonathan, Evan and Christian. She will be missed by many, including her family, classmates, and friends for whom she was a voice of reason, a sympathetic ear, a pioneering spirit, and a transcendent soul.
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