Brenda Brewington, an ecclesiastical administrator at St. Peter's Episcopal Church of Ellicott City who had taught earlier in its preschool, died Thursday in her office in a double shooting that also claimed a pastor's life. She was 59.
"Brenda had a big, infectious laugh and was the loudest cheerleader at any track meet in Howard County and a few other counties as well," said her sister-in-law, Lisa Brewington of Centerville, Va. "She was a world-class mom, to her own boys and to so many other young people."
She was born Brenda Davis in Norfolk, Va. Her father was a member of the Cherokee nation and a handyman. Her mother, Lily May Thomas, was a homemaker.
She was a 1970 graduate of Robert E. Peary High School in Montgomery County and studied nutrition at the University of Maryland, College Park.
She met her future husband, Will Brewington, at a social event at the Bottom Line in Washington after a rugby match. They married in 1987.
Mrs. Brewington had been an administrative assistant at the B.F. Saul Mortgage Co. for several years before moving to Ellicott City. She initially ran an informal child day center at her home.
"She helped children who needed before- and after-school care," her husband said.
She also worked in the Worthington Elementary School lunchroom. Family members said she had a love of animals and walked dogs for a service called Pet Nanny in Ellicott City.
Because her initials were BB, friends called her B Twice.
In 2004, Mrs. Brewington began working with 4-year-olds at St. Peter's Church school near her home.
"She had a big capacity for caring. I don't think you could meet her and not love her," said Robin Fleegal, the preschool's director, who lives in Eldersburg. "If a child was not as social as the rest of the class, she would bring the child out, bring them into play with the other children. She wanted everyone to have a sense of belonging."
Members of her church said that when an administrative assistant position opened in the church office, Mrs. Brewington accepted the post. She worked mornings at the school until last year and spent her afternoons at the parish office.
In her role, she compiled the parish bulletins and answered phones. She also worked closely with those who sought financial help or food from the congregation. She ushered people into its food pantry for staples. She was authorized to provide monetary assistance from the church's discretionary fund. She worked with those seeking help to avoid electric and gas utility cutoffs.
"She took the phone calls from the people in need throughout the county," said the Rev. Kirk Kubicek, co-rector of St. Peter's, who lives in West Friendship. "She treated everyone with equal grace, respect and dignity."
He said that she developed relationships with the people she assisted and often spoke to them at length. She had a calming way that helped them get through their difficulties.
"People would call and ask, 'Where's Brenda?'" said Mr. Kubicek. "She was also fearless in saying that we can help you only so often."
He said many appreciated her time and help, and occasionally would leave her a small token, such as a can of soda.
"Brenda was also faithful in supporting the work of the co-rectors, attending more so to our spiritual needs than just the everyday tasks of running a parish. A woman of a profound and deep faith, she was in every real sense a pastor to the pastors of St. Peter's," he said.
Mrs. Brewington's love of animals extended to her two pet Samoyeds. She would typically set peanuts out for squirrels and fed birds. A gardener, she kept house plants and annuals. She was also a cook and often prepared jerk chicken, baked ziti and shepherd's pie for family meals.
She supported her sons at their schools. A moment of silence for her was observed at the Howard County track and field championships Monday.
Mrs. Brewington was an active member of the Greater Baltimore Church of Christ and worked in its children's ministry.
"She brought the biblical applications she learned though her home church to people she touched," her husband said.
A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at St. John's Episcopal Church, 9120 Frederick Road, Ellicott City. A visitation precedes for an hour.
In addition to her husband of nearly 25 years, survivors include two sons, Christopher Edward Brewington and Tyler Russell Brewington, both of Ellicott City.