Lifelong Grays Harbor resident Brenda Jean Dell, 48 years of age, died Tuesday June 10, 2014, in Twin Falls, Idaho, after a ten year courageous and hard-fought battle with cancer.
Brenda entered this world on Nov. 1, 1965, in Aberdeen. Her parents, Edward J. Dell Sr. And Yvonne Woodson Dell, were blessed with this surprise package and she quickly became her large family’s sweetheart.
Brenda grew up playing with her nieces and nephews, climbing trees, forging trails, and crossing new bodies of water. A special world existed down the hill and out back of her parents’ home and endless adventures awaited every weekend when the family gathered.
Brenda loved going to Schafer State Park to camp every Labor Day when the Dell clan would gather for a family reunion. She enjoyed singing with her nieces all around the park to other campers delight or chagrin, and she had many good times floating down the Satsop River. Brenda was the glue that brought together many friends and family and she had friends from all around the globe.
Brenda graduated from Aberdeen High School in 1984 and later attended Grays Harbor College where she earned her Associate’s degree and graduated from Evergreen State College with a Bachelor of Arts in 2009. Brenda really thrived on learning new things and felt her life was greatly enriched by her education.
Brenda married Russell Shippey and although they later divorced, they were blessed to have their daughter Meka who was the great love of Brenda’s life, both as a daughter and best friend. Brenda was so pleased when Meka found an amazing life partner and husband, Nate McHenry.
Brenda was an incredibly hard worker. She worked for many years at Saint Martin’s College with the International Student Exchange Program and went on to work at Grays Harbor College as a Program Coordinator for 20 plus years, and also worked many second jobs throughout the years to earn extra money so that she was able to do the things she wanted for Meka and herself. She loved meeting new people, working with students, and passing on life lessons to her younger relatives.
Brenda’s love of travel started early during a two week road trip with big sister Anita and family, where many adventures and some memorable misadventures took place. She grew up going down the Oregon coast with her mom and dad, and as an adult she frequently vacationed in some of her favorite places such as Las Vegas, Disneyland, and Orlando. She travelled all over the world, including two extended trips to Europe, first on a solo trip and later with Meka where they went to Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece. Brenda knew if she showed Meka the world she could share not only places she loved but also pass on that love to Meka. She made it to South Africa where she went on an 8 day safari and spent time with a special friend she had met in Europe.
Brenda loved trying and experiencing new things. She also loved the simple things in life - homemade mac and cheese, watching movies, reading, chocolate chip cookie dough, and Mexican food. She was the life of the party wherever she went and made the most out of every moment. She walked for 24 hours at the Relay for Life TWICE in honor of her parents and others who had battled cancer, and raised thousands of dollars in the last weeks of her life doing her own fundraising event. She also played a major part in saving the life of a man who went into cardiac arrest at the college and was later honored for her heroism by the City of Aberdeen. Brenda was fearless in her approach to life and she led by the philosophy - to make the most out of every moment you have with the life you have been given. Brenda’s life in years may have seemed all too short, but the quality of those years was great.
Brenda was preceded in death by her parents and brother Edward J. Dell Jr. She is survived by her daughter Meka McHenry and son in law Nate of Meridian, Idaho, siblings Gerald (Bonnie) Dell of Satsop, Richard (Karen) Dell of Satsop, Deanna (Jim) Gragg of Central Park, Barbara Rasmus of Monroe, Anita (Jim) Criel of Central Park, Larry (Colleen) Dell of Central Park, and Timothy Dell of Aberdeen, along with numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Please join us for a celebration of Brenda’s life on Saturday, June 21st at one o’clock at the Grays Harbor College HUB. If you wish to make a memorial donation, please do so to GHC Scholarship Fund in Memory of Brenda Dell or to a charity of your choice.