Lompoc and Santa Barbara County lost a treasured friend when Brenda Mary French, 83, passed away July 27, 2019 in Lompoc, California. Brenda was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1935 to Edward Wilson French and Mary Rose Hughes French.
Early in Brenda's childhood, her family moved from New York City to Albany, where her Father took the position of director of the Albany Conservatory of Music. Brenda attended elementary and middle school at St. Mary's Catholic School and high school at the Vincentian Institute, where she was the editor of the school's literary magazine and worked on the school paper. She was a stand-out in English and writing.
Brenda attended SUNY New Paltz, because it was one of the state's premiere art schools. She graduated in 1957, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She went to work for Averill Park High School, in a community outside of Albany as an Art teacher, where she taught for 10 years and helped run the theatre program, putting on musicals.
In 1968 she bought an orange Gremlin and drove to Lompoc, California for a job teaching at Cabrillo High School. Her degree enabled her to teach many subjects and she was asked to teach English. Art classes were added and after the pottery kiln on campus was completed, she was the one who fired it up for pottery projects. Brenda loved teaching and experiencing the growth and opening minds of her students, especially in creative writing. She is an admired and respected teacher who gave great advice and guidance throughout her 29 years teaching at CHS.
Brenda was creative, respected, generous and passionate about life as well as an artist, English and Art teacher, and an advocate of arts and culture throughout Santa Barbara County. She was a former Santa Barbara Arts Council Commissioner and active member of many community organizations including the Lompoc Valley Arts Council, Lompoc Music Association, Empty Bowls, Lompoc Valley Democratic Club, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Lompoc Museum, California Teachers Association – Retired. She drove to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to read for books to be recorded for the Blind.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Mary French and her sister, Joan French.
There will be a Celebration of Life on Saturday, August 10, 2019 at 11:00 am held at the Lompoc Elks Lodge. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lompoc Valley Arts Council, PO Box 2011, Lompoc, CA 93438 or Viva Volunteers, 133 North D Street, Lompoc, CA 93436.