Brenda was born Brenda Kay Richards in Danville Illinois. She attended the First Church of Christ in Danville. She spent considerable time at her grandfather’s farm where she developed an aptitude for horse handling from her grandfather and from experience. Brenda graduated from Oakwood High School and went on to attend the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. There she met her future husband John Creighton. Brenda moved to Southern California, working and living in Long Beach. At the time, John was working in Brea California. Brenda and John were married in 1977 in Batestown Illinois and settled into their first home in La Habra, California. Somehow Brenda failed to mention to John that she would have a lifelong passion for horses. Brenda was then working as a bank teller in Whittier and attending Fullerton State College. Brenda and John attended La Habra United Methodist church and worked as youth counselors and Sunday school teachers.
In 1978 Brenda and John moved to Maryland where John had accepted a different position. Living in Arbutus, Brenda soon became a volunteer with the deaf community in Baltimore and proceeded to learn sign language, leading to her becoming a certified sign language interpreter. At the time Brenda and John were providing shelter foster care for Baltimore County, so they shared their home with troubled teens that resulted in many lasting relationships with the youths. Brenda and John attended Arbutus Methodist church where Brenda was a youth leader and taught Sunday School.
In 1981, Katherine Marie, their first daughter was born. Daughter Jessica Lee, arrived in 1983, and daughter Lydia Jane, followed in 1984. During her first pregnancy Brenda was diagnosed with lupus and was advised to not have more children. At this point Brenda was working regularly as a sign language interpreter and medical advocate for the deaf.
In 1985 the Creightons moved to Columbia, Maryland where they attended Grace Community Church, being active in teaching Sunday School. When Katherine was in first grade, Brenda and John decided to homeschool their children. Brenda taught Katherine, Jessica, and Lydia all the way until they entered college. Katherine majored in linguistics, and went on to live in Shanghai and Sydney, using her language skills. Jessica majored in journalism, followed by copy editing at major newspapers, entering the Peace Corps, and later pursuing a career in the Federal government. Lydia received a masters degree in education and is at present a learning specialist and Orton-Gillingham tutor.
During their time in Columbia, Brenda rekindled her love of horses. She boarded horses at farms and taught riding lessons as well as teaching her daughters. She took on horse training assignments. Brenda developed programs for home schoolers like “Hands on Horse” to give children exposure to horses. She was also involved in 4-H horse programs. In 2000, this led to Brenda and John moving to Baltimore County to an old farm on 30 acres of property. There Brenda was able to school horses and give equestrian lessons to children. Some of her students participated in horse shows with some of them attaining Grand Champion status. Many of her students are now successful adults and keep in communication with the Creightons. Brenda was active in BRAHA (Blue Ridge Arabian Horse Association) and served on the board. She also was a certified instructor for CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association.)
Extended use of steroids to defend against the effects of lupus resulted in Brenda requiring multiple surgeries for her joints, tendons, and bones; eventually chronic kidney disease and congestive heart issues. Her physical weakness required her to scale back her equine activities to safer adventures. This led her to become an expert in poultry. Learning how to raise and maintain chickens included becoming the superintendent in the poultry barn at the Howard County Fair. She continued in sharing her resources and knowledge by developing programs like “Rent a Rabbit”, and poultry incubation projects for teachers and homeschoolers so that they could learn by doing. Finding niche markets in free range chicken eggs, chickens, ducks, and duck eggs resulted in a business for Offutt Ridge Farm with a thriving supply and demand. She had contacts at the University of Maryland and sought out professionals to research pathology issues with poultry. Chicken fanciers in the area would seek out “the chicken lady of Granite” if they had questions about their birds.
Brenda had always written creatively, and after moving to Granite, Brenda began contributing regular essays to the Greater Patapsco Community Association (GPCA) monthly newsletter. Readers referred to Brenda as “the scribe of rural Granite.” She was well known in the area, and John had to get used to being known as “Brenda Creighton’s husband.”
Brenda always had a love for craft projects and entered a significant numbers of items in the county fair in sewing and craft areas. She specifically developed knowledge and talent in stencil painting on virtually any object including wood, metal, and glass. Her grandmother did this and passed on her stencils to Brenda. Brenda collected stencils and was continuing to hunt them down and get them from eBay into recent days.
In September 2020 Brenda went into the hospital for emergency surgery and later came out into home hospice. There Brenda peacefully passed away with neighbors and friends around her, and being surrounded by the farm and the animals that she loved.
Leaving to be with her Lord on November 4, 2020 Brenda is survived by her husband of 43 years, John. She is also survived by her daughters Katherine Creighton Crook, husband Mark, and grandsons Eli and Noah. Also her daughter Jessica Creighton, and her daughter Lydia Byers and husband Russell, and grandsons Cyrus and Evander. Also her brother Von Richards and sister Karen Pruitt.
Memorial services will held at a future date. The Jeffrey N. Zumbrun Funeral Home, 6028 Sykesville Road, Eldersburg, MD is assisting the family with memorial arrangements.
Online condolences may be made at www.jnzumbrunfuneralhome.com
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