29 September 2008
Brenda Fowler worked in the Department of Biochemistry for 21 years and left an enduring legacy, as Dr David Yates, former administrator in the Department, remembers.
In 1989 secretarial staff underwent regrading, and Brenda’s job description was properly revised to that of Office Manager, reflecting her wider role within the Department. But no Blue Book could begin to do justice to Brenda’s real contribution: networking between students, researchers and staff, enabling the Administrator and Head of Department to work with the groundswell of opinion.
In 1991, Brenda took over responsibility for the administration of Admissions, dealing with new students and ‘mothering’ those coming for interviews; in 1992 she was instrumental in helping design and plan a new departmental office in the Lillian Hawker wing. She retired in 1996 with Malcolm to enjoy their retirement together.
Outside Biochemistry, Brenda enjoyed an energetic and full social life in Winscombe. Both she and Malcolm were keen tennis players, and Brenda was a leading figure in local amateur dramatics. Malcolm was also heavily involved with the local scouts. When they celebrated their Ruby wedding anniversary in Winscombe village hall the cake was iced half with a tennis court, half with a stage and players.
After their retirement, Brenda and Malcolm kept in touch with the Department, returning for both celebrations and funerals, and lived life to the full with their friends and families. It was with great sadness that we learned that Brenda had mouth cancer, and succumbed to secondaries despite treatment. In typical fashion, Brenda organised her own funeral to be a time of rejoicing and not grieving. The church was filled with sunflowers, and mourners told to wear colours, not black.
Our sympathies go to Malcolm, daughters Ann and Kim and families on their loss, but Brenda’s legacy will live on in a bright and committed department office, a caring environment and memories of laughter. She will be remembered with great fondness by all who knew her.