Holland Barry & Bennett Funeral Home
Holland Barry & Bennett Funeral Home

Brenda Sue Dwinnells

Brenda Sue Dwinnells (65) of Auburn, Illinois passed away peacefully on the afternoon of May 20th, 2024. She was surrounded by loved ones for days prior and was hand in hand with her daughter as she passed. Cremation rites accorded by Holland, Barry, & Bennett Funeral Home in Lincoln. Brenda succumbed to a long-fought and difficult battle with Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.) and the complications it left her with over the last 35 years. She left this world knowing that her children and grandchildren loved her deeply. She was comforted through her last moments to her final rest by her daughter and present staff at Mason City Nursing Home.

Brenda Sue was fun-loving and found joy in the world wherever she was. Whether it was her love for sports like baseball/softball and volleyball in high school or simply hanging around with friends and family, she always had a way of adding a spark to any situation. She was a unique personality that radiated positivity and knew how to brighten a dull day with her quips, snarky comments, or jovial retorts. Her little additions were just right to make the moments a little more special. Her laughter was genuine and highly contagious; being near her joy would invite others to join in. She was a “silly person” and in jest, she would playfully bestow that title on others as well. Brenda loved going to concerts with her friends and family and enjoyed the festivities and escapades that went along with them. She loved being in the company of others even if only sitting in a car driving around and listening to music. Despite not being the best singer, she would often turn up the radio and start belting out the classics and thumb drumming with the best of them. She liked going out to eat, especially for ice cream, milkshakes (chocolate was her favorite), or to possibly go to a Chinese buffet where she could enjoy all the good stuff in one sitting. She partied, loved, and truly lived life to the fullest.

If you gave her some time, Brenda would soon begin sharing many of her life’s adventures. She was a natural storyteller and would reminisce of the good times at every chance. She was a person that even if you hadn’t spoken to in a while, she could jump back into a conversation with you like it was yesterday. Despite her physical and mental limitations worsening over the last several years, she was still young in mind and strong in heart, never willing to give up.

Brenda was not one to back away from a challenge or try something new or different. She had many experiences traveling across the United States like moving out to Arizona after high school and vacationing to the lake of the Ozarks to ride 4 wheelers and camp. She always spoke highly of graduating early and traveling to London on her senior trip. She made sure to make time to have a few vodka gimlets while she was there, but shhh… she never said that.

Brenda did many things for work in her lifetime from helping create floral arrangements and displays at Flowerama at the mall, from working as a waitress at the Lamplighter near Lake Springfield, selling real estate as an agent for Century 21, to working in the payroll department for the state where she would eventually retire into disability. She had a passion for sales, going to thrift stores looking for antiques or bargains, and going to or organizing and having garage sales. She would always find something neat or of value and always had a mind for things that could make more money being resold.

Taking after her mother, Brenda too had a green thumb. She went on to study horticulture in college. She was able to keep plants alive and thriving for years with what seemed like little effort. She kept an array of plants throughout her home; above on hooks, behind couches, on tables and racks, and in front of windows and doors. She would make apple butter from fruit of the apples trees out back and planted a pear tree, flowers, and large yearly gardens. She taught her children names of plants growing up and how they served purpose. She was very proud of her large aloe plant from which she would be quick to break off a leaf to aid when someone was burned.

Brenda grew up Catholic and would pray and taught her children to love God and Jesus. She was a good mother who did her very best despite divorce and a crippling disease. She may not have always had the skills to cope with dealing with everything life was throwing her way but she did her best to always push her children to go after what they wanted and was always there willing to listen and help in any way she could.

Brenda was a beacon of resilience with a mindset for perseverance. She always said that “things would get better with time” and that “we could do anything we put our mind to if we tried hard enough”. She instilled that if we failed, we should try, and try again. She was patient and strong but never the quiet type. She spoke her mind good and bad alike. If she liked you, she’d let you know. If she didn’t like something she would be sure you knew all about it. She was honest even at times brutally so. She was unafraid and unashamed to be exactly who she was. She never hid herself and how she felt during the good days or bad. She did not get a fair hand in this life but she gave it a fair shake and made the best of it. She was a fighter and her strong will and presence left lasting effects on those that knew her well. Before she passed, Brenda dreamed of once again running. May she rest in peace and once again run with the wind in heaven.

Brenda was preceded in death by her loving father William Franklin Robey, beloved mother Donna Jean Yakus (Fedor), and cherished stepfather Edward A. Fedor, and her ex-husband Phillip Van Dwinnells. She is survived in legacy by; her brother Ed Fedor (Rendy); daughter DeShea Swaar (Ryan) and son Van Dwinnells (Rachael); and a host of loving nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren and longtime friends. Donations in her memory may be made to help fund her final wishes which include a celebration of life and purchasing a plaque and memorial urn to join her family at her final resting place. Condolences may be expressed to the family via mail or through email at [email protected].

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