Brenda Jean (Peak) Newman-Reif heard the words, “Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant,” as she went to be with the Lord on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. She was 72.
She was born Jan. 11, 1949, in McCloud, Calif., to Elvin Lyle and Reva Jean Peak.
Brenda married the love of her life, Melvin G. Newman, in April 1973. Together they served the Lord faithfully for many years at Heartland Baptist Church in Wichita. Brenda taught in the Christian school there. She impacted the lives of her students who to this day have fond memories of her being strict but loving, along with instilling in them a great love for reading.
Inspired by her mother, Reva Jean, she learned many skills to bless others with the work of her hands. She had a green thumb and loved to garden with Melvin and shared many of the veggies with friends and family. Her fingers were those of a master sewer, able to expertly craft fine works that she also lovingly gave away. Maker of many quilts, yet she never kept one for her bed. Her last quilt was for her doctor’s baby boy, following in her momma’s footsteps, who also was making her last quilt before she passed away for Brenda’s grandson, Austin.
Later in life, she married Dale Reif and assisted him as he worked with his hands. She was his eyes as he made incredible woodwork clocks, rolling pins and other various items for his small business, Unseen Creations. As with Melvin, Brenda also studied the Word of God with Dale and went to church to worship her savior Jesus Christ.
She loved to host BBQs and swim parties when she was living in Wichita. All the nieces and nephews remember the famous horse tank swims and then later the big in-ground pool that was the highlight of their summer.
She had such a great love for all of God’s creatures such as her fish, birds and especially her dogs. Often, she would be found in her backyard throwing the ball for “Rascal,” “Spanky,” “Maddie,” “Andrew-Michael” and “Katie.” Any pet of Brenda’s was treated like royalty.
Family was ever so important to Brenda, she loved to help plan family gatherings at her house for the holidays where the home was decorated throughout with some of her favorite scriptures offering encouragement to all who would see and read them. One of the highlights at Christmas time was playing Christmas bingo, the prank gift being a giant cheese head wrapped in a beautiful package to trick you!
She was very proud of her daughter Cathy, and the best gift she gave Brenda were her three grandchildren, Austin, Tiffany and Ronnie. They brought a twinkle to her eyes when she talked of their times together. Austin and Grandma made the best salsa around and sometimes got it a little too hot! Tiffany shared many hours sewing with Grandma and they made a paper dress together for a school project where she won first prize. Ronnie and Grandma shared the love of bowling and she was very proud of his high score. Great-grandson Cooper was the apple of her eye, she supplied him with Thomas the Train engines that almost filled her living room and of course, she had to make him a Thomas the Train quilt! The family gatherings will look very different now, but each family member will carry with them cherished memories of Brenda in their hearts for the rest of their lives.
Oh, that everyone could only have a mother, a sister, a grandmother, an aunt, a friend such as Brenda! She will be greatly missed. May her legacy live on through the ones she loved and the ones that loved her.
Brenda is survived by her daughter, Cathy McNanny; sister, Lyla McClure; grandchildren Austin, Tiffany and Ronnie; great-grandson, Cooper and many other family members and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Melvin Newman; husband, Dale Reif; and sister, Donna Graebner.
Funeral service will be at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 14, at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton.
Visitation will be from 5-9 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 13, at Petersen Funeral Home. The family will receive friends from 6-7 p.m., at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to Caring Hands Humane Society or Meridian Baptist Church, in care of the funeral home.