10/30/2013 6:00:00 AM Colomun: 'Femfootballfanophile' was a colorful character
Jerry Jackson Courier columnist
Her smile and demeanor were, in a word, captivating. I'm referring here to Brenda Dabbs, who passed away in Prescott Oct. 19 at the too-early age of 69.
Brenda was the subject of a column I wrote back in March 2007 when I called her (with tongue firmly embedded in cheek) a "femfootballfanophile." I went on to explain that "she's the lady who took umbrage recently (come back here this very instant with that umbrage, Brenda!) when she responded to my Feb. 27 column in which I contended that men, on a percentage basis, tend to know more, and care more deeply, about sports.
"There's a common-thread angle here," I wrote, "in that Brenda grew up in West Texas ('where football is KING!' she reminds) and where, like me, she and her three brothers attended Texas Tech. 'Of course in my day,' she notes, 'girls played only basketball and volleyball, since football was a boys' kingdom. However, during my senior year at Southland High School, the captain and quarterback of the Southland Eagles football team taught me all the plays which were available to be called in the huddle.' Consequently, 'I attribute my love and understanding for football to those long, intense training sessions during study hall!'
"Southland?" I mused. "Yeah, it's a stone's throw from Lubbock on Highway 84 between Slaton and Post, but you won't find it on many maps because of its lack of size. In fact, Brenda represented one-tenth of her high school graduating class!"
Incidentally, Brenda's innateness when it comes to sports rubbed off on her husband of 29 years, David Hartke. "Before I met her, I wasn't a sports enthusiast," he admits, but "Brenda took quick action on that. She had season tickets to both UCLA football and basketball games. Later when we moved to Durango and Prescott we both took a big interest in women's NCAA basketball and attended the women's final four for seven of the last eight years. Being from Dallas, Brenda became a huge Cowboy fan, but then when we moved to Colorado she had some torn allegiances when it came to the Cowboys and Broncos."
In the "lesser sports" category, Brenda excelled in frogging. "One of the most memorable things we did together was to go to Parker and the Colorado River, where we had a second home right on the river," David notes. "Brenda took right on to fishing. And with two other very good friends, we would go frogging. I used to kid her that I wouldn't marry her until she proved herself a good frogger. With a small aluminum boat, we would go around the canals with Brenda at the helm and me steering. When we spotted a frog, Brenda would gig it. She became an expert at this."
Brenda, a native of Lubbock, obtained her BA degree in education from Texas Tech and became "a career teacher who liked to teach 4th through 6th grade," according to David. "Her first job was in the Dallas area, but then she moved to LA and worked at the UCLA lab school. She loved her job and loved to help guide children. One time when we were visiting my sister for Christmas, my sister's two children were there. Brenda suggested that we give the two kids some money so they could go pick out some presents for children who were less fortunate than we were. I like to think that taught those kids the importance of thinking of others."
Following their 1984 marriage, she and David resided in Los Angeles until 1988, when they relocated to Durango. They lived there for 14 years, after which they moved to Prescott in 2002. And Brenda's compassionate nature was in evidence wherever they resided. "In Durango she volunteered for Hospice and other community activities," David said, and "while she was here in Prescott she volunteered with an elderly care group, People Who Care, doing shopping for her "neighbors." She also volunteered at the Highland Center, a science and ecological education organization" and "she spent a lot of time serving with the local Democratic Party."
All who were privileged to know her will miss Brenda's radiant smile and infectious outgoingness. She was truly a special person who touched many lives.
A memorial service for Brenda will take place 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Hassayampa Inn in downtown Prescott.
Contact the columnist at email@example.com.