Brenda Kaye Barbour
October 02, 1948
December 31, 2021
Brenda Kaye Barbour, 73, died at home in Tucson, Arizona, December 31, 2021. She was born in Bluefield, West Virginia, on October 2, 1948, to Robert Thomas Barbour and Carrie Evon (Welch) Barbour, residents of Abbs Valley, Virginia.
The Barbour family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in the spring of 1951. They moved again to Denver, Colorado, in the spring of 1956, beginning numerous annual adventures across the United States as the family journeyed back to Abbs Valley to spend time with grandparents and relatives during summer break. Thus was born a love of travel and discovery; while acquiring a love for cooking and sewing crafts with her grandmother and cousins. She attended Denver Public Schools, where her growing interest in music and performance were supplemented by private lessons in piano and voice through the University of Denver. Her performance in the “HMS Pinafore” as a fifth grader at Sabin Elementary School began a lifelong career in performance. Brenda was a 1966 graduate of Denver’s Abraham Lincoln High School before attending the School of Music at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she was a member of the University Singers under the direction of Charles A. Byers. After her 1970 graduation with degrees in Music Education and Music Performance, she was employed as an elementary school teacher in the Boulder Public Schools, assigned to Crestview and, then, Heatherwood Elementary Schools. Partnering with Elizabeth Gilpatrick, many adaptations of opera and musicals graced the stage attached to the gymnasium complete with orchestrations performed by students on Orff instruments.
Brenda left the classroom in 1980 to become a stay-at-home Mom for her young sons. She remained active in community theater and choirs as well as providing private voice and piano lessons. Brenda found a musical home as a choir member and soloist under the direction of Dr. Carl Gerbrandt in the Greeley (Colorado) Chorale, and later Herr Peter Leister with the Ökumenische Kantorei der Abteikirche Otterberg, Germany. Multiple Church and Military Chapel affiliations offered opportunities to serve as children’s ministry director, service-accompanist, choir member, children’s choir director and bell-choir director. A highlight of her professional performance career was as soprano soloist in Charles Gounod’s “Mass for St. Cecilia” composed in 1855 and performed before a 1997 sold-out audience in the Otterberg Abbey Church, with musicians from the Pfalztheater, Südwestfunkorchester Kaiserslautern and Otterberg Abbey Choir.
Brenda’s tenure with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Germany began in 1993, returning to her love of teaching elementary music. Her school choirs earned a reputation for excellence and were invited to perform at many official military ceremonies. The many staged productions she created, complete with sets and costumes, afforded an involvement for students and community members alike.
During her free time, Brenda created beautiful and functional pieces through quilting, embroidery, knitting, crochet, applique, crafting, and sewing clothing for herself, family and friends. A favorite activity was planning menus and creating suitable settings, for most any occasion, to celebrate with family and friends important milestones in their lives. Her interest in social issues, cultural studies and literature yielded a sizable library, supplemented by artifacts and wall hangings she found in her travels. The work of Habitat for Humanity motivated her to travel to Malawi, near South Africa, to participate in home building. As part of those travels, she brought books to share and read to children in the local school. She also introduced their local music to include in classroom instruction and school programs. Scouting was a family focus with her sons. Through the Scouting, PTO and PTA, and the roles of room mother, team mom, and event chaperone, Brenda supported and participated in the activities of her three sons: Joshua, Timothy and Ethan.
Brenda’s professional affiliations included: Colorado Music Educators, Colorado Epilepsy Association, La Leche League, Overseas Music Educators Association, Smithsonian Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Habitat for Humanity, National Audubon Society, and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Brenda is preceded in death by her parents, an infant brother, John Aaron Barbour; and an infant sister, Melissa Anne Barbour. She is survived by her brother, Tom, and his wife, Kim, of Greeley, Colorado; her husband, Sonny Bertschinger, of Tucson, Arizona; a son, Joshua Peterson, and his wife, Angela, of Longmont, Colorado; a son, Tim Bertschinger, and his wife, Smruti Desai, of Alexandria, Virginia; and a son, Ethan Bertschinger, his wife, Jordan, and son, Luke, of Warrenton, Virginia.
A memorial service is planned for Tuesday, 11:00 am February 8, 2022 at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 3738 N Old Sabino Canyon Rd, Tucson AZ. The service will be streaming through the Church’s Facebook page and can be accessed at (stalbansaz.org). Streaming begins 15 minutes prior to the service. The service will be recorded and can be accessed through the Church YouTube channel.
In lieu of flowers a donation, in her name, to your favorite charity is suggested.