Brenda Hazel Marie Dabney, a well-loved member of the Albuquerque community, passed away on April 22, 2023, at the age of 80. She was the first-born child to John Franklin Ballou (deceased), and Virginia Felicia Glover Ballou (deceased), on March 29,1943, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Brenda was a devoted wife and mother who will be deeply missed by her husband of 54 years, Joseph Franklin Dabney Jr., and her children, Darlene Marie Rencher, Angela Charlene Dabney, Joseph Franklin Dabney III, and daughter-in-law, Elisha Karen Dabney. Brenda is survived by her grandsons, Joseph Franklin Dabney IV, John Franklin Rencher, Chace Aaron Dabney, Joel Xavier Dabney, Jordan Cole Dabney, Levi Champ Dabney, Isaiah Jude Roybal, and great-grandson Javen Elijah Rencher. Brenda's brothers, Patrick Adam Ballou and William James Ballou and his wife, SaWanna Ballou; her niece, Nicole Chante Ballou Jones and her husband Leon Jones; her great-niece, Aiesha Jasmine Jones; her great-nephew, Robert E. Jones; her nephew, Stephen Turman, and brother-in-law David Eric Dabney; and his wife, Paula Dabney; nephews, David Adam Dabney, Ryan Kirkland Dabney, Shane Christian Dabney and numerous uncles, aunts, cousins and friends who also mourn her passing.
Brenda's memories of her life in New Mexico were filled with joy and happiness, particularly from the social gatherings and holiday parties with close family and friends. She had a compassionate and supportive nature, always ready to listen, offer advice, and encourage her loved ones through life’s ups and downs. Her unwavering devotion to her children and grandchildren brought immense joy to her life, and she never missed an opportunity to attend their recitals, games, and events. Her encouragement and support instilled a sense of confidence in them, helping them pursue their dreams. One of Brenda's most admirable traits was her ability to make people feel valued and cherished. Whether through a heartfelt conversation, a home-cooked meal, or a simple gesture, she had a remarkable way of making everyone feel special. Her kindness and generosity impacted countless lives, and her legacy will continue to be felt for years to come.
Brenda attended Harwood Girls School for her elementary years, graduating from St. Mary’s High School, where she was active in school affairs on all levels. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande where she graduated in the summer of 1965. In 1977, Brenda earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Teaching from the University of New Mexico.
Brenda was a beloved Kindergarten and Cognitive Language Development teacher who dedicated her life to teaching. She served as an elementary educator within the Albuquerque Public School (APS) system for 36 years. She taught first grade and then kindergarten becoming one of the first three Title I kindergarten teachers in APS in the late 1960s. Brenda also taught in the APS Summer Head-start program and the Migrant Worker Summer Program. She spent one year as a daycare and preschool teacher trainer for the University of New Mexico's IRAD/Model Cities program.
Being professionally active, she became involved in the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization that advocates for young children and their families. She worked in NAEYC for some 19 years serving on their boards at all levels, local, state, and national. Brenda ended her teaching career as a Title I reading teacher and an Early Balanced Literacy teacher trainer, retiring from Mary Ann Binford Elementary School in 2004. Brenda loved children, and children loved her. Brenda had a passion for teaching and touched countless young lives throughout her career. Brenda was an active community member and was dedicated to uplifting and supporting the African American community. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a Public Service Sorority, for 54 years. Brenda co-founded and co-sponsored the local Delta Youth Group and the Delta Teen Lift, which took local African American teens to visit historically Black college campuses and encouraged them to seek higher education as an avenue for personal development. Through the Delta Youth Group, she helped to sponsor the first public Kwanzaa celebration in Albuquerque. At the suggestion of the National Black Catholic Congress, the African American Catholic Community of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe sponsored one each year. Brenda was a Home Circle Club Legacy member and the Educational Chair responsible for helping students pursue a college education through the Home Circle scholarship program.
Brenda was very proud of her heritage, which included being the decedent of Buffalo Soldier John Collins. She came from a mixed background of Hispanic and African American roots and embraced all aspects of her culture. In addition, Brenda was also a co-curator for New Mexico Black History Museum exhibits, which have been featured in several New Mexico and national museums. She was passionate about Black History and wanted African Americans to be proud of their heritage.
Brenda was a devout Christian and had an avid prayer life. She was a member of the Catholic Church, Holy Rosary Parish, and the Catholic Daughters of America. Brenda co-founded the African American Catholic Community (AACC) of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, which supports and integrates African American culture within the Catholic Church. She served as the AACC coordinator and was a member of its gospel choir. She also served on the Father Rollins Lambert Scholarship Committee which has helped African American elementary students receive a Catholic education. In 2012 Brenda was honored as a recipient of the first National Black Catholic Congress Servant of Christ Award, nominated by Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan, Archdiocese of Santa Fe.
Brenda was a remarkable individual who left a lasting impact on the lives of those who knew her. As a teacher, community leader, and devoted family member, she embodied kindness, generosity, and love. Her memory will always be cherished, and she will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.
Rest in peace, Brenda, and may your soul find eternal peace in God's kingdom.
Funeral services will be held on:
Friday, May 5, 2023, at St. Joseph on the Rio Grande Catholic Church.
The schedule is as follows:
10:45 am Viewing
11:30 am Rosary
12:15 pm Funeral Service Mass
1:30 pm Reception/Repast following on-site at the church at the Nazareth Center
Address: 5901 St Joseph Dr NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120
Brenda will be buried at a later date at the Santa Fe National Cemetery
In lieu of flowers the family asked that donations be given to the Rawlings Lambert
Scholarship Fund sponsored by the African American Catholic Community.
Checks made to: Archdiocese of Santa Fe
Memo Line: AACC Scholarship
The Catholic Center Office, 4000 Saint Joseph's Place, NW Albuquerque, NM 87120-1741
Donate online: http://archdiocesesantafegiving.org/aacc