Brenda A. Heath

Brenda A. Heath

MEDUSA — Brenda A. Heath died peacefully on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. She was 52.

“She’ll be missed by a lot of people,” said Gerald “Chris” Heath, her husband 0f nearly 32 years.

Mrs. Heath was born on March 15, 1968, in Catskill to Lorrine Winn and the late Charles E. Lee. She was raised in Rensselaerville and attended Greenville Central Schools before graduating from Berne-Knox-Westerlo School.

Mr. and Mrs. Heath met in 1981, with Mr. Heath’s father working for Mrs. Heath’s step-father, leading to a family friendship and the couple’s marriage in 1989, after three years of dating. 

Mr. Heath said their first date was at the movies. “I was driving this old ’72 [Plymouth] Fury,” Mr. Heath said. “Big boat. That was our first date. I think it was at Crossgates … We ate at the mall, I think, and went to the movies afterwards.”

Mrs. Heath’s foremost characteristics were “her smile and her awesome personality,” Mr. Heath said. “I mean, everyone she met — there weren’t very many people she didn’t like. Very personable, easy to talk to. Always pretty much positive. Yeah, they’d take that [in] right away.”

Mrs. Heath enjoyed canning, her family wrote in a tribute, making jellies, gardening, crafting, and going camping. She liked riding Harleys and driving her Mustang; she had a fondness for classic cars. 

Together, the couple traveled once a year, Mr. Heath said, usually in the spring, close to their anniversary. “She loved vacationing,” he said, listing Florida, Hawaii, and Nashville, Tennessee as select destinations.

Hands-on and frugal, Mrs. Heath built her life around her family and the Medusa Volunteer Fire Company. “She loved our grandkids,” Mr. Heath said. “They were the apple of her eye.”

She was the fire company’s treasurer and taught everyone how to stretch a dollar and pinch a penny.

Mr. Heath said her fiscal sense was a natural skill, one that she developed in part while raising three children with him, foregoing her work in banking until their youngest daughter was 3 years old, when she continued working full-time.

“She taught me how to do it [too], thank God,” Mr. Heath said, “because I never knew how to take care of the bills until a couple of years ago when I started taking care of them for her.”

Mr. Heath recalled an argument the couple had about money four years ago where, apparently at the end of her hope, Mrs. Heath “took the bill and said ‘You think you’re so smart, here. You do it.’ So I got a few weeks in and I was like, ‘Wow, this sucks. This is hard. So then she said ‘OK, this is what you gotta do.’” 

“When we got together,” Mr. Heath said, “I was a spend-all-the-money-you-have type of guy. I worked and everything [but], when we decided to get our first place, I had no money. I had, like, 50 bucks in my account. But she had three or four grand in the bank. 

“I was the one who liked to spend money,” Mr. Heath went on, “so she kind of taught me throughout the years, like, ‘You can’t do that.’ And we built a wonderful life together.”

****

Brenda A. Heath is survived by her beloved husband, Gerald “Chris” Heath; her children Christopher, and his wife, Maggie; Nicholas, and his wife, Samantha; and Courtney Heath, and her husband, Ethan.

Mrs. Heath is also survived by her grandchildren, Gabriel, Nadia, Kaidynce, CJ, and Emma; her mother, Lorrine Winn Helmedach; her sister, Patricia Lee-Denton and her husband, Frank; her sister Diane Davis, and her husband, Robert; Ann Berryann, and her husband, Charles; Lorinda Burnham and her husband, Wayne; her sister Samantha Lee and her husband, Jay; her brother, Charles Lee, Jr and his wife, Kayla; her step-sister, Tina Sisson and her husband, Stan; and her step-sister Dawn Utter; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and extended family. 

A funeral service was held on Monday, Oct. 26, at the Medusa firehouse, followed by burial in the Medusa Cemetery.

Memorial messages may be posted at altamontenterprise.com/milestones.

Memorial contributions may be made to either St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Post Office Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142 or to the Medusa Volunteer Fire Company, 28 Route 351, Medusa, NY 12120. 

— Noah Zweifel

 

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