Born Sept. 12, 1958 – Called to eternal rest Sept. 8, 2020
Sheila Faye McNatt became a Brenning in 1991. From that moment on, she and her daughter Karen welcomed John and his two children, Keri and Erik, into the family.
Sheila always had a soft-spot for lost dogs and pound puppies. She also loved kids, even mouthy ones. Maybe especially mouthy ones. She was proud of her work as a licensed physical therapy assistant, checking in with her patients years after her last therapy session with them. She talked lovingly of those that she cared for and – in true PT style – occasionally bullied back into shape.
She talked about the people that she worked with in the same way, men and women who made the hard work a little bit easier. She formed an indelible sisterhood with so many of them as well as others from outside her work circle, aunties to her kids, and people that she always knew she could count on. She loved her friend-family as dearly as she loved her own-family.
Even living far from Alabama, her southern roots and kin were always close to heart, especially through the stories that her parents Essie and Clarence (or Gramma and Papa McNatt) shared. Gramma Mac’s home cooked recipes kept the family as close as the stories did. Her daughter kept the traditions alive, cookin’ up cornbread and black-eyed peas for New Year’s every year.
Her sister Judy (Bagrowski) and brother James were always close to her, too, and the three of them never stopped affectionately picking on one another, always with good humor. She loved her extended family, too – aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and brothers-and-sisters-in-law all held a special place in her heart – but the joys of her life were her two grandchildren, Brynn and Reese. In retirement, spoiling those two girls with princess dresses, ponies, and anything sparkly was her favorite pastime. She loved traveling and looked forward to road trips with her husband in his upcoming retirement.
Sheila was a fighter. She fought to raise her little girl as a single mom before her marriage to John. She fought her way through college and her licensure while working and raising a family, teaching all of her kids by example that nothing is out of reach and it is never too late to try. She fought sarcoidosis and toughed it out through a kidney transplant. She fought breast cancer and wrestled it into remission. After many years, she fought as her donated kidney broke down, too, and fought like hell through a series of strokes. Each of these fights was fueled by her boundless passion.
She had a passion for baking, delighting everyone she knew with tasty treats for birthdays and holidays. She delighted us with her voice, too, a sultry alto that brought blues, rock, and Motown to life through her passion. She was a passionate woman of faith, too, and she helped others in many ways, serving on the church council of St. James Lutheran. She volunteered for the Children’s Rights Council and the Bedford High School Lacrosse and Band Boosters.
We will miss so very much about her. Her sense of humor and her great laugh, her generosity and tender heart, her hugs and no-nonsense advice. Rest easy, Sheila Faye. Your joy, love, and passion will live on in our hearts.
She is survived by her husband: John; children: Karen Moeller, Keri (James) Griffin, and Erik Brenning; grandchildren: Brynn and Reese Moeller; sister: Judy (David) Bagrowski, and brother James McNatt. She was preceded in death by her parents.
A private family service will be observed. Due to current restrictions on size of gatherings, no public service will be held. The family plans to welcome friends to a celebration of Sheila’s life at a later date once restrictions have eased.
Condolences for the family can be sent to 1486 Graham Rd. Temperance, MI 48182. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Victory Center of Toledo and American Kidney Fund.