Rena Brunette Brawner Simpkins, 79, of Bryan passed away Thursday January 4, 2018. Her family will receive friends during a visitation from 6 until 8 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at Callaway-Jones Funeral Center, 3001 S College Ave, in Bryan. Funeral services are set for 10:30 am Thursday January 11, at First Baptist Church in Bryan. Interment will be at the Bryan City Cemetery.
Born August 15, 1938, in Montague County, Texas, to John G. and Mary Fay Brawner, Rena grew up in the community of Caps Corner outside of Saint Jo. She enjoyed playing with her siblings. Her chores around the farm were milking the cows and gathering the hen eggs. Some of her favorite interests included cooking, canning, 4-H, fishing and gardening.
In her teen years Rena worked in the cotton fields and cooked for parents and siblings. She attended a one room schoolhouse and worked as a telephone operator, and she worked in the family grocery store. She also enjoyed raccoon hunting with her father. Rena graduated from Saint Jo high school, then attended Jacksonville Baptist Jr. College, and eventually earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. She received her Master’s Degree in Education at Texas A&I University in Kingsville, Texas.
Rena married the love of her life, Wayne Arlen Simpkins 57 years ago, after meeting each other at a friend’s house for dinner. A couple days after the dinner, Wayne saw Rena getting in her car, so he stopped her and asked her for a date that January night. They got married in Rena’s hometown of Saint Jo, Texas at the First Baptist Church in July 1960.
Rena was a member of First Baptist Church in Bryan, the Texas Baptist Men and Wives Retiree Church Builders, Circle of Friends at First Baptist, and Women’s Missionary Union. Reading her Bible daily was very important to Rena, as she always prayed for others including her church family. Wayne and Rena helped build more than 175 churches across Texas and a few out of state. She was the ladies’ coordinator for the Church Builders for three years.
Before retirement, she taught at the Beeville Independent School District for 32 years. She also loved to travel and went somewhere for a month at a time every summer. She traveled to Iceland and Germany, and later to China, her favorite trip, to get her new baby granddaughter, Katie.
Survivors include her loving husband, Wayne Arlen Simpkins; daughters and sons-in-law, Cynthia and Carl Benner, Karen and David Adams; brother, Marion “Cotton” Brawner; grandchildren, Christopher and Caleb Benner, Katie Adams; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her brother, Joe Brawner, her sister, Mary Nell Maloon, and her parents.
For those who desire, in lieu of flowers please consider contributions to Hospice Brazos Valley or the Texas Baptist Men and Wives Retiree Church Builders.
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