Brenda Davis Strong, 75, of Helena, Montana passed away April 16, 2022.
Born June 10, 1946 to Evelyn Bates Davis -her #1 indiscretion in Lynchburg, Virginia. Brenda was placed in the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home in July 1956 where she met her number one guy for all time, Jerry Strong. During their first encounter, she threatened to deck him. By age 12, they were already a couple. She graduated Andrew Lewis High School in Salem, Virginia in 1964 before entering the Lynchburg General Hospital School of Nursing. Because Uncle Sam called up Jerry, they moved up their wedding date and were married in June of 1967 at the Children’s Home. While Jerry went to bootcamp, Brenda graduated from her nursing program in August 1967. Her first nursing job was at Community Hospital in Roanoke, Virginia. In 1969, she began her Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) career; first at the Salem Virginia VA Center until 1972. After a brief visit to friends in Montana, the two were seduced by the Big Sky Country and embarked on a cross country journey with a 10-day old baby to settle in Helena, Montana. From 1972 to 1974, she worked at the Ft. Harrison VA Center. Fast forward, her husband decided to play student and work on his PhD resulting in their move to Tennessee. Brenda worked at Mountain Home VA Center, Johnson City, TN, in sight of the university Jerry was attending until 1976. She eventually decided it was time for all of them to go home, so back to Montana they went. From July 1976 until retiring in June 2001, Brenda worked at Ft. Harrison VA Center. After retirement, she was informed by the doctors in the outpatient clinical service that it took 6 people to replace her. She thought that “retirement” meant sitting on a porch, shelling peas like her grandma but Jerry had different plans. Jerry found people for Brenda to take care of and rehabilitate all over the U.S., from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
Jerry and Brenda have four children. While raising these children and working full-time as a registered nurse, Brenda still managed to bake her own bread, can her own vegetables, bake dozens of pies, sew clothing for her kids, butcher her own meat, and churn her own butter. She eventually came to her senses and found out that there are stores for that. Meanwhile, Jerry wanting to play in the Montana wilderness became a professional outfitter which meant he had to leave his white streetwalking mule, known as Queenie, under Brenda’s supervision. Lee Johnson, Jerry’s mule stringer, taught Brenda the correct vernacular to get the mule’s attention. Queenie became Brenda’s archnemesis, discovering new and inventive ways to get out of the pasture. This led to Brenda developing a whole other vocabulary not fit to print in polite society.
If you ever met Brenda, you knew she could not abide male chauvinist pigs. Those individuals exercising these tendencies in the medical profession at the beginning and throughout her professional career learned quickly not to try her. Her number one priority was patient care. She and her partner in crime at the Ft. Harrison VA, Judy Lowe, made sure that their patients received complete, holistic care because their patients deserved to experience the highest quality nursing standards that they would want their own loved ones to receive. Once she finally began to slow down from taking care of everyone else, she was able to start focusing on her love of books and gardening.
Yardwork became a priority with Brenda becoming a professional lawnmower/caretaker. Everyone that knew her was amazed by how much she could accomplish in less time than it took others, in her 60s and through her 70s. Brenda was the most talented human being and hardest worker that Jerry had ever been around. Anyone that knows Jerry Strong and how hard he pushes himself physically, knows what a major compliment this is.
Brenda is survived by her husband Jerry Strong, their four children Misty (Doug), Justin (Theresa), Christy (Jon), and Katie in addition to 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. A celebration of life is planned from 2:00pm to 8:00pm on June 18, 2022, at the Strong's Pavilion.
Having been reared in the loving and stable environment of the Children’s home and supported throughout her pursuit of her education, Brenda felt it was her responsibility to seek out opportunities to invest back into these types of local and national community organizations, to help out folks in similar situations. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to a local charity of your choice.
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