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1940 Brenda 2023

Brenda McGrath

January 17, 1940 — January 15, 2023

Brenda McGrath entered into the Kingdom of Heaven on January 15, 2023 at the age of 82.

Born January 17, 1940 in Golborne, England, Brenda was the daughter of Sydney and Betty Farrell. As a child growing up during World War II, Brenda faced many challenges but always persevered. Her wartime upbringing also formed her extraordinary personality in to one of resilience, focus, and ambition. A self made woman before it was en vogue, Brenda was determined to create a life beyond her humble beginnings.

With her innate sense of style, love of fashion, and entrepreneurial spirit, Brenda's earliest business venture was ownership of a children's boutique in her hometown. In 1969, while on a Mediterranean cruise, Brenda met her future husband, Joseph, in Palma, Mallorca. After marrying in England and honeymooning in Paris, Brenda embarked on her American adventure
by returning with Joe to his hometown of Chicago. Brenda’s first job in the United States was at the Marshall Field’s on State Street. Following a lengthy career in retail purchasing and management, Brenda obtained her commercial real estate broker’s license in 1988. After relocating to Wausau, Brenda shifted to residential real estate, and in addition to selling, was broker owner of Re/Max Excel.

Brenda’s most exceptional role, however, was that of mother and grandmother. Her daughters were the light of her life and she was committed to giving them all the love, experiences, and opportunities that she lacked in her childhood. From Friday night fish fry’s to vacations around the world, fun was always had and many treasured memories made. Brenda delighted in being Nana to her three granddaughters and showered them with kindness, love, and affection.

A natural athlete, Brenda had an appreciation for all sports. In her youth she was an accomplished player of field hockey, darts, table tennis, and billiards. She was also an avid golfer and skilled tennis player. Brenda had a passion for politics and enjoyed volunteering on campaigns and as a chief inspector on election days. She was a voracious reader, proficient crossworder, and never met a puzzle she couldn't complete. Brenda had unforgettable mischievous side to her personality and could always be counted on to ensure that any social gathering was fun filled and memorable. Brenda was unwavering in her faith and attended The Village Church in Kronenwetter.

Brenda is survived by her daughters Catherine (Andrew Hanz) and Diana (Jason) Erwin; granddaughters Harper, Daphne, and Valerie Erwin; sister Lynn (Tom) Hopkins; nephews Simon and Andrew Hewitt; niece Zoë Hopkins; and stepchildren Rick, Elizabeth, Nancy, and Patricia. In passing, Brenda is reunited with her two infant daughters, Christina and Victoria.

A celebration of Brenda’s life will be held Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at Brainard Funeral Home, Wausau Chapel, 522 Adams Street, Wausau, Wisconsin. Visitation will be from 4 PM - 7 PM. A private celebration of life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hope Pregnancy Resource Center, Aspirius Hospice House, or any charity of choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Brenda McGrath, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

4:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)

Brainard Funeral Home and Cremation Center- Wausau Chapel

522 Adams Street, Wausau, WI 54403

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