Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Tansi Smoke Signals

June 25, 2014

Tansi bids a bittersweet farewell to Brenda Toodle

CROSSVILLE — Brenda Toodle has made quite an impact on Lake Tansi in her nearly two decades of being a resident. Before her move back to Michigan, her many friends held a farewell reception on May 28 at the Thunderbird to send their best wishes with her.

While at Tansi, Brenda Toodle avidly volunteered and supported her beloved community. She was a member of the Lake Tansi Women’s Club, FCE Club president, taught water aerobics, and was the president of the Lake Tansi Hospice Auxiliary which, subsequently, Toodle served on the Board of Directors of the Hospice of Cumberland County.

“I’ve been busy since I got here,” said Toodle, smiling. Ruby Babcock put the event together to celebrate her good friend and recognize Toodle for all of her selfless service to the Lake Tansi Community.  Friends, neighbors and all those who benefitted just from knowing this extraordinarily lovely lady came together with a potluck style buffet to help in the celebration with hugs all around and visiting and chatting.

Davis Babcock offered the blessing for the food after first blessing Brenda Toodle on her journey by saying, “We are thankful for the life that makes a difference, thankful for Brenda.”

Ken Taylor, director of the Hospice of Cumberland County, spoke about Brenda Toodle’s unwavering fortitude and giving heart, as well as her many contributions to the organization before presenting her with a plaque thanking her for her many years of service to Hospice of Cumberland County. Toodle teared up during her reply to Taylor’s kind words and said, “I’m not moving home. Because, this is my home. I’ve got lots of beds, so I’ll be back to visit.” 

“Where’s my beds?” Toodle asked. And as her many friends raised their hands, she exclaimed, “There they are!”

It was an afternoon of reminiscing, hugs, appreciation, and well wishes. With so many wanting to show their love to the guest of honor, it was difficult for Toodle to finish her plate. Toodle’s friends were comforted by her confidence in her promise to visit; Toodle was comforted by their affections.

“Brenda has just been an asset to our county and our little community,” said Lucy Parrott. “Lake Tansi Village will really feel the loss of Brenda.”

Toodle received a picture gift about friendship from Juanita Vonk, who shares a birthday with her. Toodle warmly explained that for this reason, Bonk is her “twin.” Bonk left the reception and sent the gift with Ken Soncrant, to which, after opening it, Toodle said, “No wonder she left before I could open it. She knew it would make me cry.”

Among many other Lake Tansi residents, Brenda Toodle also befriended Michel Nielsen, who is loved by Toodle like a daughter. In response to an inquiry regarding her close friendship with Nielsen and her family, Toodle explained, “They’re more like family, really. Michel is like my daughter.” 

To ease their hearts, Toodle and Nielsen have already begun planning Nielsen’s visit to Michigan next year.

“My email won’t change. I won’t change. And I’ll be back,” reassured Toodle. To send Brenda Toodle well wishes from Lake Tansi, email “I’m truly, truly, truly going to miss it,” Toodle tenderly said. “Lake Tansi is my home.” 

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