WILMINGTON — Brenda Parnell Hegarty, age 78, died from complications of COVID on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. She was born September 6, 1942, in Scotland County, North Carolina.
Brenda was a graduate of Chapel Hill High School and Central Piedmont Community College. Her professional career largely consisted of administrative management positions, serving many years in that capacity with American Express and most recently retiring from New Hanover County Department of Social Services at the end of 2019.
Brenda met the love of her life, John Hegarty, at the University of North Carolina. Their love for each other was matched only by their stubbornness… they married each other (and no one else) three times. John passed away in 1989. John and Brenda had two children, a son, Joseph “Michael” Hegarty, and a daughter, Mary Beth Rubright. Michael’s unexpected passing in 2006 devastated Brenda; but she somehow found the strength to carry on. Brenda was a wonderful mother, providing her children with 100% unconditional love and support, always.
Brenda loved to laugh, travel, shop, read, and Friday night wine on the porch. She also loved Christmas, her over the top Christmas gift giving earned her the family nickname Santa Brenda. Most of all, Brenda loved her family. She was a devout Catholic and a longtime member of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. She had a heart of gold and a genuine love for people, all people. Brenda was no shrinking violet. She had a strong moral compass and strong opinions. She held herself, and everyone around her, to the highest level of accountability. One never had to guess where they stood with Brenda! She also was sensitive, kind, thoughtful, and incredibly generous. She was loved immensely and will be missed beyond measure.
Brenda was preceded in death by her parents, Flora Brigman and E.C. Parnell; brother James Inman; husband John Hegarty; and son Joseph Michael Hegarty. She is survived by her daughter Mary Beth Rubright and husband Jeff Rubright, daughter-in-law Lisa Hegarty, grandson Nicholas Hegarty, grandson Zachary Hegarty, three special cousins that were like siblings to her: Betty Earon, Carol MacFarland, and James Cole, and a host of extended family and friends.
Due to concerns with the current spread of COVID, a small graveside service will be held at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Greensboro, N.C. where Brenda will be laid to rest beside her beloved John.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The American Heart Association or The American Cancer Society.
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Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S.41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403. 910.791.9099.