Archive for Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day succumbs to long cancer fight

May 7, 2009

Brenda Day, longtime Baker University archivist and curator of the Old Castle Museum, died April 25 after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 49.

Day graduated from Baker in 1990 and also took over her history preserving positions with the university that same year. Campus Minister the Rev. Ira DeSpain’s memories of Day are filled with that history.

“Brenda studied history because she was history,” said DeSpain. “I believe she was the fifth generation of her family in the Lane, Kansas, area. She seemed to be a part of what she was teaching — Battle of Black Jack, founding of Baker University, Native American life.

“She once told me she had an intuitive sense that there was a recording someplace of Bishop Quayle's voice preaching a sermon,” he said. “One of her quests was to find that recording.”

Day was instrumental in the planning and implementation of the 150th anniversary celebration for the Battle of Black Jack three years ago. She knew the area’s rich history of the pre-Civil War struggles known as “Bleeding Kansas” and gave guided bus tours of the area during the Black Jack event.

State Rep. Tony Brown, D-Baldwin City, who served on the Battle of Black Jack Board of Trustees with Day and also worked with her at Baker, remembered her as someone special.

“Brenda was an integral part of the Baker community who touched our lives in many ways,” said Brown. “We will miss her passion for history, her commitment to service and her uncompromising zest for life.”

During Baker’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2007-2008, Day shared several stories on the university’s history. They can be found at

But it wasn’t all history for Day. In 2001 she served as president of the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce and was responsible for putting on candidate forums for city council, mayor and school board races.

Day is survived by her husband, Don Day, and sons Ian and Miles, all of Lane; a sister, Lenora Antwine, Mesa, Ariz.; and a brother, Ralph Pretz, Jr., Osawatomie.

A memorial service was held Wednesday afternoon at the Old Castle Museum on the Baker campus. A partial obituary is on page 5 of today’s Signal.


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