Brenda Montiel, 73, of Fallbrook passed away on July 11, 2013. She was born on March 31, 1940 in Escondido. She is survived by her husband Roland Jackson, and siblings Carol Kettela, Jerry Montiel, and Mary Montiel.
At the age of 9, Brenda heard Arthur Rubenstein in concert which changed the course of her life. She began piano lessons and soon became an accomplished pianist performing in many concerts throughout her life. After high school, Brenda joined the convent, the Sisters of the Precious Blood, who staffed the school at San Luis Rey. She spent 16 years dedicated to the educational mission of this community with 10 of them at San Luis Rey. She taught music and literature and developed a community theater where she directed major musicals such as Oliver, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music.
Brenda received her bachelor of science at the University of Dayton and her masters and doctorate degrees from Claremont Graduate School. In 1974, she left the convent after 16 wonderful years and accepted a position with Palomar College. She remained a music and humanities teacher until her retirement. Her responsibilities included department chair, faculty president and she was a member of the Faculty Senate committee.
She met her husband while studying at Claremont Graduate School. They traveled the next 10 years throughout Europe during vacations and sabbaticals, working on musicological projects.
In the mid 1980’s, she co-founded Adventures in Learning, an art and music tour company where small groups were presented with unique experiences around the world not often reserved for tour groups. The La Jolla Symphony Chorus was one of these groups provided with many unusual concert venues. The most unusual was to the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan where they were the first western choral group of musicians to be invited to this kingdom.
Upon moving to Fallbrook in 1993, Brenda and her husband became Fallbrook Music Society board members where Brenda’s contributions to the artistic development of this community are well known. She served as Fallbrook Music Society’s president of the board and as the organization’s artistic director for many years. She was responsible for the organization of the annual concert series including Concert on the Green.
These are some of the things that Brenda did in her life, but she cannot be defined by them. Rather she is known for her honest and sincere dedication and her passion for helping others. Brenda’s spiritual beliefs became the foundation of her life. During these last months, it sustained her in the day to day moments of acceptance and love.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fallbrook Music Society. Evening Vigil is at Alhiser-Comer Mortuary, Escondido, Wednesday, July 24, 6 to 8 p.m.; a Memorial Mass is on Thursday, July 25, 10 a.m., St. Mary’s Church, Escondido.