Brenda Montiel

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.

8 Responses to "Brenda Montiel"

  1. Joni Miller   July 18, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    It has been more than 45 years since I last saw this dear woman. She was one of the good ones. One of the few that really had our best interest. She was the reason I fell in love with music! Thank you Sr. Brenda. My prayers and thoughts are with her family. I offer this prayer.

    We give Brenda back to you, O Lord
    You, who first gave her to us;
    And as you did not lose her in the giving,
    So now, we do not lose her in the return.
    Not as the world gives do you give, O Lover of souls.
    For what is yours is ours also, if we belong to you.
    Life is unending because love is undying,
    And the boundaries of this life, are but a horizon,
    And a horizon is but the limit of our vision.
    Strengthen our faith, that we may see beyond the horizon.
    And while you prepare a place for us, as you have promised,
    Prepare us also for that joyful place; that where you are, we may be also;
    Forever, with those we have loved.
    Eternal rest, grant unto Brenda O Lord;
    and let perpetual light shine upon her.
    May she rest in peace. Amen.

  2. Stephanie Bray   July 19, 2013 at 11:47 am

    "Sister" Brenda was one of my favorite teachers back in the 1970’s at SLRA. Her strong, clear opinions and teaching, and her forward-thinking philosophy had an impact on me. She taught me to think outside of the box and that much more was possible than I had imagined. She was a major gift in my life. Thank you Brenda.

  3. MAggie glennon grimm   July 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Sister Brenda / Brenda Was one the greatest influences of my life ..
    She inspired and believed in me ,but most of all lead me to beleive in myself .. And in changing your life , taking chances .
    I was happy she found love .. Am so GRATEFUL To HER ,and the love she showed
    Also to know she went to do even more . again she inspires me as she now Sings with The Angels !!!
    THANK YOU !!!!!! Sister Brenda … and I am Singing now for you !!!

  4. Lise Standorf Mahoney   July 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    when someone truly believes in you they seem to stick with you for a lifetime. Sister Brenda’s life may have come to and end but she will always be a part of my life. She was a blessing to SLRA and too all the girls who attended there. She touched every life in one way or another, as we say our thank yous and farewell my prayers are with her husband Roland and how lucky you too have been to have been able to share you life with her and she as to find you. Brenda may you Sore with the Angels and may God hold you in his hand. Rest in Peace our Friend.

  5. Eileen Deptula   July 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I remember Sister Brenda fondly also! She taught me how to play the organ and was SO patient when I had not practiced my lessons. She had a kind, gentleness about her that made me feel very special to be in her presence. She was one of a kind – a very rare and priceless individual!

  6. Anne Martin   July 22, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Sister Brenda was my speech teacher and also my drama teacher at SLRA. She also served as our vice principal. As a speech teacher she encouraged me to overcome my shyness by going to speech tournaments. Although I couldn’t even bring myself to speak at all my first try, I was eventually able to win first place in the extemporaneous category. She directed our senior class musical which was Funny Girl. That was a lot of fun! Thanks, Brenda.

  7. Audrey Zehngebot   July 24, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Brenda and I were students at Little Flower Academy
    in the ’50’s. As close friends we shared our hopes and
    dreams for the future. With God’s grace she lived every
    lofty goal….preaching through actions more than words.
    She used all her talents for good…. RIP

  8. Kathy Simonis Phillips   July 25, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I attended SLRA during my freshman and sophomore year in the 70’s. Sister Brenda was a great inspiration to me. She instilled in me her great love of music and I continue to sing in our church choir today because of her. She was always cheerful, a great listener and a blessing to all of us. She has touched the lives of many with her gentle spirit.


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