Isabel Gordon Brenner

by | Mar 4, 2019 | Obituaries

ORTSMOUTH—Isabel Gordon Brenner, wife of Louis Brenner, was born on March 23, 1923 and died on February 18, 2019.

She was raised in Norfolk where she graduated Valedictorian from Maury High School. She was a long-time child and mental health activist who was a voluntary leader in local, state and national mental health organizations. She was a former president of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board in Virginia, and former regional vice president of National Mental Health Association. She was the first chairman, serving six years, of Portsmouth Community Services Board, she was a member of Better Beginnings Steering Committee, the Task Force on Mental Health Needs of Children. She served on the National Consortium of Child Mental Health Services. She helped establish the Community Mental Health Center, a drug free center, and Holiday House, a respite care facility for mentally handicapped children. She was the recipient of the Virginia Mental Health Association’s John Redstrom Memorial Award and the Department of Children’s Outstanding Child Advocate Award.

In addition to her involvement in the mental health field, she worked with the United Way, Friends of the Portsmouth Juvenile Court, and the Portsmouth School Foundation, which she helped establish and chair. She also worked with the BEAR program, aimed at improving the reading ability of second grade students. She served on the Mayor’s Council on Drug Abuse, the Jail Advisory Board, the Better Beginnings Task Force for Children. She served on the Board of Community Trust Bank and the Advisory Board of Crestar Bank (today SunTrust Bank).

She was actively involved in the establishment of Temple Sinai, serving as the first secretary of the board, president of Temple Sinai Sisterhood and a trustee of the Temple. She was chairwoman of the Women’s Division of Portsmouth United Jewish Appeal. She was also secretary of the Friends of Chevra Thelim, an organization involved with the preservation of Jewish memorabilia in Tidewater. She was a member of Ohef Sholom Temple.

She was predeceased by her parents, Mortimer R. and Irene Fass Gordon; a brother, John M. Gordon; uncles, Sol Fass, Luie Fass and Marcus Fass; and an aunt, Pearl F. Weil.

She is survived by her husband of 73 years, Louis Brenner; three children, Douglas Brenner and his wife Sharon of Colleyville, Texas, Daniel G. Brenner and his wife Dale of San Mateo, Calif., and Claire B. Marks and husband Joel of Florence, Oregon; and grandchildren, Ari, Kira, Alexa and William.

A graveside service was held in Olive Branch Cemetery with Cantor Jen Reuben officiating. Sturtevant Funeral Home. Condolences to the family online at