Renate H. Brady

Published 7:41 pm Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 29, 2011

SUFFOLK — Renate “Renée” Hildegarde Brady died Friday, April 29, 2011, surrounded by her children. She was the widow of Capt. John Joseph Brady, who died in 1997. Renée was born on Nov. 19, 1926 in Hamburg, Germany, to Dr. Wilhelm Bartels and Frau Hildegarde Bartels.


Renée was educated in Hamburg and Bremen, and at boarding school in Strassbourg. Following World War II, she met and married John, who was stationed in Bremen with the U.S. Navy occupation forces.


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Their first son, Kevin, was born in Bremen. Renee and her young son sailed by ocean liner to join her husband in Newport, R.I. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1956. She moved with her husband and their growing family to John’s various duty stations, including Newport, New Orleans, Cedar Rapids, San Diego, Seattle and finally Norfolk, where John retired. They moved to Suffolk to be nearer John’s post-Navy career as captain of the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry service.

During her travels, she wrote newspaper columns in several cities, including for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and later for publications in Hampton Roads. She was a classical violinist and choral singer in her youth. She had a lifelong love of classical music, and was an avid supporter of the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, now the Virginia Symphony.

Renée was a tireless volunteer for the Red Cross and was honored for volunteer services to Obici Hospital and the Veterans’ Hospital in Hampton. She was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Suffolk, where she had been a choir member, chalicer and lector, as well as the first woman to serve on the previously all-male Vestry during the 1980s.

Three sons and two daughters-in-law, Kevin Wilhelm and Terry Jones-Brady, of Suffolk, Kenneth John and Barbara Brady, of Portsmouth, and Kai Patrick Brady, of Suffolk, survive her. She was predeceased in 1987 by her son Keith. She is also survived by three sisters and their husbands, Anke and Paul-Heinrich Bartels, Zenchin and Hartmut Klingmueller, and Hilke Bartels, all of Germany, and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 828 Kings Highway, Suffolk, on Wednesday, May 4, at 7 in the evening, with the Rev. Les Ferguson officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Renée’s memory.

The family would like to thank the staff of Consulate Health Care in Windsor for the care given to Renée during her final days. Parr Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the family. Condolences may be registered online at