Brenda Gail Reneau, 59, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma passed away Thursday, December 5, 2013 at her home. She was born January 4, 1954 in Fort Hood, Texas to Norman Lloyd Fallen and Marjorie L. Shaffer Fallen. Brenda grew up in Fort Gibson where she attended school and graduated with the class of 1973. Her parents instilled in her the importance of fighting for what she believed in and the rewards that come from hard work, sincerity, and dedication. Her journeys took her to Oklahoma City where, in 1994, she was the first woman elected as the State Labor Commissioner, a position she held for three terms. Brenda was one of three statewide elected officials at that time whose journey to the State Capitol went through Muskogee County. During her tenure, Brenda highlighted a previously little known workplace safety effort into an effective, nationally recognized program she called “Safety Pays”. This program assisted Oklahoma employers in reducing workers compensation costs through improved safety programs and significant reductions in workplace accidents. Brenda will be remembered as a woman of great character, a courageous public servant, a true conservative, and was committed to reform in state government. Current Labor Commissioner, Mark Costello said “Oklahoma is a finer place due to her service.”
Brenda is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Gail Houghton, of the home; her parents, Norman and Marjorie Fallen of Muskogee; her brother, Kevin Fallen and wife, Jackie of Oklahoma City; nieces, Allison and Emily Fallen; her best friend, Kathy Johnston; other family members and many friends.
Funeral services celebrating Brenda’s life will be 1:00 p.m., Friday, December 13, 2013 at Christian Chapel Church with Pastor Conrad Barrett officiating. Interment will follow at Citizens Cemetery in Fort Gibson with Sammy Fallen, Robert Hernandez, Jimmy Fallen, Harold Willard, Carl Fallen, and Tom Moydell serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will be Kathy Hutching Rusk, Paula Stretch Arterberry, BB England Cooper, Sheila Risenhoover Haughey, Carol Cavin Wheeler, Pat Worley Orman, Carol Claney, Estella Vann Cain, Tray Davis, Pat McGiugan, Mike Buckskin, and Ben Buckskin.
The family requests memorials be made to SPCA, Central Oklahoma Humane Society, 7500 North Western Ave, OKC, OK 73116.
Funeral services are under the direction of Cornerstone Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.cornerstoneofmuskogee.com.