Brenda Fariss Callis, 66, of Cobbs Creek, Virginia, went to be with her Lord on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, after a courageous and lengthy battle with cancer. Brenda was born to the late Jessie Fariss Sr. and Pearl McKenney Fariss on Oct. 20, 1953 in Mathews County, Va. She was a member of the youth group at Locust Grove United Methodist Church and graduated from Mathews High School in 1972. She married the love of her life, Melvin Callis, on Feb. 17, 1973 at Mathews Chapel United Methodist Church. She was an active member of Mathews Chapel for the entirety of her adult life. She participated in the United Methodist Women group, coordinating the annual Sonshine musical benefit concert to raise money for the Mattaponi Healing Eagle Clinic in West Point, Va. She served as a delegate to the Annual Conference of United Methodist Churches of Virginia. She was a lay speaker in the United Methodist Church and was called upon to fill in when ministers were unavailable.
Brenda spent her early adult years raising a family which included her sons, Matt and Adam, and her daughter, Bekah. In the mid-1980s she pursued her dream of becoming a math teacher, attending Christopher Newport College (now University) and graduating in 1988 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Math Education. In 1999 she completed her Master’s Degree in Secondary Math Education from Christopher Newport University. During her career she worked for Mathews County Schools as a substitute teacher, then went on to teach at Aylett Country Day School and the West Point School System. She spent most of her career at Rappahannock Community College serving as adjunct faculty, working in tutoring services, and also working with the Governor’s School program. She enjoyed teaching math for nursing students near the beginning of their studies. She also worked with the Upward Bound program for disadvantaged high school students. Her favorite hobbies included reading, crafting, shopping, crocheting, and spending time with friends and family.
Brenda’s favorite work of all was her family. She is survived by her husband of 47 years, Melvin; her sons, Matt (Tanya) and Adam (Carrie); daughter, Bekah Elmore (Dan) and her brother, Jessie Fariss Jr. (Karen). Her grandchildren, who were the lights of her life and who called her “Grammy,” are K.K. Callis, Allie Callis, Chloe Elmore, Mark Elmore, Hannah Adams, Landon Adams, Gracie Callis, Alexis Williams and Aidan Williams. She is also survived by her beloved pet, Abigail Elizabeth, and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws too numerous to mention.
A private family service was held on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at Mathews Chapel United Methodist Church, Cobbs Creek, Va. with the Rev. Lisa Blackmonson and the Rev. Brett Isernhagen conducting. Burial was in Haynes Cemetery. Her pallbearers included Leonard Callis, Ricky Callis, Jimmy Davis, Hunter Fariss, Scott Jenkins, and Aidan Williams. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Mathews Chapel United Methodist Church, marked for the Mattaponi Healing Eagle Clinic, P.O. Box 125, Cobbs Creek, Va. 23035.
Faulkner Funeral Homes, Foster-Faulkner Chapel, Mathews, Virginia, assisted the family.