Gladys Ellis Bredenberg, 26 Nov 1926 – 19 May 2018 (Obituary for my mother)

Gladys Ellis Bredenberg
November 26, 1926 – May 19, 2018

GEB1982Gladys Ellis Bredenberg died at the age of 91, on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at Sunrise North Hills Senior Living, Raleigh, NC, where she had resided since 2014.

Gladys Bredenberg came to Raleigh in 1950 with her husband, Paul Arnold Bredenberg (October 24,1923 – November 15, 2009). Together, the Bredenbergs raised a family and developed deep roots in the community. Gladys studied at North Carolina State University, taught English and reading in public schools, and operated a tutoring service specializing in remedial education.

Gladys Marie Ellis was born November 26, 1926, in Georgetown, SC, daughter of Buchanan Carmel Ellis (1879-1939) and Ola Belle Dukes Ellis (1904-1994). The Ellis family moved to Kingstree, SC, about 1930. Gladys attended Kingstree High School starting in September 1939 and graduated in May 1943.

After finishing high school, Gladys moved to Charleston, SC. She was working in Charleston, when she met Paul A. Bredenberg, who was at the naval base in Charleston for the decommissioning of his ship after World War II. They were married in Charleston in 1947. From 1947 to 1950, they lived in New Haven, CT, where Paul completed his graduate-school education.

In 1950, the Bredenbergs moved to Raleigh, NC, where Paul began working as assistant professor at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University, NCSU).
Gladys and Paul’s first son, Alfred Roy Bredenberg, was born in 1951 and their second son, Jeffrey Ellis Bredenberg, in 1953. When the boys were small, the family lived on Carlton Avenue in Raleigh, near the college campus. For the academic year of 1955 to 1956, the family lived temporarily in Palo Alto, CA, where Paul studied at Stanford University. In 1962, they moved to their new home on Crump Road in Raleigh, adjacent to an extensive tract of North Carolina state farmland, which is now NCSU’s Centennial Campus.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Gladys studied English at NCSU and obtained her bachelor of arts degree with high honors in May 1970. She went on to earn an M.Ed. from Duke University in 1974, with specialization in reading. She obtained teaching certificates in reading and English, and spent seven years in public-school classrooms, teaching English, language arts, and remedial classes. Gladys later started her own practice as a private tutor, specializing in reading.

After retiring in 1986, the Bredenbergs spent many glorious days at their vacation house near Sparta in the North Carolina mountains. Gladys enjoyed volunteer work, including reading for the blind and visiting nursing-home residents. The couple celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in Raleigh on June 21, 1997, in conjunction with a large Bredenberg-Ellis family reunion.

In 1998, Paul and Gladys left their Crump Road home and moved to Whitaker Glen, a lovely retirement community in Raleigh, where they enjoyed the company of many long-time friends and acquaintances. In March 2009, Paul entered Mayview Convalescent Center, where, sadly, he died in November. Gladys was further grieved by the death a few months later of her younger son, Jeffrey, who died at home in Oreland, PA, on March 2, 2010, after a long illness.

In 2014, Gladys moved to Sunrise North Hills, an assisted living facility near the home of her surviving son, Alfred, and daughter-in-law, Virginia. At Sunrise, she received much kind attention and assistance from skilled care managers and nurses at the facility. While limited by her health, Gladys enjoyed several peaceful years at Sunrise, interacting with acquaintances in the Sunrise dining room, participating in group activities, and receiving visits, phone calls, and letters from friends and relatives.

Gladys suffered a stroke on May 8, 2018. Unable to recover, she died on Saturday evening, May 19, 2018, in her own room at Sunrise North Hills.

Gladys Ellis Bredenberg is survived by her son, Alfred R. Bredenberg, and wife Virginia, of Raleigh, NC; her brother, Jack B. Ellis and wife Rosa, of Santa Rosa Beach, FL; her daughter-in-law, Stacey Burling, of Oreland, PA; and grandchildren Paul W. Bredenberg, Adam Bredenberg, Colin Bredenberg, Bevan Quinn, and Mauireen Quinn Bell.

An informal gathering for family, friends, and acquaintances of Gladys will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2018, at 1 p.m., at Sunrise Senior Living of North Hills, 615 Spring Forest Rd., Raleigh, NC 27609. Friends and family will be invited to share experiences and remembrances.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Rex Healthcare Foundation, 2500 Blue Ridge Road, Suite 325, Raleigh, NC 27607.



National Wildlife Federation’s 140,000 Backyard Habitats

On ThomasNet Green & Clean last week, I wrote about the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat Program (see “Bunnies, Bluebirds, and Butterflies – A Wildlife Habitat in Your Backyard?“), which has registered 140,000 wildlife habitats in backyards, schools, parks, businesses, and government properties since 1973.

I learned about the program by serendipity — driving through a neighborhood here in Raleigh, I noticed the NWF sign in someone’s yard, and decided to investigate the program with the idea of writing an article about it.

Landscaper John Magee told me he thinks the program is helping to restore some of the original forest that has been lost through development:

Even as habitat becomes more and more disrupted by development, we’re creating more and more little islands of habitat. Wildlife can move and migrate from one to another of them. Areas that used to be forest are now subdivisions, but as we create more islands it makes things easier for wildlife. We can reconnect things more back the way they probably should be.

AB — 14 August 2011

Wake County, NC, Survey About Littering

The Raleigh News & Observer carried a story today about a new survey by the Wake County Environmental Services department about roadside littering in the county. (See “Wake is surveying our littering habits.”)

I confess that littering is a big pet peeve for me. It’s hard for me to conceive how anybody could think it doesn’t matter if they throw trash on the ground.

A news release from the county says the survey will study “the attitudes and perception of littering among Wake County citizens.” Survey questions focus on “awareness of litter; perceived location of, and problems associated with litter; personal experience with littering; perceptions of causes of littering and willingness to participate in voluntary litter-cleaning programs.” The results will be used in the development of an anti-litter awareness campaign. (See “Wake Conducts Roadside Litter Survey.”)

If you live in Wake County and you’re interested in taking the littering survey, follow this link.

AB — 1 September 2010

Jeff Bredenberg of Oreland, Pa., has died, March 2, 2010

Jeff Bredenberg Nov. 2009My brother, Jeff Bredenberg, died at home in Oreland, Pa., on Tuesday night, March 2, 2010. He had been sick with brain cancer for about 2 1/2 years.

Jeff and I are both natives of Raleigh, NC. Some readers might know him as a Raleighite. Others might know him for his work in the newspaper world or book publishing. Recently he had become known for his How to Cheat … book series, which included How to Cheat at Cleaning — see How to Cheat Books.

A memorial service for Jeff will take place this Saturday, March 6, 2010, at 1 p.m., at the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Warrington, Pa. — this link should lead to a map.

Here is the text of Jeff’s obituary — see also the versions in the Philadelphia Inquirer and in the Raleigh News & Observer for March 5:

Jeffrey Ellis Bredenberg

Nov. 26, 1953, to March 2, 2010

Jeff Bredenberg about 1970Jeffrey Ellis Bredenberg, 56, a former newspaper editor who later wrote and edited books, died Tuesday, March 2, 2010, of glioblastoma, a brain tumor, at his home in Oreland, Pa.

He completed two books after his diagnosis in September 2007.

A native of Raleigh, N.C., he got his first newspaper job at age 16 working as a copy boy and then copy editor for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. He then worked for newspapers in Fort Myers, Fla., Burlington, Vt., Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, and Wilmington, Del. He worked for the News Journal in Wilmington as an assistant managing editor from 1988 to 1994. During that time, he redesigned the newspaper and supervised various newsroom departments.

In 1994, he joined the book division of Rodale Press in Emmaus, Pa., rising to the rank of managing editor. In 1998, he became vice president for content for the Internet health portal, based in Blue Bell, Pa. Since 2002, he had worked as a freelance writer and editor of books and articles (

During his career, he wrote, edited, or otherwise contributed to more than 25 books. His most recent releases were a how-to series, How to Cheat at Cleaning, How to Cheat at Organizing, How to Cheat at Home Repair, and How to Cheat at Gardening and Yard Work (

He appeared frequently in print articles, online, and on television. His TV appearances included “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Rachael Ray Show,” and “The Today Show—Weekend Edition.”

Jeff graduated from Needham Broughton High School in Raleigh in 1972. His higher education was a patchwork affair, including a year at North Carolina State University and classes at Edison Community College in Fort Myers, Fla., the University of Vermont in Burlington, and Temple University.

He met his wife, Stacey Burling, at the Rocky Mountain News, where he worked as an editor and she was a reporter. They married in 1988 in Denver.

Jeffrey Ellis Bredenberg 1955He frequently participated in events at his sons’ Cub and Boy Scout troops, volunteered with the youth group at BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and rarely missed his sons’ soccer or baseball games or band concerts.

He is survived by his wife; sons Adam and Colin; his mother, Gladys Bredenberg, of Raleigh; and his brother and sister-in-law, Alfred and Virginia Bredenberg, of Raleigh. His father, Paul Bredenberg, a retired philosophy professor at North Carolina State University, died in November 2009.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 6, 2010, at BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2040 Street Rd., Warrington, Pa. 18976.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the National Brain Tumor Society, East Coast Office, 124 Watertown St., Suite 2D, Watertown, MA 02472.

AB — 4 March 2010

Favorite Places: Raleigh Little Theatre and Rose Garden

John Morris’s article today on Goodnight, Raleigh highlighted one of my favorite places here in the beautiful city of Raleigh, NC, where I was born and grew up — see “The Splendor of Raleigh’s Little Theatre and Rose Garden.” This cultural treasure is only a short walk from NCSU and the Cameron Village shopping center. (See the Little Theatre’s web site for information about the organization and its productions.)

Morris includes some great photos of the Rose Garden and amphitheater. Most interesting to me are historical photos, such as the one linked here to the right, from the theater’s construction during the 1930s.

Thinking about the Rose Garden conjures up a wealth of memories for me. When I was a teenager during the 1960s, my church, the Raleigh Unitarian Fellowship, met at the Little Theatre for a time on Sundays. About 1969, when I was in high school, a group of us held an anti-war rally in the amphitheatre. We were most amused when a guy showed up and tried to be surreptitious while taking photos of us with a telescopic camera lens — a representative of the city the police department, as I later learned during a conversation with a police captain.

One night about 1971, some friends and I walked down at night and approached the amphitheater from the back through the rose garden. The place was crowded and lit up, and, in our altered state of mind at the time, we were amazed when a cowboy walked by us in the garden, leading a horse. My friend Ray turned to me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “Must be gettin’ close to town.”

As it turned out, this was a dress rehearsal for an outdoor performance of Oklahoma — we sat down on the concrete bleachers and enjoyed the show for awhile.

My most memorable visit to the Rose Garden, though, was an outing several of us had there during a total eclipse, which I believe was in March 1970.

Here are some photos of the Rose Garden from a recent visit by me and Virginia and our friend Ellin from Vermont.

AB — 6 January 2010

Paul A. Bredenberg of Raleigh, NC, has died, Nov. 15, 2009

Following is the obituary I wrote for my father, Paul A. Bredenberg, at his death in 2009. Originally a version of this appeared in the Raleigh newspaper. However, it looks to me as if now you have to pay to keep such an obituary available online. (Too bad, because it was expensive to have it published in the first place, and web server space costs next to nothing.) I wanted to make sure there was a permanent version available, so here it is. [ARB, 18 August 2018]

Paul Arnold Bredenberg Ph.D.

PaulABredenbergAndTennisHatAbt1965_smallOct. 24, 1923 – Nov. 15, 2009

  • Professor Emeritus, North Carolina State University, Department of Philosophy and Religion, 1950-1986
  • Ensign, U.S. Navy, World War II
  • Civil Rights Activist
  • Athlete and Promoter of Youth Sports

Paul Arnold Bredenberg Ph.D. died on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, at Mayview Convalescent Center, in Raleigh, N.C., at the age of 86.

Paul Bredenberg had lived in Raleigh since 1950, where he raised a family, taught philosophy for 36 years at North Carolina State University (NCSU), spearheaded a youth tennis program that fostered an entire generation of Raleigh tennis players – and became known as a champion of civil rights in North Carolina and the Triangle region (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill).

Paul Arnold Bredenberg was born Oct. 24, 1923, in Schenectady, N.Y., to Alfred Bredenberg Jr. and Cora Edith (Felton) Bredenberg. Paul’s grandfather, also named Alfred Bredenberg, had emigrated to the United States from Sweden, settling in upstate New York. In 1926, Paul’s family moved from Schenectady to Erie, Pa., where Paul grew up.

Paul is survived by his wife of 62 years, Gladys Marie (Ellis) Bredenberg; his brother Willard Alfred Bredenberg; his sons Alfred R. Bredenberg and wife Virginia of Raleigh and Jeffrey E. Bredenberg and wife Stacey Burling of Oreland, Pa.; and grandchildren Paul W. Bredenberg, Adam Bredenberg, Colin Bredenberg, Bevan Quinn, Jeremy Quinn, and Mauireen Quinn Bell.

Paul began attending the University of Pittsburgh in Erie in 1940, but his education was interrupted by World War II. During the war, Paul served as Ensign in the U.S. Navy on a destroyer in the South Pacific. At the war’s conclusion, he left the Navy, but not before meeting his wife-to-be, Gladys, in Charleston, S.C., where he was stationed and where she was living and working.

To continue his education, Paul returned to Pennsylvania, attending the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. He graduated in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and returned to Charleston without delay (skipping his graduation ceremony) to get married to Gladys.

After their marriage, Paul and Gladys moved to New Haven, Conn., where Paul obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy at Yale University. During that period, 1947 to 1950, they lived for a time in New Haven with Paul’s aunt and uncle, Hilda and Fred Fowler, then in their own apartment.

After finishing graduate school, Paul and Gladys moved to Raleigh, where Paul had obtained a job as assistant professor of philosophy and social studies at North Carolina State College (now University, NCSU, aka “State”).

Paul and Gladys’s first son, Alfred Roy Bredenberg, was born in 1951 and their second son, Jeffrey Ellis Bredenberg, in 1953. When the boys were small, the family lived on Carlton Ave. in Raleigh, near the college campus. For the academic year of 1955 to 1956, the family moved temporarily to Palo Alto, Calif., where Paul studied poetry under Ivor Winters at Stanford University, on a Ford Foundation Faculty Fellowship. He also obtained a Rockefeller Foundation grant to study at Harvard University during the summer of 1956. Paul was promoted to Professor at State in 1963.

In 1962, Paul and Gladys and boys moved to their new home on Crump Rd. in Raleigh, adjacent to an extensive tract of North Carolina state farmland, which is now NCSU’s Centennial Campus.

During his academic career, Paul chaired the Committee on Academic Freedom of the American Association of University Professors and served as president of the North Carolina Philosophical Association. Paul retired from the university in 1986.

Paul was known in North Carolina and the Triangle region as an advocate of civil rights. He served on a steering committee in 1969 that led to the establishment of the Wake County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). After the chapter’s establishment, he served several terms on the board, including a stint as president. In 1992, he received the chapter’s W.W. Finlator Award, presented annually to local champions of civil rights.

For most of his life, Paul was an avid tennis player, becoming Raleigh city champion twice and achieving state ranking for his doubles play. He became known in the Raleigh area for his work in youth tennis, coaching the Raleigh boys’ tennis team and running a free Saturday youth tennis clinic for many years, contributing to the formation of a whole generation of Raleigh tennis players.

In 2005, Paul was honored at the NC Tennis Hall of Fame in Greensboro with a memorial pathway stone inscribed “In Honor of Paul Bredenberg, for All That You Did for Junior Tennis.”

After his retirement in 1986, Paul pursued many hobbies and special interests, including tennis and golf, deep sea fishing, vegetable gardening, pastel painting, matting and framing, and stone polishing. He and Gladys spent many glorious days at their vacation house near Sparta in Paul’s beloved North Carolina mountains.

In 1998, Paul and Gladys left their Crump Road home and moved to Whitaker Glen, a lovely retirement community in Raleigh, where they have enjoyed the company of many long-time friends and acquaintances. Paul became known for his contributions of stories, articles, essays, and poems for the Whitaker Glen newsletter.

In March of this year, Paul entered Mayview Convalescent Center, passing several peaceful months until his death on Sunday. Paul’s family wishes to extend their greatest thanks to Dr. James Parsons Jr., medical director, and the staff of excellent caregivers at Mayview, who showed so much compassion for Paul during his final days.

An informal gathering for family, friends, and acquaintances of Paul will be held Thursday, Nov. 19, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., in the Whitaker Glen Building B Atrium, 501 E. Whitaker Mill Rd., Raleigh, N.C. 27608. Friends and family will be invited to share experiences and remembrances.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to ACLU Wake County Chapter, c/o NC ACLU, PO Box 28004, Raleigh, NC 27617; or Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 3313 Wade Ave., Raleigh, NC 27607.


AB — 16 Nov. 2009