Beverly Hacker Breniser
Beverly "Bev" Breniser, a well-known county educator, entered into rest on Sunday, April 19, 2020 at Luther Acres after succumbing, at age 72, to the effects of dementia. A quotation about another admired woman clearly describes Beverly as well: "Toward the end of her life, dementia robbed her of the ability to speak, but it never concealed the woman who abided within."
Born in Allentown, PA, Bev was the daughter of the late Alfred and Irene Hacker. Irene passed away, at age 102, in 2018, and for many years, Bev had devoted herself to providing her mother with a wonderful life in both good and bad times.
Married to Darryl A. Breniser for 48 years, the two shared their lives at their former Hawk Valley Village home in Denver, PA, and at their shore cottage, "Tiny Treasure," in Avalon, NJ, before recently moving to Luther Acres. In the early years of their marriage, they enjoyed skiing, snowmobiling, and boating. In later years, she and Darryl were actively involved in standardbred racing. They owned several horses over the years with "Billy Bathgate" one of their favorites. Additionally, the couple derived much pleasure traveling with friends within the United States.
After graduating from William Allen High School in Allentown, she continued her education at Millersville University, where she earned her B.S. in Education (1969), her M.Ed. (1972), and her Administrative Certificate (1975). She later obtained her principal's certification from Temple University.
Most definitely, Bev was a committed educator, in that she began her career as a sixth-grade teacher in the Conestoga Valley School District and held that position from 1969-1973. From 1973-1984, she was an employee of the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, initially as an itinerant teacher of gifted students and then as the supervisor of all programs for gifted and talented students. From 1984-2004, she served as the principal of Conestoga Valley's Leola Elementary and also, for many years, as the principal of Penn Johns School, a two-room schoolhouse with mostly Amish and Mennonite students. Noteworthy is that Bev was the only female administrator in the district at that time. Another role at CV was acting as the chair of the Character Education Committee. Summer after summer, Bev also led as a director of professional development for newly hired CV staff and their mentors. On Day 2 of the workshop, Bev knew every single person's name and by the end of the week was acquainted with each individual personally.
Not one ever to be idle, Bev, upon retirement, accepted the leadership of the Conestoga Valley Education Foundation and served as the executive director from 2004-2018. She was the primary organizer of all fundraising events over the years, particularly the Derby Day Party and the CVEF Golf Tournament. Attendees of these CVEF events, as well as attendees of other charitable organizations' auctions, benefited from Bev's own donations of five-star dinners and her "killer cheesecakes." The auction returns funded numerous worthy projects for CV and beyond. Also, during her retirement, she accepted the interim position of Brownstown Elementary principal during the designated principal's maternity leave.
In addition to her Conestoga Valley duties, Bev maintained a strong relationship with Millersville University. From Spring of 2008 through Summer of 2012, she worked in the Educational Foundations Department as an instructor. She also administered the Leadership Programs Principal Preparation Inventory. Serving on the board of Millersville University Foundation from January of 2011 through December of 2016, she was co-chair of the foundation's sub-committee, the Spending Committee (2011), and became the chair of this sub-committee in 2013 and served in that capacity through December of 2016. Another contribution was membership on the Education Building Advisory Committee. Perhaps her fondest accomplishment at MU was to co-chair the Women's Giving Circle, a scholarship and mentorship program that helped raise over $50,000 for the Women's Giving Circle/Power of the Purse. Through a generous gift, Bev has a classroom in Stayer Hall named after her with a plaque outside the room with her name on it. Jennifer McMorris, Administrative Assistant of the Office of Alumni Engagement, offered the following comment: "She accomplished amazing things in her lifetime and has had a wonderful impact on a large number of others."
Besides her dedication to education (Who reads professional journals at the beach?), Bev was a faithful and active member of Allegheny Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mohnton, PA. Her leadership skills were evident while serving on Church Council as a member and an officer. Her musical talent was apparent in her participation in her church's choir and bell choir. Her other contributions were earning money, through auctions again, for her church's food bank, as well as knitting baby blankets and scarves and sewing for her bell choir's projects.
Bev lived life fully. As a teen, she loved tap dancing and could be found tapping at the Steel Pier. Decades later, she took up that dance genre once again. She was a long-time member and officer of the Junior League of Lancaster, participated on the Board of Directors and on committees for Leadership Lancaster, was a founding board member of the Hands-On House, served in an advisory capacity for Lancaster's Science Factory, and was a member of the Event Planning Committee of Family Promise of Berks County, Inc. She created unique jewelry and Christmas decorations to give to family and friends or supplied meals, baked goods, and knitted and sewn items to donate to charitable auctions. Never one to turn down invitations, Bev frequently attended local or NYC theater productions and was one of the "Lancaster Ladies" in support of CV grad and stage, screen, and TV star, Jonathan Groff.
One final fun and true observation is that Bev was the "FASHIONISTA EXTRAORDINAIRE." She was her own best personal shopper and impeccably selected all clothing and her accessories of jewelry, scarves, shoes, and purses, with attention, too, to coiffures and nail art. Many will remember her spider make-up at Halloween and her authentic hippie attire at Jonathan Groff's Lancaster premier of Woodstock.
Besides her beloved husband Darryl, survivors include three close cousins: Jimmy Miller; the late Debbie Miller Kling, wife of Stephen; Gwen Zack, wife of Richard; and Diane Kasharian, wife of Tim. She also had many friends who loved her as family. According to one of her dearest friends, Karen Eby, Bev was a "second mother" to the three Eby children.
Bev's funeral arrangements are, appropriately, through one of her former students, Philip Furman, of Furman Home for Funerals in Leola. Due to the current health crisis, a Memorial Service celebrating her life will take place at a later date. Her final resting place will be at the Allegheny Evangelical Lutheran Columbarium. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Bev's memory to the CVEF Breniser STEM Lab Project, c/o Gerald Huesken, 51 Midway Farms Lane, Lancaster, PA 17602.
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