Brenda Harmon’s daughters — Laura Harmon, Rebekah Nether and Elizabeth Harmon — kept the tradition going this year, holding the annual gift exchange last Monday because “Brenda loved Christmas,” Dale said.
Brenda and Donna were born and raised in New Miami in a large family. They were two of 16 children.
Dale remembers that the sisters fought a lot when they were younger and he was dating Brenda, but “they grew really close.”
Brenda, born on June 10, 1959, married Dale on April 25, 1981. Together they had their three daughters and a son, Tristan Harmon.
“She was my best friend for 39 years,” Dale said. “She was a wonderful mother to her children, best friend to her three daughters, and we have an autistic son, who (Brenda) was a wonderful advocate for – fighting doctors and county workers and program workers to get the best for him.”
He said Brenda refused to place Tristan in a care facility, even though it was suggested by many, instead choosing family first.
Family was first as well when it came to Brenda’s sister.
After Donna lost her job, Brenda invited her to live in her home until she was back on her feet, Dale said. That temporary arrangement turned permanent as Donna became more involved in the family’s dynamic, including helping to care for Tristan, as well as Brenda.
Donna, born on March 11, 1962 and was never married with no children.
The sisters were members of multiple Fairfield civic organizations, holding leadership positions at one time with the Fairfield Women’s Club, Four Seasons Garden Club and the Fairfield Historical Society. Both women served as co-president with the Fairfield Women’s Club, Brenda last year with Jane Gegner, and Donna this year with Debbie Pennington.
“We are going to miss the love that we saw between those two sisters,” said Pennington. “Anytime you asked them to do anything, they were there.”
Dirksen said the sisters never hid their love for each other.
“I know that they were just very devoted to one another,” she said. “We’re really going to miss them.”
The sisters are survived by several family members, including their siblings Jean Thomas, David Newton, Wanda McDonald, Martha Gregor, Charles Newton, Melva Price, Herman Newton, Ralph Newton, and Yolanda Weeden. They were proceeded in death by siblings Henderson Newton, Jr., Paul Newton, Gerald Newton, Richard Newton and Elizabeth Newton.
Pictured are Donna Newton, left, and Brenda Harmon, sisters who contributed to various Fairfield civic organizations over the years. They died a month apart due to complications of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, as well as underlying health issues. PROVIDED/FAIRFIELD WOMEN'S CLUB