Brenda Robinson

Brenda Diane Babbs Robinson
Nov. 7, 1949-March 12, 2022

MORGANFIELD, Ky. — In Cat Alley, when the flood waters recede and the sun comes again, a bouquet of daisies and lilies erupt from the black soil – fertile ground tended by the river bottom farmers and their families.

It was in that dark dirt where Brenda Diane Babbs Robinson was born 72 years ago, scratched out a living with her high school sweetheart and sprouted forth a family nurtured by her loving and kind nature, the bloom being the happiness that came from the joy she brought others.

And it is that same Union County ground where Brenda returns after her death Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Red Banks Nursing Home in Henderson.

Born Nov. 7, 1949, Brenda was the youngest of six children born to Houston and Lucille Babbs, who farmed the bottom land bordering the Ohio River. She spent her childhood riding ponies and on the tractor alongside her daddy as he tilled the fields of corn and beans.

The blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty was the basketball homecoming queen and popular with her classmates at Union County High School, where she graduated in 1967. One day on a school bus, Roy Robinson fought off those suitors and sat beside “the love of his life.” The two started dating, got engaged and on July 15, 1967, were married in the Morganfield First Baptist Church.

Brenda Robinson is shown with her husband, Roy, not longer after their marriage in July 1967. (Photo from Brenda’s Facebook page)

The newlyweds moved to Grove Center and into a home they shared for the next half century. While Roy farmed, Brenda worked as a secretary at several local businesses and eventually opened her own gift shop, The Robin’s Nest, and also took up photography, specializing in children’s and family portraits. 

Family was important to Brenda and her greatest moments were in giving birth to her children and raising them and the grandchildren who’d follow.

In addition to her husband of 54 years, she is survived by her two sons, Rodney Robinson and his wife, Briana, of Morganfield, and Todd Robinson and his wife, Kristie, of Morganfield; and her daughter, Brooke Yoder and her husband, Kevin, of Mission Hills, Kansas; Also surviving are five grandchildren, Riley Henshaw and her husband, Johnathan, of Sturgis, Hanna Hancock and her husband, Landon, of Sturgis, Hunter Robinson, of Morganfield, and Caroline and Eloise Yoder, of Mission Hills, Kansas; and three great-grandchildren, Harper and Jameson Robert Hancock and Hadley Henshaw.

Brenda is also survived by a sister, Daisy Hina, of Sturgis; two brothers, Bill Babbs of Paducah and Don Babbs and his wife, Sue, of Sturgis; a sister-in-law, Linda Banks, of Morganfield; two brothers-in-law, Tom and Richard Robinson, of Morganfield; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, David Babbs; sister, Bonnie Pfingston; brother-in-law, George “Jeter” Hina; sister-in-law, Rose Mary Babbs; father- and mother-in-law, Harvey and Helen Robinson; and a nephew, Danny Hina.

She was a longtime member of Morganfield First Baptist Church where she taught Sunday school to 4-year-olds for more than 20 years. She and a local group of women would meet weekly to play the card game “Hand and Foot.” Brenda loved to host parties and was an excellent cook known for her chicken and dumplings, French toast, broccoli and cheddar soup, and sweet tea. There was a vacation to Hawaii and a favorite trip to Alaska. She loved to garden and excelled, evident by the zinnias that grow beside her home.

There were countless “MiMi Days” with the grandchildren where they picked the venue and the menu and, for many years, Brenda oversaw the Little Mr. and Miss contest at the Union County Fair. She had a special place for all babies. That same pureness, honesty and laughter one finds in a newborn was reflected in Brenda.

“Any baby in a stroller, she just couldn’t get enough of them,” said her longtime friend, Bethell Welborn Pritchett, who served as her maid of honor. “Anybody who has that amount of love for babies has to be a pure heart. Her whole life was an open book and she shared it with everyone. There’s no kinder, gentler soul than Brenda.”

A celebration of life service was held Thursday, March 17, 2022, at the First Baptist Church in Morganfield with the Rev. Jeff McMain officiating. Visitation was held Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at Whitsell Funeral Home in Morganfield and until service time on Thursday at the church. Burial was in Odd Fellows Cemetery in Morganfield.

Memorial donations can be made in Brenda’s honor to AFTD, University of Kentucky Memory Disorders Clinic, UK Medical Center, 224 Charles T. Washington Bldg., 800 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40536 or God’s Little Lambs, 220 N. Morgan St., Morganfield, KY 42437.

Whitsell Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.

Healer of bodies, minds and souls

John Glenn Creel is a family doctor that runs his own practice, Walterboro Adult & Pediatric Medicine, and is chief of the Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe of SC and pastor of his own church, Little Rock Holiness Church.
“I try to use my time wisely. When I’m sitting, I just can’t sit.”

Chief of SC’s Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe also serves as family doctor and pastor

John Glenn Creel is the owner of Walterboro Adult and Pediatric Medicine, where he’s a family medicine physician. He’s also chief of the Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe, which numbers 756 members, and pastor of Little Rock Holiness Church in Cottageville, S.C. Photo by Milton Morris.

What’s the best way to address a man whose been pastor at his hometown church for the past 25 years, is a longtime family physician and chief of one of the state’s largest Native American tribes?   

         “Servant,” says John Glenn Creel, who has always called Colleton County home. He and his wife, Charlene, still live in a house next to his parents, where a midwife delivered him on Halloween as “Andy Griffith” played on the TV.

         As a child, he struggled in math and reading and he even repeated the fourth grade. His goal of becoming a doctor seemed unattainable.

         “I just thought it wouldn’t be possible being a minority and a minority in a very rural community,” he says. “We had limited income, limited resources. We’re Native Americans, but we’re not federally recognized. That was a big obstacle.”

         As chief of the Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe, which numbers 756 members, it’s his goal to achieve that federal recognition, clearing the way to access for federal grants. That money can be used to expand the hours and services provided at the non-profit Four Holes Edisto-Natchez-Kusso Indian Free Clinic he operates, as well as build a new museum and help teach “future generations who we are and to be proud of who we are.”

         That’s important, says the father of three.

         “I’ve done the best to try and balance things and keep the focus on the family. That’s how it was with my parents. We were always together. Family’s important. So is being in a small community. It’s not the just the family and parents that raise the child, it’s the village or the community. And our communities have always been close-knit.”

         Being a self-described “master delegator” helps him manage a full schedule. His mind is in constant motion, even when he gets away for one of his favorite activities — hunting.

         “I’m probably the only one that will sit in a deer stand and do continuing medical education questions,” Creel says. “I try to use my time wisely. When I’m sitting, I just can’t sit. I can prepare sermons when I sit in the stand.”

         Faith is a constant companion during a life that hasn’t always been easy. The first of their three children, John Charles, was born with spina bifida. Doctors didn’t believe he’d live past the age of 2. “JC” is now 37 and ministers alongside his father. Charlene was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2020.

         “Part of this life for Christ is to carry that cross,” Creel says. “I don’t mind carrying the cross, because it’s wonderful. Sometimes you’ll begin to feel the weight of that cross. It’s then that I’ll say, ‘Lord, I need your help.’ And then He gives grace. It’s the touch of his hand that makes the difference.”


Getting to know Glenn Creel

John Glenn Creel

Age: 54 (birthdate 10-30-1967)

Hometown: Cottageville, S.C.

Claim to fame: In 2020, he was elected chief of the Edisto Natchez-Kusso Native American Tribe of South Carolina and, for the past 25 years, he’s served as pastor of Little Rock Holiness Church in Cottageville.

Day job: He’s owner of Walterboro Adult and Pediatric Medicine, where he’s a family medicine physician and mentors students as an associate professor of family medicine for his alma mater, the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Co-Op Affiliation: Creel is a member of the Coastal Electric Co-Op in Walterboro, S.C.


Editor’s Note: version of this SC Stories profile was featured in the October 2021 issue of South Carolina Living, a magazine that is distributed 11 times a year to more than 1 million South Carolinians by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina.