Former teacher enjoys time with her friends

Brenda Angel poses outside their house in the outdoor kitchen area.

Trent Penny

Brenda Angel spent years in a classroom and later in an office advising students at Oxford High School. She started out teaching English and later counseled seniors.  She loved working at Oxford and assisting students in making college and career choices. She said she had some sharp students and enjoy keeping up with many of them.

Brenda graduated from Jacksonville High School and received a master’s in business education with an add-on in guidance counseling from Jacksonville State University. She did her student teaching in Oxford and taught there until her son was born. Then her daughter came along, and she stayed home another two years. She returned to teaching in the Calhoun County System and then in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. When she returned to Jacksonville, she was hired back at Oxford High School where she retired after teaching there for 18 years. Brenda said she took her job as a teacher and counselor personally. She wanted to help students get on the right track at a young age and think about their lives after high school. She wanted them to be ready for college and their future.

Making the decision to retire wasn’t easy for her. She had reached a point in her life where she wanted to spend more time with her family. Grandbabies were coming along, and she wanted to enjoy them and have more time with her two children, Brad and Amy, and her husband, Gary.

About that time, Amy told her mother that she wanted a second child. She asked Brenda if she would keep it. Brenda ended up keeping Zoe, now a second grade student at Kitty Stone, until she entered kindergarten.

“I have a tight bond with Zoe and really missed her when she started to kindergarten,” Brenda said.

Amy also has a son, Wilson, an eighth-grader at Jacksonville High. Brad and his wife, the former Summer Welch, have four children. Drew and Camryn both attend Gadsden State, Parker lives with his mother in Germany and is a junior at an American high school there, and Lillie Mae is in the seventh grade at Donoho.

Brenda is the only child of the late Dan and Agnes (Kilgore) Walker. In elementary school, she took piano lessons from a Mrs. Ingram for about five years. She remembers walking with other students from Jacksonville Elementary to Ingram’s house one day a week to take lessons. She recently retired from about 20 years of playing the piano at Angel Grove Baptist Church where she and Gary have been members most of their married lives.

She walks three days a week with her best friends from first grade, Susan Deerman and Sandra Stone. She’s in a supper club with some of her best friends and their husbands. The only way one can be in the club is to still be married to his or her original spouse. Most members attended Jacksonville Elementary and JHS and are longtime friends. They meet at their homes or restaurants. Brenda also enjoys cooking and reading.

She and Gary will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Aug. 18. They were friends for many years but didn’t start dating until Gary, a star basketball player at JSU, needed a date for a basketball banquet. His coach told all the players that if they didn’t get a date, he’d find them one.

Brenda was head cheerleader at JHS. He saw her cheering and asked her if she’d go to the banquet with him. She agreed to go, and the rest is history.  They dated the next two years before getting married. She was his biggest fan and followed all of his games.

Brenda said she’s had a good life. Cooking is one of her hobbies. She shares some of her recipes.

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8 chicken thighs, rinsed and skinned        

½ cup Russian dressing    ¼ cup soy sauce        2 tablespoons instant minced onions        

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoon water

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper

   Place chicken in a large, shallow baking dish. Combine all ingredients and pour over chicken, turning chicken to coat well.  Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours (overnight is fine).   Turn occasionally. Remove chicken from marinade and arrange on grill coated with cooking spray.  Grill over slow coals 45 to 50 minutes or until chicken is tender. Turning and baste with marinade every 15 minutes.  


My mother-in-law Dora Sue Angel taught me how to cook.  This is her apple cake recipe.

1 ½ cups Wesson Oil

2 cups sugar

3 eggs            3 cups flour            1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

3 cups thinly diced apples   

   Combine oil and sugar. Add eggs and beat. Add flour, soda and salt. Add vanilla, nuts and apples. You pretty much have to stir in the apples because the mixture is quite thick. Spray tube pan with Bakers Joy and add mixture. Bake in preheated 300 degree oven for 1 ½ hours.

Caramel Icing

1 stick real butter        1 ½ cup brown sugar        ½ cup white sugar        ½ cup powdered sugar

½ cup Pet Milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

10 marshmallows

   Cook everything except vanilla and marshmallows on medium high heat until it reaches a soft ball stirring frequently. Remove from eye and add marshmallows & flavoring. The hard part is to get it to a consistency to stay on the cake. I stir it a lot.  Let it sit some Spread on cake (should not be runny). Fill the center hole with the caramel.  


2 cups sugar            3 tablespoons butter        1 cup Pet Milk

1 cup miniature marshmallows

12 oz. crunchy Jiff Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

   Cook sugar, butter and Pet Milk on medium high heat until it reaches a soft ball.

   Remove from heat and add peanut butter, marshmallows and vanilla. Combine well and pour into buttered rectangle Pyrex dish.

   Cool and cut into squares.