Brenda Rakoczy

brenda rakoczy

Safe and at peace in the hands that bear the nail prints. Brenda L. Rakoczy went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Sunday, June 20, 2010. Brenda Lee Gross was born September 23, 1962 in New Iberia, Louisiana to David and Janice (Hughes) Gross. She Graduated from Orange Park High School and immediately thereafter joined the United States Air Force.

Brenda served overseas in Hawaii and England before being stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base where she retired honorably. While stationed at Grand Forks, Brenda met the love of her life, Thomas J. Rakoczy. They married November 14, 1986 in Reynolds, ND.

Though she loved the Air Force passionately, Brenda's greatest joy and achievement was loving and caring for their three children: Carly, Sydney, & Mandi. Additionally, she was involved with the ARC Upper Valley, Grand Forks, and worked on legislation mandating insurance coverage for individuals who suffer from PKU.

Through many trials and tribulations she remained strong in the Lord and continued to share His loving grace, mercy, and joy with everyone she met.  She never met a stranger, only a new friend.

Brenda is survived by her husband, Thomas, daughters: Sydney and Mandi; mother, Janice Gross, brothers: Michael of Seattle, Washington; Mark of Valparaiso, Indiana; sisters: Victoria (Ron) Garcia, of Duchesne, Utah; Donna Davis, of Titusville, Florida; Holly (Joseph) Schwarz of Burke, Virginia.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Carly, her father David, father-in-law Walter, niece Laura and great nephew Tavarious.

The family would ask that gifts be given to one of the following ministries: FaHoCha Bible Camp, 8799 21st St. NE Warwick ND, 58381 & Child Evangelism Fellowship of Manvel, ND 58256.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Grand Forks ND
    I am saddened by the news of Brenda, I hope she has found the peace she has so long searched for. My heart goes out to Tom and the girls.

  2. Duchesne UtahTO my Sister, my friend, no words can express the pain and loss that I feel at loosing my baby sister Bren Bren as I have always called you. You were the light and joy in my life and now that light has been diminished by your passing. The imense pain I feel at loosing you is overwhelming. The selfish part of me wants you back every second of every day, but the Christian part of me knows that you are restored in the loving hands of our God. I pray that he will stand vigil over Tom, Sydney, Mandi and the rest of our family to guide us thru this umbearable time of grieve. To all of my family I LOVE YOU. To Bren Bren may you be happy in the loving arms of our God and I WILL see you again.

  3. Longs SCTom (and daughters),

    I am truly so sorry to hear about your loss. We haven’t spoken in many years, but my heart goes out to you at this time.

    I hope that the wonderful memories you built with Brenda will comfort and sustain you in time to come. May God be with all of you always.


    J. Paige Freeland

  4. East Grand Forks MN
    Brenda has been a long time friend from our time in the military at Grand Forks AFB. I will remember her for the caring love she had for her family and true concern for others. I cannot express my sorrow for her and the family! We will all miss her.


  5. Orange Park FL.Dear Tom and Family,
    We are thinking of you and our thoughts and prayers are with you at this very sad time.
    Brenda you were so sweet and caring and we will always remember you and that gorgousl smile. Thank you for all your beautiful, uplifting Christmas cards over the years.We will miss you and you will always remain in our hearts.
    With deepest sympathy,
    Bill and Tiny Nulty
    Orange Park, Florida

  6. Fargo North Dakota
    Tom and family.
    I am so sorry for your loss. I have 2 PKU children. I met Brenda and worked with her on getting the PKU legislation passed in North Dakota
    . We testified together many times over the years. She was the best advocate we could have ever had. She will be missed by all the families that she helped so much through her tireless efforts. She was a wonderful person and was taken from you much too soon. My sincere condolences to you. Renee Christians

  7. Grand Forks ND
    Dear Tom, Sydney and Family
    Our prayers go out to you at this very sad times. We have all loss a very precious gift today. We all love Brenda. Please let the Lord carry you through this tough time and know that we are here for you if you need us. Sydney please take care. Your friend Kristine is very concern about you and is here if you need her. We love you all Our deepest prayers go out to you all in this time of sadness. Love LT, Debbie and Kristine

  8. Fleming Island Fl 32003 Tom and family my Prayers and thougts go out to you during this difficult time. Brenda was the most amazing person and touched my life in many ways. Our friendship began in elementary school and we reconnected during our 20 year high school reunion. She was amazing! She never forgot a face or name and her smile and kind words were always sincere. She was an amazing Angel of God and I will truly miss her!
    Love you Brenda thanks for your friendship and being the person you were you touched my Heart and life!

  9. Fargo ND
    Tom and girls,
    My deepest, heartfelt sympathy to all of you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
    I will miss my friend Brenda and her awesome hugs. She had so much compassion for other people. I learned a lot from her and she helped me get my ducks in a row in regard to my sons IEP. I will miss our lunches and visits when she would come to the VA.
    Please take care.

  10. Grand Forks We knew and worked with Brenda while stationed at Grand Forks AFB. Since, then, our paths crossed several times throughout the years. She was always a joy to be around. We were both saddened to hear of her passing. May God bless her forever.

  11. Grand Forks ND
    Tom, Sydney, and Mandy – My heart goes out to all of you during this sad time. It is my prayer that you are comforted by many great memories and that you will always hear her encouraging voice and her loving arms around you, cheering you on in this life. God bless you and give you peace during this most difficult time.

  12. fargo ndBig r I am sorry to hear about your loss. I never met your wife but through our talks I understood how important both your wife and children are to you. I hope that you will find peace in this time of sorrow. If I was not stationed at Mississippi I would tell you this in person. Sorry for your loss you have been a father figure to me throughout high school and I send you my grievances.

  13. Hickson ND
    Tom and Girls,
    My sincere condolences. Although, I’d only met Brenda once, it was so clear how much she loved her family as she advocated for her kids. Having such a nice young lady like Sydney as a student makes it clear that her parents are pretty special. My heart goes out to you. May the good memories bring you peace.
    Mary Anderson

  14. Larimore North Dakota
    We met Brenda on base years ago, and she was truly one of God’s best. We keep you in prayer.
    Barry and Nancy Kelly

  15. Detroit Lakes MN
    As I read the writing about Brenda the words, “She never met a stranger, only a new friend” stick out so strongly for me. I have many times wondered why someone that was a total stanger would out of the blue make flowers for a wedding, be the person you turn to when you needed a shoulder to cry on after only talking twice? She was an amazing, large hearted person who will be missed greatly. She is a person that has truely touched my life forever. Thank you for sharing her time on earth with me.
    Everytime we would talk via email, it was so plain how much she loved you girls and how she still felt you were her sole mate Tom. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  16. Doctors Inlet FLMy deepest condolences go out to Brenda’s family at this time. May you all find solace and comfort in the knowledge that she now resides in Our Father’s house. Brenda possessed such a heart and spirit that even though I had the misfortune of not seeing her since graduation, I have always counted her as Friend. Godspeed, beautiful Brenda. Thank you personally for enriching my life with your friendship~and on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your service to our country~till we meet again “when the roll is called up yonder” you will remain in my heart~

  17. tacoma wai love you lots brenda i will never forget everything you did for me when i lost my dad you are such an amzing friend. i will miss you greatly

  18. Arvilla ND
    Tom and Family,

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family. It’s been many years since I’ve seen Brenda and you… Back in the Lari more days… I will always remember Brenda’s kind heart, beautiful smile, and sincere hugs… What a special person she was… no more pain and suffering for her… she is in heaven with Carly… they are together again. Hold on to the memories… it is these memories that help us through the “tough” days. I will always hold Brenda in my heart…
    Take care and God Bless,
    Jennifer Olson

  19. Naples FloridaTom, you and your girls became so dear to me as you adopted mom and dad into your family. The spiritual companionship with dad was deep and pure. The continued guidance and support for mom was one of her most important parts of the day. “I have to go…Tom is going to call me from the road while he is driving home.” How do we accept the loss of a beloved one when we feel they had so much more to give to our lives. There is always just one more thing we wanted to do…”Just one more and I’ll be ready”…but we are never ready and our breath is sucked out for a time. May the “peace that passeth understanding” settle your hearts in the days and weeks ahead.

  20. Grand Forks My deepest condolences to Brenda’s family. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. She was loved by all and will definitely be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  21. Reynolds ND
    Tom, Sydney and Mandi, My heart breaks for you. I know the feeling of losing a piece of your heart. God will be there for you, hold you while you cry, carry you when you think you can not go another day and will help heal that emptiness in your hearts. I don’t know why God takes home young, vibrant loved souls but I do know that Brenda will be singing with the angels. I know it has been said thousands of times in her guest book but she really was the most loving, caring, passionate person I have ever met. Her love for people was unbelievable and has given me goals to follow even just a small path that she has walked. I admired her greatly. I still sit in unbelief from losing Carly and my husband Tim and now Brenda all at such young ages. I do feel that their mission was completed and is now being rewarded in heaven with God. My prayers will be with you daily. God bless you

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