Dear Paper and Ink Arts Family,
It is with great sadness that I share with you that our beloved Brenda Broadbent has passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. It is simply hard to imagine life at Paper and Ink without her. Brenda founded the business in 1981 and built it into a premier calligraphy supply store before retiring and selling it to our family in 2011. She graciously agreed to stay on as a mentor during our first year of business and attended the calligraphy shows and conferences with our team. Since meeting her at the IAMPETH convention in the summer of 2011 before the business changed hands, Brenda has become such an important person in my life. She started as a mentor and became a friend. Her encouragement and wisdom have been invaluable, and I will forever treasure (and miss) our time together at conferences and shows, our phone conversations, and our texts.
As I sat and watched the children’s movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium with my family last weekend, a quote from Edward Magorium struck a chord as Brenda was heavy on my mind. After explaining that Shakespeare chose to end King Lear with the words “he dies”, he goes on to say, “And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, but not because of the words ‘he dies’ but because of the life we saw prior to those words.” What a life we saw Brenda live! Not only was she an entrepreneur, but her gregarious personality made her beloved by so many. Brenda did not see the calligraphy community as merely customers of her business, she saw them as her friends. She was able to relate so many of their personal stories that had clearly been shared with her over the years.
She had an impressive work ethic and never shied away from the labor it took to run the many facets of Paper and Ink. Her ability to see a bigger picture and remember to have humor made an impression. She used to say that when she felt particularly stressed out, she would start to sing “Once Upon a Dream” from Sleeping Beauty. It lightened the mood, but it also let her honestly express her feelings in a recognizable way to those working alongside her. That honesty and authenticity carried over into all that she did, and it was refreshing to see. She was forthright in her communication, and she faced difficulties and setbacks head on.
Most of all, Brenda had one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever known. Learning to run a business can be a particularly challenging adventure, and Brenda was always there along the way with encouraging words and insight. She offered a balanced perspective and stayed a part of my life well after it was professionally necessary. She loved our family and our staff as if she’d known us forever. Her absence creates a void that cannot be filled by another. I will sincerely miss her greatly, and I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to know her. Rest well, sweet Brenda. May the blessing you were to so many bring comfort to those you leave behind.
Grace and peace,
Jennifer (on behalf of the entire staff of Paper and Ink Arts)