Thomas Michael Brender
Thomas Michael Brender, a long time resident of Cordele, GA, left behind this world in order to be with his Lord and Savior on September 11, 2020. He was born on March 14, 1954 in Saginaw, MI to his parents, Dr. Frederich Brender and Antoniette Ogurkowski Brender of Frankenmuth, MI. Both parents pre-deceased him in 1974 and 2010 respectively. Mr. Brender is the youngest of five siblings, brothers Fred Brender of Flushing, MI; John Brender (deceased). His older sisters are Charlotte Greenlee of Lake City ,MI and Elizabeth Schneider (deceased). Mr. Brender leaves behind his beloved wife, Verena Birgit (Biggi) Brender, his beloved step-daughter Nicole H. (Bruce) White of Davison, MI, his beloved step-son Stephen Michael Bruce of Fredricksburg, VA, and Louie, his dog. Mr. Brender married Verena Anschuetz and her family on January 25, 1980 in Heilbronn, Germany. He is also survived by 8 grandsons and two granddaughters. He was also blessed with a great grandson.
While growing up, Mr. Brender attended Kindergarten through 8th grade at St. Lorenz Lutheran School until 1968 when he attended Frankenmuth HIgh School in Frankenmuth, MI. While there, he lettered in football and participated in other sports until his graduation in 1972. He then attended Alpena Community College in Alpena, MI from 1972 through 1974 where he earned an associate in applied science degree in law enforcement. From 1974-1976, he attended Ferris State College in Big Rapids, MI where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice as well as a certificate of basic law enforcement training for a police officer.
Mr. Brender’s entire adult life was committed to service in law enforcement. In 1973, he began working for the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office in Lake City, MI and worked there until 1977. During this time period, he rose from the position of Radio Operator/Jailer/Clerk to that of Marine Deputy and finally full deputy with the agency. In late 1977 Tom took on the position of police officer with the Tittabawassee Twp. Police Department in Freeland, MI. In September of 1977, he joined the United States Army. Following basic and advanced training, he served as a military policeman in the Heilbronn and Bamberg area in Germany until his separation in 1980. In 1981 Tom returned to school at Eastern Michigan University and remained there until 1982 when he took on a position with the Greenville County Detention Center in Greenville, SC. In July 1983, Tom took on employment with the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles and opened the Cordele Parole Office that same year. He remained serving Cordele and surrounding counties as a senior parole officer until his retirement in 2015. During his time here, Tom attempted to promote cooperation and interaction between all other law enforcement agencies in the Crisp County area.
Tom grew up in Scouting, becoming an Eagle Scout and completing the Order of the Arrow Ordeal. Throughout life, Tom paid it forward with decades of service in Cordele’s scouting community, helping to grow many young men of character.
In 1996 Tom was appointed to participate with the S.O.L.E.C. Law Enforcement Team for the Olympics in Atlanta, GA. In 2004 he again served in a law enforcement operation at the G8 Summit on St. Simons Island, GA. Tom was a longtime member of The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, where he served in numerous positions promoting boating and marine safety. He had a passion for boating and sailing. He loved to sing, performing with the First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir for many years in special concerts, and later as a full member of the ensemble.
A memorial service will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 in the chapel of Rainey Family Funeral Services, with Lee Guerry officiating. The family will receive friends at the funeral home starting at 12:00 p.m. Tom has requested that his ashes be scattered somewhere in Northern Michigan at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the following would please Tom and the family; USCG Benevolent Fund, Midway UMC, Cordele First UMC, Patient Advocate Fund of Hampton, Virginia. An online register is available at www.raineyfuneral.com.