Sky Scene 06

Brenda Robinson Hancock

1940 ~ 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old


​Brenda Robinson Hancock was born in Corcoran, California on May 19, 1940, to Mary and Otto Robinson, as the oldest of six children.  She was a long-time resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, and also lived part-time in Patzcuaro, Mexico for eighteen years.She died of cancer in Seattle on May 2nd, 2023. At the time of her passing she was surrounded, supported, and deeply loved by her family who had been caring for her at home in her last months.      

Brenda was dedicated to public service and cared passionately about making improvements in policy, service, and tools for citizens and employees, especially in the areas of jobs, training, pay, and equity. Brenda was the Director of Human Resources for Salt Lake City Government from 1996 to 2006. Over her career, she worked for four mayors, two governors, and several County Commissioners. She was the first Manager of the Utah Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Brenda was an active leader in several professional associations including the Utah Women’s Forum, Utah Women’s Political Caucus, and the Equal Rights Coalition. She received many awards for her service including the Susa Young Gates Award, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce Pathfinder, and Oustanding Alumna of the University of Utah Department of Communication. She was known and admired for her intelligence, leadership, integrity, and fairness. Brenda was deeply proud of her work innumerous . ​

Education was one of Brenda’s core values. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California (where she was named the Outstanding Senior Woman); an M.A. from the University of Illinois; completed additional graduate studies at the University of Southern California; and later earned a PhD from the University of Utah. Brenda also taught at the University of the Pacific, California State University at Hayward, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Utah.

​In her life, Brenda was known for her storytelling (often dramatic interpretations), contagious laugh, love of good food and conversation, compassion for others, and her passion and dedication to the causes and values in which she believed. She had a sense of humor and wit that shone through even in her last hours. Brenda was remarkably able to get through various bouts with cancer and other serious illnesses with courage and a great attitude. She believed in and exemplified ardent feminism, for which her daughter will always be grateful. As a mother, she also imparted and modeled a committment to compassion, equality, fairness, and honesty. She was a true friend to many, a caring and loving wife, mother, sister, and proud grandmother. She was also a lifelong proud Democrat. 

Brenda is survived by her beloved husband Joel Hancock, adored daughter Marisa Hancock (Tori Wadzita), and grandson Ruben.  She is also survived by her loving sisters Barbara Robinson, Margaret Beck (James), brother Gary Robinson (who selflessly went above and beyond to provide comfort and care in her last illness), and by her sister-in-law Karen Zumbado (Steve Wirick), along with many dear nieces, nephews, and beloved friends in Mexico and the US. She will be missed immensely.


 ​A memorial will be held at 12 pm on Thursday, June 1st, 2023, at the Rose House/Garden at Red Butte Gardens in Salt Lake City.

Those who wish to honor Brenda with donations might consider Utah chapters of the YWCA and Planned Parenthood, or others devoted to health and human rights.


To share your condolences and memories of Brenda, please visit her Tribute Wall, located above. 

- Care Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home -