Howard William Brewer, 94, of Twisp, passed away Feb. 17, 2017, at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, surrounded by loved ones.
Howard was born on Sept. 4, 1922, to parents William and Edith Brewer in Freeman, Missouri, and came to the Methow Valley with his parents when he was 2 years old. He attended school in Winthrop, graduating as salutatorian of his class in 1942.
Howard joined the military in 1942 during WWII with the intention to train as a pilot. The U.S. Army transferred him to the infantry, as the need for infantry was greater than the need for pilots. He was one of the “original” Methow Valley cross country skiers who traversed snow-covered country on wooden skis and was quite good at it, so he was sent to the ski troops. Both his feet were frozen on a training mission, so Howard was then assigned as a war K9 trainer and handler and later as a truck driver hauling supplies, personnel, and fuel to the front. He was with the Fighting 69th as they swept across Europe and was awarded several medals including the Bronze Star for spending several days behind enemy lines with a truck full of fuel and successfully rendezvousing with his tank battalion on the front lines. He was forever haunted by the piles of shoes at the death camps — men’s, women’s and especially children’s.
He married his first wife, Sannie Sue, in 1944 in Mississippi, and they had one daughter, Donna. They lived in Mississippi for a while, but Howard hated it there, so after the war they moved to the Methow Valley in 1946. Howard started working for the Wagner Lumber Mill for 95 cents an hour, the best starting wage in the valley. Howard married his second wife, Annabelle, in 1949. They had three children: Anna, Robert and Delores. In 2013 he was blessed with life partner, JoAnn Corfman.
In 1959 Howard became an amateur radio operator (ham) and was still active at his death. He had many ham friends around the United State and other countries. Howard loved being outdoors: prospecting in his younger years, hunting, fishing, riding snowmobiles, camping, hiking, motorcycle riding, and RVing. He passed his joy in these many things to his children and grandchildren. Howard loved building, tinkering, and solving problems and was always willing to lend a hand to someone who needed it. He loved helping people repair TVs and radios in his younger years, setting up antennas and answering technical questions.
He retired from the mill (Crown Zellerbach at that time) in 1982 as forklift driver. Howard remained involved in his community. He was thrilled to help set up Aero Methow Rescue Service’s ham emergency communications center.
He was active, exercising every day he could, smiling and enjoying life. He was fond of saying, “any day above ground is a good day.”
He was preceded in death by his wife, Annabelle, his son Robert, his daughter Delores, his grandson-in-law Dino, his brothers, his parents, and companion Bernice Clark.
Howard is survived by the love of his life and joy in his last four years, JoAnn, his daughters Donna (Gilbert) and Anna (Gary), his grandchildren Shari (Guy), Brian (Lisa), Jodi, Cory (Heather), great-grandchildren Angus, Dallas, Shay-Lynn, Aurora, Olivia, Aubrey, Finley, his sister Maxine, and several nieces and nephews. He was greatly loved and will be sorely missed.
Precht-Harrison-Nearants is in charge of arrangements.
There will be a celebration of his remarkable life in May or June, details to be published later. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Aero Methow Rescue Service’s emergency services or to the Methow Valley Senior Citizens, or perform a random act of kindness for a veteran.