Davis Lane Brewer, 92, passed away May 28, 2019. He was born October 12, 1926 in McComb Mississippi. He was predeceased by his wife of 66 years Helen Speer Brewer, his parents Isaiah Cremore Brewer and Mary Elizabeth Reeves, his sister Kate Elizabeth Brewer, brother James Anding Brewer, stepsister, Tressie Myrtle Brewer and stepbrother Traverse Rock Brewer. He lived most of his adult life in Norfolk and Virginia Beach but moved to Okeechobee, Florida, about 16 years ago and had recently returned to Virginia Beach.
Dave was a man of many interests and accomplishments. As a Boy Scout he became an Eagle Scout at age 15. As a high school student his lifelong interest in language and writing was noticed by his English teacher who recommended him to the McComb Daily Enterprise where he became the sportswriter with the byline Davis (Speck) Brewer. Speck for all the freckles he had. His biggest story was about the McComb football team winning against an undefeated rival in a game held in New Orleans. It would have been the front-page story but for an event in a place most people had never heard of; Pearl Harbor. America declared war and at the age of 17, Dave volunteered to serve in the US Navy. After training he was waiting to be shipped to the Pacific when news of Japan’s surrender came. He was one of the many revelers on Market Street in San Francisco.
The Navy trained him in radio electronics for which he had a remarkable affinity, hired first by American Overseas Airlines after the war, then Philco Electronics to work in that field. That job morphed into a civil service career as a field service engineer, a career that lasted 43 years. He managed the office of Avionics Supply for the US Navy for ComNavAirLant. He received The Superior Civilian Service Award, the second highest honorary award the Chief of Naval Operations can award a civilian. His career took him all over the world including Guam, Alaska, Greenland, Spain, Italy and Havana before Castro. His transport to these places included landing and taking off from carriers including USS America and USS Intrepid in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Viet Nam war.
As a young man, his parents taught him the importance of courtesy and of service to others. He never forgot to give pleasant and proper greetings to those he met, to be punctual and to keep his word. He was never late for a meeting. He did what he said he would do without complaint no matter how difficult the task, living his life with integrity. And he made sure his children learned these ideals. He provided a good life for his wife and children often denying his own wants and comfort. After all his children had left home, he finally allowed himself a few toys for his woodworking hobby.
After retirement Dave and Helen toured 49 states in their RV while they saw the country and Dave pursued his new passion for genealogy. He haunted libraries, courthouses and graveyards looking for information on his and Helen’s roots. In the end he was able to construct a remarkable family tree which took his family roots back to the early days of Jamestown. Dave’s work was a resource for many Brewers researching their family lines and he was contacted by people from all over the country for help with their genealogy.
Dave had many other interests as well. He was an avid reader who generously shared his books with friends and family. He bought a sailboat and took up sailing to keep his immediate family connected and served as Commodore of the Broad Bay Sailing Association. He raced and cruised all over the Chesapeake Bay and the Virgin Islands. He eventually owned 3 different boats two of which were named Falstaff (the choicest product of the Brewers’ art) He served in groups promoting genealogy and ham radio. He took up golf at age 70 and in Florida he helped organize daily games and tournaments at the course next to his home. He played every day until the last year of his life. He volunteered to help people in his senior’s community with their taxes each tax season. He loved technology and at the age of 92 cherished his computer and smart phone.
But above all Dave loved and enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He was a delightful person to know, generous with his time and advice. His conversation was rich with interesting stories of his life and adventures. He loved a good martini and enjoyed sharing it with you. He made the lives of those he touched happier and better for having known him.
Dave is survived by his son Michael Brewer (Hon. Deborah M Paxson), his daughter Mary Brewer Humphrey (Buddy), his son James Brewer (Linda), his grandson Jason Brewer and great granddaughter Lily Brewer. In addition, he is survived by nieces and nephew Katie Lou Broach, Stephanie Pearce, Leita Conner, Sherry Bohannon and Ricky Speer.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of Virginia Beach General Hospital for their care of Dave in the two weeks leading up to his death. They made heroic efforts to save his life and gave the family great comfort in their compassion and care for him.