“He lived, he laughed, he loved, he left … and the world will never be the same.”
Richard Brooke Brewer died peacefully at home on the morning of Aug. 15, 2012. He was surrounded by family and friends who adored him—with good reason. Dick was one of the world’s most kind and gentle people: a great dad, stepfather, uncle, granddad, brother and friend. He was ever ready with a listening ear, thoughtful advice and the wisdom of a seasoned life traveler, all delivered with true self-effacing wit and humor, for which he will be so fondly remembered. The Southern accent from his upbringing in Virginia was just frosting on the cake. Those of us who counted Dick as a friend have had our lives forever enhanced.
Dick was a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974. He earned an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University in 1984. Dick’s professional life was focused on the biotech field, where his acuity, leadership skills and innovativeness were highly valued. David Gryska, a longtime colleague of Dick’s, described him in effusive terms: “Dick Brewer was a one-of-a-kind trailblazer and visionary who made an indelible mark on the biotech industry, and on the lives of the many colleagues he inspired and influenced, the family and friends who he loved and enjoyed, and patients who benefited from his risk-taking work and advocacy. “
Dick was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, in 2001. He dealt with his illness as he did with all life events, with remarkable grace and equanimity. In true Dick fashion, he was a genuine outlier, surviving almost twice as long as the average life expectancy for people with the disease. With unfailing optimism and great confidence in his medical advisors, Dick tried many experimental and aggressive therapeutic regimens that extended his own life and will guide others in the future.
In addition to pursuing his passions as a health advocate and industry leader and mentor, Dick’s life was immensely enriched by his love of family (with his five grandchildren at the top of the list) as well as friends, fast cars, airplanes, photography, worldwide travel and downtime in favorite locales: Sun Valley, Idaho; Lake Shasta; Lake Tahoe; and his home in Santa Cruz. The stories of trips in his motor coach, the Road House, are the stuff of legends!
Dick is survived by his loving wife, Julie; his sons, Tyler and Matt, and their wives, Terra and Kortney, and their mother, Debbie; stepson, Christopher, and stepdaughter, Noelle; his sister, Carolyn, and his brother, Boots; and his five grandchildren, Paxton, Layton, Nathan, Lincoln and Stella. Lastly are the legions of friends, business colleagues and extended family who will always smile with the memory of a special Dick moment.
A celebration of Dick’s life will be held at Piedmont Community Church, 400 Highland Ave., Piedmont, Calif., on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 11 a.m. A luncheon reception will follow at 11 Sierra Ave., Piedmont.
Donations in memory of Dick can be made to George Mark Children’s House and the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research.