Gordon Brewer – Bedford
September 23, 1928 – August 20, 2017
While people come into the world in different shapes and forms, some souls are born into this world being too illimitable to be content in one place. And so it was that one cool autumn day, a young man left his native Ontario and took off for adventure… and adventure he did find.
Gordon Brewer was born on September 23, 1928 in the small paper mill town of Iroquois Falls, Ontario, Canada, to Donald and Marjorie (Salisbury) Brewer. He was one of a team of siblings of English, Dutch, and Acadian heritage, an ancestry that was apparent in their tall stature and devotion to afternoon high tea. As a teenager, Gordon struck out west on a journey that would eventually lead him to serve in both the Canadian Provost Corps and the United States Army. An aviator at heart, he flew a Westland Lysander for the Canadian forces and a Lockheed P-38 Lightning for the United States in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Surviving armed conflict might be enough of a daring feat for some, but not Gordon. One afternoon in 1955, while traveling cross-country looking for work, he happened to lock eyes with a blue-eyed girl in Indiana, and his life forever changed. On June 13, 1955, he took his lunch break to marry Anna Lee Riddle, and together they set out on the adventure of a lifetime: raising a family.
Through homes in Indiana, Illinois, and Canada, Gordon and Anna Lee raised five unique and close-knit children… a journey that included camping trips, fishing, swimming in the frigid lakes of the Great North, and holding a proper Episcopal funeral for a mole. Then in 1969, Gordon was offered a job at Central Foundry (GM) in the booming limestone town of Bedford, so they moved their brood to Southern Indiana. Gordon would go on to continue his career as a master electrician through IBEW Local #16 until his retirement. In his leisure time, Gordon could be found hanging around the Grissom Municipal Airport, at the Ham Club toying with radios and antennas, in his garden growing roses and tomatoes, or at the library voraciously reading almost every book in their collection.
Life in Lawrence County was never dull for the Brewer clan. There Gordon and Anna Lee became active community members: St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bedford Masonic Lodge #14 F&AM, Bedford Elks Grand Lodge #826 BPOE, and Hoosier Hills Ham Club were but a few of the many organizations where Gordon and Anna Lee devoted time to both work and play. Later in life, Gordon was especially active in American Legion Gillen Post #33, where his duties included, but were not limited to: Commander, Chaplain, Chef de Gare of the 40&8, leadership of the educational scholarship programs, successful creation and oversight of the bingo program, and making sure on every Memorial Day that every fallen soldier in Lawrence County was recognized with a flag.
Bedford is where Gordon and Anna Lee became proud grandparents to Rebecca, James, Mandy, Lindsay, Shannon, Erica, Lauren, Jennifer, Adam, Bryan, Kayla, Justin, Jessica, Bradley, Cassandra, and Sara; doting great-grandparents to 18 (with one more on the way!); and the loving adoptees of countless furry friends. It was in these rolling hills where, together with his best friend and partner-in-crime Anna Lee, Gordon built an incredibly rich life filled with laughter, service, celebration, loss, mourning, teaching, love, lots of coffee, and plenty of electrical tape… a decades-long legacy that will withstand the test of time.
And yet, sometimes even two countries and eighty-eight years isn’t enough to contain a truly indomitable spirit. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, August 20, 2017, Gordon took his final flight home, where he is most certainly swigging hot coffee, making funny faces, and smiling as he was reunited with his beloved Anna Lee; his parents; brothers Rex and Arthur Edgar; sisters Gwendolyn and Carol; and great-granddaughter Leslie Jane.
Gordon is being sorely missed by his five children: daughters Toni Brewer of Bloomington and Tabbi Brewer (Steve Owens) of Mitchell; sons, Steven “Buz” Brewer and Sheppard (Donna) Brewer of Bedford, and Scott Brewer of Odon; siblings – sister Joyce of Wisconsin, and Art, Ian, Heather, and sisters-in-law Doris, Annelie, and Gladys, all of Canada; his grandchildren – who affectionately referred to him as “The Grump”; his great-grandchildren; his brothers-in-arms “down at the Post”; his fellow “hams” at the Hoosier Hills Ham Club; and dozens of cousins, nieces and nephews all over North America.
Arrangements are being overseen by Day & Carter and the American Legion. A private family service with full military honors will be held at Cresthaven Memory Gardens. Friends and family are all invited to join us as we celebrate Gordon’s life at the American Legion Gillen Post #33 on Saturday, September 2nd from 12:00 Noon – 3:00 p.m.
The Brewer Family wishes to express their profound thanks to: the incredible staff of IU Health – Bloomington Hospital Oncology and Palliative Care Departments, and of Hospice House in Bloomington, who helped guide us through this unexpected journey; and Danny Beaver and American Legion Post #33.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial contributions to either the American Cancer Society and/or the American Legion educational scholarships program.