William A. Brower Jr.
1948 - 2021
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William A. Brower, Jr., a Toledo native who became a force on the Washington jazz scene as a writer, producer, sound technician, and advocate, died Monday in Georgetown University Hospital. He was 72.

He had a stroke about two years ago and afterward lived at Forest Hills of DC senior community, said his daughter Tina Brower-Thomas.

In a Black History Month feature, the DC Jazz festival on Feb. 19 presented an online salute to Mr. Brower, commending him for "his dedication to jazz artists and organizations in our community."

Mr. Brower, called Billy by family and Toledo friends, moved to Washington in 1971 after graduating from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He returned frequently for family visits and then for tributes in honor of his trailblazing parents - Louise Brower, a longtime Toledo Public Schools educator who upon becoming Scott High School principal in 1975 was the first woman to lead a large metropolitan high school in Ohio, and William A. Brower, an award-winning Blade editor and columnist who was the newspaper's first Black reporter when he was hired in 1946.

In 2014, when Scott High's theater was named for his mother, Mr. Brower said his parents were part of the "Jackie Robinson generation," referring to the first Black player in Major League Baseball. His mother died in 2003.

After his father's 2004 death, Mr. Brower said: "My dad, my mom, they were part of that historical process ... part of the generation that knew what they were doing was historically important and they were proud to do it."

Willard Jenkins, a journalist, broadcaster, and artistic director of the DC Jazz Festival, said: "Bill would talk about his father's writing having been very influential on him."

Born May 9, 1948, Mr. Brower grew up in the Westmoreland neighborhood of central Toledo and attended Robinson School. His parents ensured he was exposed to music and art - and he kept a record collection from junior high onward, he told Mr. Jenkins in a 2014 interview.

He was a 1966 graduate of Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio. After graduating Antioch, he became a Washington community organizer while also writing about jazz for Downbeat magazine and other publications. He was an occasional broadcaster and in time became a fixture on the local jazz scene.

"He was very important. He was a producer and stage manager for a variety of different projects," Mr. Jenkins said.

An early project was a festival that featured Miles Davis. His work also introduced him to many of the artists he'd listened to since his youth, including Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. He was a producer for the annual jazz day at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation annual meeting. For years, he also was a stage manager of the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

"Bill Brower forged his own path," said Eric Walker, who also grew up in Westmoreland, "so he kind of followed in his father's footsteps. It wasn't the same career, but in that sense he was his father's son."

His daughter said: "He was always making connections between music, history, civil rights, and the diaspora. It was about the music being shared, about the experience of the audience, and the power of the music."

He was a member of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, working at such venues as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to support his family.

"But he still kept his hand in jazz," his daughter said.

Mr. Jenkins said: "He learned about the music and found a home and forever thereafter had a real thirst for the music."

He was formerly married to the late Anita Hillman Brower.

Surviving are his son, Karl Brower, and daughter, Tina Brower-Thomas.

Arrangements by McGuire Funeral Service, Washington, are pending.

This is a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at mzaborney@theblade.com.
Published in The Blade on Apr. 14, 2021.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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Funeral service
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Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
26 entries
April 25, 2021
Thank you for sharing Bill’s obituary with the New Orleans Advocate. Bill was so hip, kind, humorous and loving. Every interaction with him was memorable.
My condolences for your loss.
With love
Leslie Compton Johnson
Leslie Compton Johnson
Friend
April 24, 2021
Brower, you are missed dearly.
The OZ Jazz Tent has never been the same.
Mary Leach
April 24, 2021
Bill was both a good friend, and a genius. His energy was infectious and unrestricted. I wish that we had more time with him.
Mike Skehan
Friend
April 23, 2021
Bill was a wonderful friend and partner. I met him while running the CBCF External Affairs department. Bill, the production team, and I spent many hours on the phone putting shows together. He always had a kind word of support and so many creative ideas. He made the CBCF Jazz Concert a “must attend” event for so many. He was a loyal and supportive colleague and friend. May God Bless and Keep you, Bill, and your family.
Krisa Haggins
Coworker
April 23, 2021
Comfort Planter
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Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Krisa Haggins
April 23, 2021
BILL WAS ONE OF A KIND----AND A VERY KIND ONE!! MAY ALLAH REWARD HIM PARDISE.PEACE MY FRIEND....WILL MEET YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE. WALI
WALI ABDEL-RAOOF
Friend
April 22, 2021
William A. Brower Jr. was a dear friend of mine for more than 50 years. We became friends in college in the 1960s at Antioch College and Central State University during our radical, leftist, marxist years, and followers of our mentor the late Professor Robert Rhodes. We continued our friendship over the years as Bill became a noted writer and Jazz Historian. I will forever cherish our lives together. Go well Karl, Tina, and condolences to the family.
Love, Michael Lasley, April 18, 2021
Michael Lasley
Friend
April 22, 2021
What an honor to know the incredible Bill Brower...I met Bill over 30 years ago at CBC while working at ASCAP. He took a chance on me to be the Voice of God at the biggest CBC events and awards and that opportunity paved the way for many more years as official VOG for most of his productions for the Caucus. Thank you Bill for sharing your extraordinary life with so many. All our memories are unique but we all share a love and admiration that will never go away. I am so grateful I can also call you a friend who will forever live on in my heart. Suffer no more but rest in perfect peace. Light and love to Tina, Karl and all family and friends during this time.
Esther
Lady Esther Green
Friend
April 21, 2021
I grew up across the street from the Brower family in Toledo in the late 50s and 60s. Billy was a few years older and I remember when he went away to Cleveland for high school. I idolized his dad, who became a great influence to my eventual journalistic career. I'm sad to hear of Billy's passing.
Marsha Bonhart
Neighbor
April 19, 2021
Eco-Friendly Memorial Trees
Plant Memorial Trees
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Jerry King
April 19, 2021
Eternal Affection Arrangement- BASKET INCLUDED
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
KHALID
April 19, 2021
I am deeply saddened by the loss of this GREAT MAN! It has been a privilege to call him a friend. I met Bill when he was the stage manager of the Jazz tent @ The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He gave me back stage passes for 4 or 5 years in a row. This allowed me to watch and learn for all the worlds greatest Jazz drummers, up close and personal. One of the best gifts anyone has ever given me! Bill's generosity gave me the best musical education of my life. I owe Bill a debt of gratitude and a vote of thanks for giving me that opportunity! My sincere condolences to the family for your loss.
Long live Bill Brower! LoveYou My Brother. Many thanks
Charles Mitchell Jr.
Friend
April 19, 2021
Billy! This is hard. I heard the news on Katea'sshow on WPFW while driving to work and had to stop for a minute. I always thought Bill had some special energy that would keep him going indefinitely. He was one of the smartest, sweetest, most generous,and wickedly funny dudes I've ever known.I worked with Bill at Olsson's Record and Tape from '82 - '85 and he was something of a mentor to me. I was already a jazz fan, but he opened my ears with his broad appreciation of great Black music: within one conversation he turned me on to new releases from David Murray to Anita Baker. I designed a poster for a Monk tribute concert he produced at Howard U. and he proudly displayed my paper mock-up in his art, music, and book crammed row house on 2nd St. He got me tickets on my birthday to see Miles at the Capital City Jazz Fest and blew my mind. I would arrange to run into him at the CBC concerts he produced and he always lifted my spirits with his sly humor, perceptiveness, and good-natured cynicism - always pushing ahead.The last time I ran into him about three years ago, he sat with us for a bite at Twins Jazz. Still hustling, he was heading off to other after hours gigs, listening, writing. So sorry I lost touch after that and didn't know he'd had a stroke. What a loss for DC and all who were lucky enough to knowhim. Peace, brother Bill! I miss you, Lew
Lewis Schlitt
Friend
April 18, 2021
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived. 1Cor.1:3-4
April 18, 2021
I recognized him when I saw today’s obits. It took me a while to remember why he looked familiar. Bill was a frequent volunteer in the Jazz Tent at the New Orleans Jazz and heritage festival. My husband and I have gone to jazz fest for many years and we even saw Bill on one of our airplane flights to or from New Orleans. Bill was devoted to jazz and he seemed to know everyone! My husband and I will miss seeing him when we next go to jazz fest, hopefully in October 2021.
Marie Spaulding
Acquaintance
April 18, 2021
We got to know Bill at NO Jazzfest. He took part in our Jazzfestival "Ingolstädter Jazztage" in Ingolstadt/ Germany as professional several times around the year 2000. His deep connection with jazz and music enriched us. Our deepest condolences to Bills family, especially to Tina. Warmest Condolences also from Charly and Martin.
Mr. Gabriel Engert, Director for Cultural affairs, city of Ingolstadt, as well expresses his condolences.
Jan Rottau & Ruth Sandner
Significant Other
April 17, 2021
I knew him as "Billy". Meeting him in 1970 at Antioch. His focus was consistent with the times we all witnessed. His intellect was already piercing through the genre of social causes and music. His mark in the DC jazz community and WPFW will be long lasting. Stukes and I also enjoyed our casual meetings at Eastern Market. Our sincere condolences to the Brower family. May Peace and Joy be with you. Blessings,
Clarence and Castro~
Dianna Castro Stukes
Classmate
April 17, 2021
A tremendous loss,to us all. We became friends in Ohio, while in college, he at Antioch, me at Central State. We came together through music and the revolution. I will miss him and think of him often.
Joe Ford
A friend
Joe Ford
Friend
April 16, 2021
It was a pleasure to know Bill. That brother had a great spirit. I worked with Bill at New Orleans Jazz Fest both as a performer and stage hand and he was always the consummate professional.
Peace and Blessings to him and his love ones.
AumRa Frezel
Friend
April 16, 2021
Bill made a point of connecting people, ideas and experiences. We will always remember his commitment to music and history and culture. May he Rest In Peace.
Judi Moore Latta
Friend
April 16, 2021
I will always be grateful for the attention and assistance Bill gave to WPFW-FM in Washington DC while I was the GM there. Rest in peace.
Marita Rivero
Coworker
April 15, 2021
My dear Brother Bill was a warm, strong and serious energy for the appreciation of our culture and creativity. He inspired and encouraged our youth a great deal, including my children, as he did his own. This planet was significantly influenced by him. I wish his family peace and blessings now and always.
Michael Wallace
Friend
April 15, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Lawrence Calfee
Coworker
April 15, 2021
I will miss his unwavering spirit , genius, love for the music, and our bond as comrades and roommates in Yellowsprings, Ohio while we were both college students, he at Antioch, and I at Central State in Wilberforce. May your continued swim as you sojourn on my brother be imbued with much peace and enlightenment! Will never forget you!!
Michael Warren
Friend
April 14, 2021
He was a person of great integrity and genius who always knew the importance of sharing his gifts in the building and sustenance of community.
Sharon Knox
Classmate
April 14, 2021
My deepest condolences to William's family. He will be truly missed.
Richard Jenkins
Friend
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