William Conant Brewer (1922 - 2016)

4 entries | 1 photo
  • "How fortunate I was to be hired by Bill Brewer as a lawyer..."
    - Ric Erdheim
  • "My condolence to the Brewer family and friends. Psalm..."
    - Burnette
  • "We met Bill--regrettably--only a few times and only..."
    - Larry & Colleen Wertsch
  • "We lived in Galesville for almost 20 years, and were lucky..."
    - Luuk and Peter Oleson
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Service Information
Hardesty Funeral Home, P.A.
12 Ridgely Avenue
Annapolis, MD
Memorial service
Friday, Aug. 19, 2016
11:00 AM
Christ Church
Owensville, MD
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William Conant Brewer, a lawyer, diplomat, businessman, educator, and a long-time resident of Galesville, Maryland, died peacefully on July 25, 2016 at home shortly after celebrating his 94th birthday. Born on in Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Brewer also resided in Boston and Washington, DC. Mr. Brewer graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in Massachusetts where he was a member of the first ski team and president of the outing club. The war came and like many skiing college students he enlisted in the Army's 10th Mountain Division. His ability with language led to his role as a Japanese code breaker in the Army Signal Corps. He finished Officer Candidate School in late 1945 as a 2nd Lieutenant. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1948, Mr. Brewer practiced law for 25 years in Boston, first as a founder of the law firm Peabody, Kaufman & Brewer, and then as a partner with Hill & Barlow where he specialized in international law Mr. Brewer and his first wife, Ann, lived north of Boston, where they raised their three children, raced their boats from Newfoundland to Florida, and sailed for years in Europe. Mr. Brewer was the commodore of the Manchester Yacht Club and rear commodore of the Boston station of the Cruising Club of America. Mr. Brewer's passion for the outdoors also led to his interest in environmental law related to the oceans and in 1969 he began teaching the subject at Boston College Law School. This passion led to his move to Washington DC in 1974, where he became the first general counsel of the newly-formed National Ocean Atmosphere Administration ("NOAA"). He subsequently became part of the US delegation negotiating the Law of the Sea Treaty. He retired from NOAA in 1984. In Washington, Mr. Brewer was a member of the Metropolitan Club and the rear commodore of the Chesapeake station of the Cruising Club of America. As a runner, he constantly entered local races, and he was the historian of a local reading group now in its 35th year. After retirement, Mr. Brewer became more involved in the business of Crabtree & Evelyn, an association that stemmed from his Boston years and his long-time friendship with the company's owner. Together, they formed the iconic Brattle Theatre in Cambridge and imported many foreign films shown for the first time in the United States under the name Janus Films. And after retirement from the Board at Crabtree & Evelyn, Mr. Brewer left Washington in 1985 to settle in Galesville, MD with his second wife Collot Guerard, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission. Mr. Brewer was a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club and the West River Sailing Club, and of local Galesville groups, including the Galesville Astrophysical Society. For years, Mr. Brewer joined the Galesville July 4th parade on a bicycle guiding his wife and her various horses along the parade route. In his 90's, Mr. Brewer began as volunteer at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), where he identified parasites in tiny mud crabs. Mr. Brewer was an active person, and loved sports from skiing to rowing to tennis to running, whether in races or at the gym. He installed in his garage in Galesville a climbing wall designed and manufactured by his son. Mr. Brewer had too many boats to list and owned and flew three small planes during the Boston and Washington years. This activity never stopped: shortly before his 94th birthday and a week before his passing he was spotted on a treadmill at the local gym with his 25-year-old grandson. Perhaps nothing best showed his love of the outdoors than 9-wicket croquet, a sport he took up at age 80. He started the West River Wickets in his Galesville backyard. Dressed in croquet whites, he played competitively on croquet greens from Maine to Florida and everywhere in between. The West River Wickets is now a nationally-ranked croquet club. Mr. Brewer leaves his wife of Collot Guerard of Galesville and Washington DC; his daughters Anita Brewer-Siljeholm of Manchester, MA; Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, and her husband Cal Snyder of New York City, and their son Muhammed Sumbundu; his son Conant Brewer and his wife, Lorrie Anderson, of Brookline, MA; and his stepson, Dr. Benjamin Bruce of Chicago,IL. Grandchildren include Woodman, Earl and Jenna Brewer, Marian Siljeholm, and the late David Siljeholm. A memorial service at Christ Church, Owensville, and reception will be held at a later date. Arrangements are being made by Hardesty Funeral Home of Annapolis. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the West River Sailing Club, the Galesville Historical Society, the Galesville Improvement Association, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, or a .

Published in The Capital Gazette on Aug. 2, 2016
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