Charles Walter Brewer

Friday, November 4, 2016

Charles Walter Brewer of Kansas City, Mo., formerly of Nevada, died Oct. 31, 2016 at Liberty Hospital in the company of his loving family. He was 90 years old. Charlie is survived by his children, Doug Brewer, Nixa, Mo. and Lora Brewer Ackerman, Kansas City, Mo., his grandchildren, Meredith Ann Ackerman, Claire Dorothy Ackerman and Benjamin Charles Brewer, his sister, Mary Sue Luff, Independence, Mo., and many who loved and admired him. He was preceded in death by parents H.B. and Maude Brewer, brother, Carl, and loving wife of over sixty years, Norine (Norris) Brewer.

Charlie was born on Dec. 9, 1925 in Fort Smith, Ark. His childhood was spent in Independence, Mo. where he graduated from William Chrisman High School in 1943. His post-high school years moved into military service in World War II, with honorable discharges from the U.S. Army and the US Coast Guard-Merchant Marines. To hear his stories about the war was to hear of duties including firing guns from airplanes in the South Pacific, delivering weapons on submarines and ships in the Aleutian Islands, and making doughnuts in the early morning hours at Camp Kearns, Utah (the role at which he'd say he most excelled). His journey through higher education was equally varied with pursuits in classrooms and football fields at Kansas State, Missouri Valley, Baker, the University of Missouri- Columbia, and the University of Central Missouri. Charlie completed a B.S. in Physical Education, a Masters in Psychology, and post-graduate work in Education. He was a licensed psychologist.

Charlie's professional life included teaching and coaching through at Warsaw and Lamott High School and Oklahoma Military Academy. He worked for the Missouri Departments of Education and Mental Health beginning at the onset of the special education movement. He served as a diagnostician for the state in Jefferson City and acted as founding administrator at the first diagnostic center for children with disabilities in Kirksville. His state leadership in mental health led to administration at Higginsville State School, Marshall State School and Hospital, and finally, Nevada State School and Hospital (later Nevada Habilitation Center) where he was Superintendent from 1973-1985. Upon retirement from that position, he was Executive Director at Woodhaven Learning Center in Columbia, Mo. After full retirement, he and Norine moved to Lee's Summit until her death in 2013 when he moved to reside with his daughter and granddaughters in Kansas City.

In Nevada, Charlie enjoyed involvement in Rotary International, the First Christian Church, and theatre endeavors with the Diana's Club and CCPA. He and his wife delighted in entertaining and enjoyed no event more than their annual "5th of July" ice cream social coinciding with the fireworks display at the hospital, an endeavor for which Charlie annually raised funds to provide an important celebration for clients (and the community).

Charlie was an accomplished stained glass artist and woodcarver, and an engaging storyteller and public speaker. In later years, Charlie volunteered at the National WWI Museum, served as a Stephen Minister with the Lee's Summit Christian Church, and was a devoted caregiver for his wife. He advocated for the underdog, saw the best in others, and remained for all of his years, a perpetual optimist. In accordance with his wishes, a private graveside service at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville will be held at a later time. To honor him, please consider a donation to an organization valuable to him, the Community Council for the Performing Arts in Nevada at CCPA, P.O. Box 754 Nevada, Mo. 64772.