The Utica/Rome Aviation Community Remembers Doc Brewer
Hundreds and probably thousands of pilots from the CNY area have Doc Brewer to thank for passing them through their medical exams in order to keep flying, but sadly on Thursday night, Doc's own wings were folded.
He was practicing landings with his new experimental seaplane over the Stillwater Reservoir where he and his family have a camp and even though he's been flying for longer than I've been alive, something went wrong and he was unable to bring his 40 years of skill to bear on the problem.
I will always remember how soft-spoken he was, trading stories about flying and family while he was trying to ascertain if I was still physically fit to operate an airplane. Stepping into his office was like taking a trip back in time, all of the furnishings and equipment were vintage (complete with a coat rack in the corner) as was his bedside manner. He even signed my first medical at the turn of THIS century with a typewriter!
During my last fourteen years in this tight-knit aviation community I was always proud that I had never lost an acquaintance or a friend to an airplane accident, but that is now no longer the case. He used the same brand of care in the airplane as he took in his practice and in his daily life and it is important to keep in mind that he passed doing what he loved.
Editorially, if you're not a flyer, Doc would calmly remind you in his soft way that you're more likely to get into an accident in your car on your commute to work than you are if you step foot in an airplane. You just never know, period. Life is imperfect, but if Doc touched yours while he was here, come offer your condolences to the family at Malecki Funeral home between 3-7p with his memorial service at 3p the following day at St. Helena's Church in Sherrill. Friends and family are invited to his home for a reception afterwards on Monday.
Doc, we're all facing to the west in your honor and are gonna miss seeing you across the hallway from the clubhouse and of course in the skies. We remember you with the words of John Gillespie Magee (whom you're now likely talking to in that big bright clubhouse) as your spirit now has slipped away from us before we were ready...
"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air... Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace. Where never lark, or even eagle flew — And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
- Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."