Captain James Lewis Brewer, 92
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SCARBOROUGH-- Captain James Lewis Brewer USCG (ret) passed away (Crossed the Bar) on Sept. 20, 2013 at the age of 92. He was born in Detroit, Mich. on July 8, 1921. He was the son of John Daniel Brewer and Emma Schultz Brewer. He attended school in Detroit until the family moved to Marine City, where he attended High School in 1939. His first employment was on Great Lakes steamboats where he started as a coal passer, moved to hand fired coal and eventually became an oiler. During the winter season when the ships were laid up because of ice, he attended Michigan State University. In 1942, because Merchant Seamen were so badly needed, he was employed on various ocean vessels including tankers, cargo and troop carrier vessels. He was on the tanker Pan Maine on the North Atlantic in early 1943 during intense U-boat activity in the noted convoy ON-166 which acquired heavy loss of ships during seven days and nights of attacks. Later in 1943 he obtained his license as third engineer and was again on tanker ships but now in the Pacific. In February 1944 he was on watch as third engineer when his ship, SS President Grant, ran onto an uncharted coral reef about 60 miles from New Guinea. All troops were rescued by smaller vessels within a few days, but the ship's crew remained. After almost four months of many attempts to refloat the ship it broke in two amidships during a major storm. Jim, along with remaining crew, was rescued and transferred to the USA via various vessels.
Jim (as he preferred) was in the Merchant Marine also during the entire Korean War serving as first or Chief Engineer on several vessels. In 1956 he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the US Coast Guard to be assigned to Marine Inspection duties. As part of his indoctrination, Jim was assigned to the CG Cutter Pontchartrain on the west coast. In October 1956 on ocean station 'November', he helped successfully rescue all passengers and crew on a Pan American Clipper plane which had to ditch after engine failure. Later, on assignment in the Philadelphia, Penn. Marine Inspection Office, he was engineering inspector on the Nuclear Vessel Savannah during the first stages of the building at the Camden, N.J. Yard of New York Shipbuilding. He later made the vessels trial trip to determine some of the manning requirements. During his Washington, D.C. duties, in addition to preparing replies to Congressional mail he started the conversion of Merchant Marine Engineering Licensing Examinations from an essay to multiple choice format.
From October 1968 until January 1969 while in the Boston, Mass. Inspection office he was the project officer for the first USA importing of LNG (liquid nitrogen gas) from the Greek Aristotle. As part of this process he set up the guidelines for vessels entering the USA, which is still the standard today. His duty later brought him back to Detroit as Commanding Officer and Capt. of the Port, and in 1973 back to Boston serving again as CO and Capt. of the Port. He retired in 1976, one of his final duties being coordinating and guiding the Boston Harbor visit of the Bicentennial Tall Ships Parade.
In 1949 in Oslo, Norway he married Anne-Lise Fougner. She came to the USA to live in 1950 and they had three children - always a major interest and joy of his life. Among his many lifelong interests were boating, fishing, reading, woodworking, sailing, traveling, gardening, and the building of their camp in Naples by the entire family. He was a member of the Portland Marine Society #706; the Boston, MA Marine Society #3023; Life Member Samuel Ward Masonic Lodge #62 Marine City, MI; Member of Gov. Wm King Lodge #219 Scarborough; Portland Eagles Aerie #565 and the Maine Officers Club. He was previously President of the Oak Hills Condominium Association as well as buildings chairman for two terms. He had also served on the Zoning Appeals Board in Scarborough.
He is predeceased by his parents; three brothers Nathan, Charles, and Lee and a sister Paulla Marie Gaffney. Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Anne-Lise Brewer of Scarborough; a daughter Ruth Darcy and husband Michael of Harrison, and their children Christie, Mary, and Daniel; a son Glenn Brewer and his wife Mary of Newmarket, N.H. and their children Hanna and Kari; and a son Dr. John Brewer and his wife Susan of Portland, and their children William, Molly and husband Alan Matthews and Sarah Kildahl Kennedy and husband Chris with their children Philip, Joseph, Mitchell, Ricky and Emma; niece Chris Gaffney and son TJ of Michigan; and sister- in- law Joan Brewer of Missouri.
The family would wish to extend their thanks to all the caretakers from Comfort Keepers, and the VNA Hospice for their loving attention and help. Thank you also to Jim's medical staff for their years of care, and to the Oak Hills Condo friends who were always there for support.
Visiting hours will be at the Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland, Maine on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. , with a brief service following at 2 p.m. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, Jim wished that any charitable gift be sent to:
, The Scarborough (Maine)
Public Library or to
any organization you deem worthy
HOBBS FUNERAL HOME
230 COTTAGE RD SOUTH PORTLAND, ME 04106-3802
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Sept. 23, 2013