William Brewster, 93, of Johnson City, died peacefully in his sleep on Monday, October 14, 2013, at the Hermitage Health Center in Elizabethton.
His is survived by his beloved, dedicated and devoted wife of 62 years, Nancy; two children, Karen (Richard Major, spouse) of Johnson City, and Charles (Rebecca, spouse) of Bluff City. He was particularly fond of his two grandchildren, Will and Shannon Major, of Johnson City, who affectionately referred to him as Papa.
He is preceded in death by his foster parents, Sally Lou and Floyd Brewster and always held a special place for them in his heart.
Believed to be born in 1920, he was a foster child who was raised in the coalfields of War, West Virginia. As a young man he earned the Boy Scout Eagle rank as a Lone Scout. He graduated from Big Creek High School in 1938 as valedictorian of his senior class.
Prior to entering the military and after graduating from high school, Bill was a highly regarded clerk at the New River and Pocahontas Coal Company Store in Newhall, WV. He then honorably and humbly served in the United States Army in World War II as a staff sergeant in the 893rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, Company A. He was a gun commander of a M10 tank destroyer.
He participated in some of the war’s most memorable campaigns, including the invasion at Normandy, the liberation of Paris, and fought along the Siegfried Line, just north of the famed Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service to his country and later served in the United States Army Reserve.
Following the war, Bill took advantage of the GI Bill and graduated summa cum laude from Virginia Polytechnic University with an Electrical Engineering degree in 1950. He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He retired from the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1984 after 34 years of service, having moved to Johnson City in 1956. Prior to taking his job with TVA he worked for a short time in Birmingham, Alabama, for US Steel. He was a former member of the Milligan Optimist Club and was instrumental in helping to form the West Carter County Volunteer Fire Department.
Bill was a dedicated member of the First Church of the Brethren of Johnson City, where he was a longtime Sunday School teacher, church treasurer for a significant portion of his life, a committed volunteer at the Brethren camp, Camp Placid, and always embodied the spirit of a true Christian servant as no job was ever too big or too small for him to tackle.
Bill enjoyed traveling with his wife in the early part of his retirement and always relished memories of his visits to the Canadian Rockies, Monument Valley, the Big Sky country of Montana, countless National Parks, as well as his journeys to the northeastern seaboard. He loved camping with his family and was fond of gathering wood and building campfires where he would tell colorful and amusing stories of his childhood and growing up in Cucumber Holler.
He loved to build and repair things and could often be found tinkering in his home’s basement workshop repairing some piece of equipment or planning to build something. He was a model train enthusiast and spent many hours developing a vast collection during his lifetime. He was also fascinated by ships and enjoyed assembling intricately designed models of ships in his spare time. Bill was an avid bird watcher and always enjoyed feeding birds with his collection of bird feeders. He was also an accomplished photographer who enjoyed photographing trains and regional wild flowers. His regional wild flower photographs were so comprehensive he was often asked to give presentations of his beautiful photographs to local groups and to share his considerable knowledge on the subject.
Bill was loved dearly by his family who appreciated and loved him on so many levels and who marveled, respected and admired his enduring strength, determination, perseverance and strong moral character. He was a gentle, selfless man who was generous to all he encountered. He constantly gave his all to the things which mattered to him the most in life.
A service of remembrance for family and friends will be held at Washington County Memory Gardens at 1:00 PM on Friday, October 18, 2013. Friends and family will gather at Tetrick Funeral & Cremation Services, Johnson City at 12:30 PM to follow in procession. Dr. Paul Blowers of Emmanuel Christian Seminary will be officiating the service with assistance from family friend, Dr. John Bradshaw.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial gifts be made to the Shannon Major Special Needs Trust Fund in memory of William Brewster. Such gifts may be mailed to Hopwood Memorial Christian Church, P.O. Box 149, Milligan College, TN 37682.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family and viewed online at www.tetrickfuneralhome.com or faxed to (423) 610-7177.
Arrangements for the Brewster family are in the care of Tetrick Funeral & Cremation Services, 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, TN 37604. (423) 610-7171