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Joe Frank Brewer, 88, of Florence, Alabama, passed away on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, surrounded by his family.
Mr. Brewer was born on January 4, 1930, in Bethel Springs, Tennessee, to Dan and Clara Brewer. The family soon moved to Decatur, Alabama, where he, along with his two brothers, Albert and Harry, became affectionately known as the “Brewer Boys” in the local community. They were adored by their younger sister, Betty, and the affection was mutual as the “Brewer Boys” took care of their sister, not only during their childhood in Decatur, but throughout their lives.
Mr. Brewer graduated from Decatur High School, where he excelled in football and baseball and was the starting quarterback for the undefeated 1947 football team. He was also named the MVP of the 1st Alabama High School All-Star Football game the following summer. In college, Mr. Brewer was the starting quarterback for Florence State Teachers College’s (now UNA) first football team in 1949. After that first season, the local National Guard Unit, of which he was a member, was called into active duty and was shipped with the Army Combat Engineers to Korea. Mr. Brewer’s primary duties during his time in Korea were to detect and detonate enemy mines. After serving his country in Korea from 1950-1952, he returned to Florence State and played quarterback for the Lions for another 3 seasons from 1952-1954. He was also a 4-year starter for the Lions’ baseball team and served as team captain in both football and baseball. Mr. Brewer was inducted into the UNA Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 for his athletic achievements in college and high school.
After graduating from college, he began his coaching and teaching career at Coffee High School, where he helped lead the Yellow Jackets to state championships in both football and baseball. It was during this time that he met Dot Miller of Florence. After a short courtship, they were married in 1955 and have been an example of love and devotion to all who have known them for their nearly 63 years of marriage. During the early years of their marriage, Mr. Brewer decided to go back to school where he earned his Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of South Carolina in 1963. In 1965, he was named principal of the new Bradshaw High School, which opened its doors in the fall of 1966. He served as principal for 20 years and, along with the faculty and students during that time, helped initiate and nurture many cherished traditions that endured throughout the school’s 38-year history. Following his retirement from the public school system, Mr. Brewer was hired by Mars Hill Bible School to teach advanced math classes. He stayed at Mars Hill until his full retirement in 2011, culminating a career that spanned 53 years. During the latter part of his career and into his retirement, Mr. Brewer became an active member of two alumni groups, “Shorty’s Boys”, associated with Decatur High School, and the “Good Ol’ Boys”, associated with Coffee High School. Mr. Brewer was also an active member of the Helton Drive Church of Christ, where he served as both a deacon and an elder.
Mr. Brewer was many things to many people throughout his life. He was a teacher, coach, mentor, friend, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He will be dearly missed.
Mr. Brewer is survived by his wife, Dot Brewer, of Florence; his sons, Greg Brewer and Jeff Brewer (Jan), both from Huntsville; his granddaughters, Kathryn Gallaway (Clayton) of Dallas, TX, Ashley Jinright (J.J.) of Madison, and Lauren Brewer of Tuscaloosa; two great-granddaughters, Alexa and Sophie Gallaway of Dallas, TX; his sister, Betty Rodgers of Decatur; and a number of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dan and Clara Brewer; two brothers, former Alabama governor, Albert Brewer, and LTC (Ret.) Harry Brewer, US Air Force; and a granddaughter, Emily Brewer.
Visitation will be from 1:00-3:00 pm on Friday, March 30, 2018, at Greenview Funeral Home in Florence. The funeral service will begin at 3:00 pm in the chapel with Brother Lee Wildman officiating. Burial will follow in Greenview Memorial Park.
Active pallbearers will be Bill Cochran, Tom Foster, Rob Hibbett, Tim Holt, Jimmy Johnson, Danny Rodgers, Joe Spalding, and Ricky Willingham.
Honorary pallbearers will be Charles Alexander, Dr. Kenny Barfield, Charlie Brewer, Bobby Griffin, Dr. Gil Griggs, Jay Jackson, Foy Persell, and David Willingham.
The family would like to thank Dr. Danny McFall, Dr. Rao Boorgu, and Dr. Dwight Matthew.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org).