Harold Thomas Brew, Jr., MD (June 5, 1926) died on Sunday, February 6 at Northern Westchester Hospital after a long battlewith cancer. Alumni of Cornell Medical School with his medical training at Columbia-Presbyterian in NYC, he practiced surgery at the Mt. Kisco Medical Group from 1959 through 1995. He was Chief of Surgery at the Northern Westchester Hospital from 1983-1985. Born in Watertown, Connecticut, he served in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1950, where he met his wife, Marianne, of almost 60 years.
Loving husband of Marianne Ughetta Brew who resides in Somers
Father of six children: Kathy Brew (Roberto Guerra), Harry Brew (Karen Fujii), Peggy André (John André), Betsy Powers (Gordon Powers), Tom Brew (Donna Brew), and Michael Brew (Nora Brew).Grandfather of: Tim, Alison, Nick and Charlotte André; Jess,Matt, Chris, and Colin Powers; Kerry, Brian, and Conor Brew; and Kaite Fujii. He was respected and loved by so many people for his skill as a doctor but more importantly for his humanity and humor. His spiritlives on in the many lives he touched. Visitation will be at Oelker-Cox & Sinatra Funeral Home, 262 East Main Street, Mount Kisco: Wednesday, February 9, 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm. Funeral mass will be at Saint Patrick's Church, State Road in Bedford: Thursday, February 10, 10 AM. In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to Northern Westchester Hospital in his name.
EULOGY for Harold Thomas Brew, Jr., MD
Read by Kathy Brew at the funeral mass at St. Patrick's Church in Bedford, NY on Thursday, February 10, 2011
Good morning. I'm one of the six kids of our remarkable father and mother.
On behalf of the entire Brew family - wife and mother, Marianne, brothers and sisters, Harry, Peggy, Betsy, Tom, and Mike, their children -- the twelve grandchildren - Tim, Alison, Nick, Charlotte, Jess, Matt, Chris, Colin, Kerry, Brian, Conor and Kaite -- we thank you all for joining us this morning to celebrate the life and spirit of this amazing man.
Harold Brew was known by different names. Harold; Bud; Harry; Dad; Uncle Harold to some cousins; Uncle Bud to others; and Baba to his grandchildren. Harry, as he was known to his friends and colleagues -- was a doctor here in Westchester, where he practiced surgery at the Mt. Kisco Medical Group and Northern Westchester Hospital from 1959 until he retired sixteen years ago.
You all probably know that old saying - An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But in our house, we didn't want to keep the doctor away. Living in this community for so many years, it was always an honor and privilege to be recognized as being connected to "Dr. Brew." We would often here, "Oh, you're Dr. Brew's wife or … you're one of Dr. Brew's kids. "
We knew our Dr. Brew was special, but over time we came to know more and more how special he was to so many other people. Years later my dad would tease that the tables were turned, and that he was the husband of Marianne Brew - the tennis player.
Dad literally had peoples' lives in his hands. He was a healer in the true sense of the word. To heal is to make healthy, whole, and sound.
In the past couple of weeks, while Dad was in the hospital, so many people- doctors, nurses, technicians - all reinforced what we've known all along - that he was not only a highly skillful physician, but that he was also a rare human being, filled with compassion and care. He was truly SPECIAL -- supportive, loving and accessible to all he came in contact with. And his great sense of humor always lifted everyone's spirits.
Dad's life is an example of the American Dream. Not the Horatio Alger story, but The Harry Brew story. He grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut, and often referred to his background as being "a poor boy from the wrong side of the tracks." At the age of 18, he enlisted in the Navy and served in the South Pacific during World War II. And as early as that time, he knew he wanted to go into medicine.Here are some of his own words as a young man written in a letter to his mother and sister while at sea in 1945.
"According to news we received yesterday, some generous gentleman in Washington has suggested giving each returning service man one thousand dollars over a period of one year's time. Now there is a gentleman after my own heart. I think I could use about that when I return to civilian life. Just think of all the shoe strings I could buy.
Seriously though, it could be a big help to every fellow returning to civilian life and I think it would come in handy in my case, especially if I want to continue in medicine when I return. And at the present I'm almost certain that is what I want to do….I sincerely hope that I can go through with it. I know it will take time but in the end it's worth all of the struggle. Fortunately I have seen that there is no future in anything but a profession. "
Dad graduated from Middlebury College in 1950, where he met his wife of almost 60 years, our mother, Marianne. Dad and Mom were married in 1951. After Middlebury, Dad went on to Cornell Medical College, and then did his residency at Columbia Presbyterian. During those NYC years, three out of the six of us - me, Harry, and Peggy -- were born. Dad could have been a big-time NYC hotshot doctor, for sure. But for him, the values of love and family were paramount, and ultimately above his dedication to his profession.
I guess he was more of a country boy at heart. So in 1959, he joined the Mt. Kisco Medical Group. We moved to Pleasantville for the first 9 months and then our parents bought the house in Mt. Kisco, where they lived until 1998. There, the other 3 Brew kids - Betsy, Tom, and Mike -- were born. In fact, Dad christened 35 Croton Avenue in 1960 on the night that our sister Betsy was born.
The love and support from our extraordinary parents has been a precious gift. We were always encouraged to be who we truly are. I can remember Dad saying he didn't care what we all ended up doing, as long as it was something that we cared about, that we wanted to do.
He also taught us something very deep and meaningful, something tied into his surgical skills. I can remember him saying - "You know, it doesn't matter what color your skin is, what your religion is, what your profession is …..once you cut into someone, we are all the same."
And so that is the spirit in which we come together to honor him -- united in our humanity, in our care and concern for others, in our
joy of the gift of life, and the commitment to live it to its fullest, always remembering to keep things in perspective, and to always keep a good sense of humor.
Dad died at Northern Westchester Hospital on Super Sunday.
Dad was a super guy. His spirit lives on in all of our family, literally with his DNA … and all he gave to us…but also in all the many lives that he touched. We love you Dad.