Remembrance event set for former publisher

By Leah Leach

For Olympic Peninsula News Group

Memories of the late John Brewer will be shared Saturday, June 8, at a remembrance in Port Angeles.

Brewer, who died at the age of 76 on April 19, was a newsman whose 50-year-career spanned the nation before he arrived to serve as publisher for the Peninsula Daily News in 1998. By the time he retired in 2015, he additionally was overseeing the Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum.

Brewer also was deeply involved in the community, serving in a variety of ways, from donating time and expertise on boards and clubs, to — after retirement — reposting Peninsula Daily News stories on social media to make sure they got out to as many as possible, to undertaking small acts of kindness to those he knew.

The remembrance for Brewer, who died during a fishing trip in Montana, will be from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles.

The event will also be livestreamed: click here ( to watch the event.

The gathering, which will draw people from all over the nation, has been organized by Brewer’s widow, Barbara Wise, and her friends, for the community.

Wise and Brewer were partners for 18 years before their wedding in September, just a few months before his death on the Bitterroot River in Montana.

“I’m so grateful for the outreach, the outpouring of the community and their kindness,” Wise said.

The remembrance will be an opportunity for people to share stories about Brewer. It will be emceed by Randy Johnson, a Clallam County commissioner and a close friend of Brewer’s who was with him on the fishing trip when a boat flipped over and Brewer drowned.

The two had been fishing together for about a quarter of a century, exploring not only local rivers but also rivers in Montana and Alaska.

Johnson said he encourages people to share their stories about Brewer.

“There’s so much we don’t know about John,” he said.

Johnson offered one of his own memories. Brewer was known as a person whose energy for work never flagged. He recognized Johnson as a fellow workaholic, Johnson said.

“He would call me every evening at about 6:30 and he would say, ‘I know you’ve had quite a day today,’” Johnson said.

“What he was doing was reminding me to stop working.”

Brewer worked for The Associated Press for 19 years as a reporter, editor, bureau chief and executive for The Associated Press in Los Angeles, New York and Seattle.

For 10 years, he was president, chief executive officer and editor-in-chief of The New York Times Syndication Sales Corp., in charge of The New York News Service, The Times’ features syndicate and New York Times Licensing and Permissions, which handled trademark and merchandise licensing for newspaper.

Brewer was heavily involved in the Port Angeles Business Association, Kiwanis and Nor’Wester Rotary, and he was the former president of the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Port Angeles Downtown Association and Community Multicultural Alliance.

He was past president of Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington, a statewide press association, and he served on several community boards, even after retirement.

Brewer is survived by Wise, two sons and two brothers. He was preceded in death by Ann Brewer.