The man who mapped the world

by Larry Dawalt, HPCCR Senior Director of Spiritual & Grief Care Services

Caring for a veteran is a privilege for us here at Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region. Caring for a veteran like Robert Brewer is both a privilege and an honor.  Brewer, who turned 98 on April 19, served as a map maker in World War II.  His work was extremely valuable to both the United States and the allied forces as it came long before the days of satellite imagery and Google Maps.  When the Army needed a map then, it had to make it; and Brewer was one of the best.

Mark Byrd and Robert Brewer

Robert Brewer, right, and his social worker Mark Byrd

Brewer was born in Pittsburgh and later moved to Canton, Ohio where he worked at the headquarters of the Timken Corporation. When he was drafted in 1945, he first went to basic training, but then qualified for a special position in photo-topography at Fort Belvoir near Washington, DC.

“My Dad’s specialty was math,” Brewer said.  “I loved the stuff he taught me.  We used mathematics to make the maps.”

From pictures and measurements sent from overseas, Brewer and his colleagues would draft the maps used to make important logistic military decisions.  His calculations and drawings became a foundation for eventual victory in Europe.  For his work, he was awarded a WWII Victory Medal.

After he was honorably discharged, he worked as a mechanical engineer for Bendix Corporation.  He also fathered two sons, Douglas and Ronald, who served in the Vietnam War.  After the death of his first wife, he met a widower, Pat, with whom he moved to Charlotte in 1978.  They have been married for 35 years.

Brewer speaks softer and slower than he used to, but his eyes still light up as he tells stories of the lessons he learned from his father and how he utilized them for our country.  His soft white hair and gentle wisdom are reminiscent of John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach who was also a Midwesterner.  Brewer often smiles when he talks to his medical social worker, Mark Byrd, who is also a veteran.  As Brewer walks his hospice journey, he has beside him a man who understands both the joys and the heartaches of service.

He also has a hospice team that values and appreciates our Veterans and strives daily to provide for them the best of care. So today, we as an organization renew our commitment to serve those who have served our country; and we send birthday wishes and thanks to a young man from Canton who helped map the world.

Explore posts in the same categories: advocacy, awareness, hospice, spiritual care, Veterans

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2 Comments on “The man who mapped the world”

  1. Karen Evans Says:

    “A nation reveals itself not only in the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” – John F. Kennedy

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