Bruce Dunreath Brower, 68, died peacefully on February 5, 2021 in Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton, Massachusetts. He was born in Riverhead, New York on January 15, 1953. His father, Lieutenant Colonel Charles F. Brower, III, was from Purcellville, Virginia and a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force who served in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. His mother, Maribeth O’Donnell Brower, was from Richmond, Virginia. Bruce was the fourth born of five siblings, and is survived by Charles F. Brower, IV, of Lexington, Virginia; Robert Keith Brower of Midlothian, Virginia; Michael Randolph Brower of Gulf Breeze, Florida; and Elisabeth Page Kay of Yarmouth, Maine.
As the son of a military officer, Bruce led a peripatetic life, with his father’s assignments leading him to New York, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Florida, as well as overseas to England and Germany. Although he never had military service himself, Bruce loved his association with the military and that love sustained him throughout his life. Indeed, later in life he proudly adopted the nickname, “Sarge.”
At the age of 5 while living in England, Bruce sustained a brain injury in a bicycle accident. His mother and father spent the remainder of their lives ensuring that the initial prognosis of an institutionalized life for Bruce was a mistaken one. Their combination of home and special schooling, occupational therapy, mountains of love, and remarkable energy helped create a path for the defiantly independent life Bruce would try to lead in his later years.
Bruce struck out on his own in his late 20’s, a rocky journey that led him to Texas, California, Washington, New York and finally, in 2007 to Brockton, Massachusetts. There, with the help of the Brockton Housing Authority, his caregivers, and family, he lived a stable and contented life in his own small apartment until his death, enjoying his beloved John Wayne and Clint Eastwood westerns and an ever-present Pepsi or Grande Mocha Latte.
Wheelchair-bound from his injuries, Bruce was recognized in his apartment complex and nearby Brockton as a friendly, colorful, gregarious, and good-hearted character. In his camouflaged field jacket and cowboy hat, the bearded “Sarge” greeted friends and passersby alike, almost always receiving a friendly acknowledgement.
The Brower family offers its profound gratitude to Bruce’s caregivers over the last years of his life in Brockton, and are especially thankful to Mark Auger, Theresa Alves, and Nelly Alves for their care of Bruce and to Vanessa Cabral, Brandon Shea, and Geena Fransciosi for their case management roles. Their efforts and devotion helped Bruce to maintain the independence that was his most prized possession, and we will be forever grateful to them.
Bruce will be interred with his parents at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts. A family graveside gathering will be planned for a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, 73 Buffum Street, Lynn, Massachusetts 01902.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bruce Dunreath Brower, please visit our floral store.