John Tucker Brewer


John Tucker Brewer
John Tucker Brewer

A musician, volunteer and patriot’s service to others did not come to an end with his death.  After a courageous battle with cancer, it is with a heavy heart that the family of John Tucker Brewer has announced that he passed on Monday, May 24, 2021.  In his last days, he was surrounded by family, friends and loved ones.  They will continue to honor his legacy of community service through their words, deeds and actions.

Born in 1946, John fell in love with music at a young age.  He started playing the trumpet in the 4th grade at Wilson Elementary School.  He continued to pursue his passion for music and for teaching others throughout his life.  After John graduated from Amarillo High School, he went on to study at Amarillo College.  He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.  He began his career as the band director at Killeen High School from 1970 to 1981.   Returning home to Amarillo, John worked at Nunn Manufacturing as a manager, a clinician and as the environmental safety and health officer.    Later, he would form Systems Compliance Corporation, an environmental professional service company.  He worked there from 1999 until his retirement in 2009.

John had a true heart for the community and for his country.  His patriotism and his love of music were evident in his numerous memberships and varied service activities.  An accomplished bugler and self-taught bagpiper, John performed in excess of 100 military and civilian funerals each year.  He also played at various Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Armed Forces Day and Relay for Life celebrations across the Texas Panhandle.  His memberships included the Amarillo Wind Ensemble, Bugles Across America, TubaChristmas, America Supports You, and the Firemen and Fire Marshals Association of Texas, just to name a few.  He supported the Amarillo Fire Department, the Amarillo Police Department as well as the Randall and Potter County Fire and Police Departments.   He also served on the Texas Panhandle War Memorial Board and was past president of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia professional music fraternity.   Always the master teacher at heart, he had numerous bagpipe and trumpet students to whom he gave private lessons over the years.  He also served as mentor to the Amarillo Firefighters Pipes and Drum Corps.

John was preceded in death by his father, Harold L. Brewer; his mother, Dorothy May Brewer; and sister, Betty Wimberley.  He is survived by his loving wife, Gail and four children: John and Michelle Brewer of Amarillo; Becci and Gabe Barela of West Plains, Missouri; Kelly and Doug Howell of Hereford, Texas; and, Kris and Crystal Burdis of Lubbock, Texas.  He also counted among his blessings of life, five grandchildren who were truly the center of his universe: Devin Howell, Marcella Burdis, Timothy Burdis, Iana Burdis and Clara Beth Burdis.

The family would like to thank the staff of Baptist St. Anthony’s Hospice and Hillside Heights Rehabilitation Suites for their loving care.  The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in memory of John Tucker Brewer.

Graveside service will be at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, May 27, 2021, at Llano Cemetery with Brent Clark officiating.  Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.

15 Replies to “John Tucker Brewer”

  1. I knew John from the age of 15. He and I were great friends until our lives diverged on different roads after high school. He continued in Amarillo excelling in music and a wide variety of other value-laden activities and was revered by all whom he met. I went into the US Air Force for 31 years, never to return permanently to Amarillo. John was always in my immediate memory bank. I was proud to be his friend. I will miss John, but know that we will meet again and have eternity to laugh and remember all the wonderful adventures we shared.
    Mike Wyrick
    Amarillo High School, 1965

  2. Mr. Brewer left a lasting impression on my life . The world lost a great man.

    – Killeen High Band Member 1979-1983

  3. To have known Mr John Tucker Brewer is to have been inspired, guided, directed and blessed by a legend, hero, maestro and angel in our midst. Eternal condolences to the family, friends and fellow musicians of this faithful steward & awesome servant.

  4. I was deeply saddened to read that John Brewer had passed away. In 2007 following the the Memorial Day ceremony at Memory Gardens Cemetery, between Amarillo and Canyon, I began visiting with John and realized that we had a connection: UT music department and Longhorn Band., and teaching in Killeen ISD. I always enjoyed his “Taps” and bagpipes at ceremonies in the Amarillo area. He even came to my church, St. Paul United Methodist Church to pipe “Amazing Grace “ for a first responders tribute several years ago. RIP, John Brewer. You will be missed.

  5. “It’s really neat! Just really neat” — I can still hear his voice saying this! What a joy it has been to have had a friendship with John all these years. As a young musician, one could not have asked for a better band director and person to be one’s mentor. I remember seeing the kind words he wrote about me for my induction into the National Honor Society. Those words created a scenario in my mind where I imagined myself becoming the person he described. Having an adult in your life who believes in you cannot be underestimated. I suffered from low self-esteem and John Brewer was constantly lifting me up. I was also one of those nerdy kids who loved to play — John gave me countless extra hours of private instruction and was so patient and FUNNY! It was joyful to be around him and I am ever grateful for those years. As an adult, we had fantastic long conversations about everything under the sun. What a fantastic spirit. He will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know him. Blessings to his family (whom he spoke of often!) as you mourn.

  6. One of the saddest days of my life when I was told of Mr. Brewer’s passing. I had the fortunate opportunity of having him as my assistant band director at Rancier Junior High for 3 years from 1973-1976. Then as band director at Killeen High School while I was there from 1976-1979. He was not only a great teacher, but also a great friend, mentor and confidant. We got the opportunity to know each other well on our long trips to band events. He was always willing to give extra help any time the students needed it. He was such a gifted soul and I’m most certain that God broke the mold after he made John Tucker Brewer. I will always be grateful that you came into my life and feel forever blessed to have known you most of my life. I’m sure that you are out of pain now on your ascent to Heaven. God Speed my dear friend.

  7. Such a kind wonderful man! He will be truly missed. I will always remember the work you did with my kids! I recently saw a piece on the news, of how John gave his time to teach the fire fighters how to carry on the piping tradition . I bet the good Lord will have him playing in heaven!
    The world will truly miss you John!

  8. It was nearing the end of my senior year of high school. I was behaving in a way that was totally out of character for me – skipping class, wandering the halls, smarting off… all this from a kid who had not once been in trouble in school. I even got kicked out of the band hall for talking one day. The following day Mr Brewer called me into his office.

    He said, “Goodbyes are hard. Endings are hard. Change is hard. You’re about to leave this place, where you’ve been successful and had friends. You’ll be leaving this town where you’ve lived nearly your whole life, and you’ll be starting college in a whole new place with all new people. Sometimes when people don’t know what or how to feel they act out, or they try to alienate others so they don’t have to say goodbye. You meant something to people here. Don’t throw that away. That is all. You may go.”

    I never forgot that talk, and I’m grateful I had the chance some years later to thank him for helping me understand what on earth I was doing.

    Goodbyes are hard, Mr Brewer. Endings are hard. You’ve left this place, and you’re starting a new adventure in a new place. Some of us don’t know what or how to feel right now. You meant something to us. That is all. Go in peace.

  9. I have known John for many years, I served as the Deputy State Capt. For the Panhandle/South Plains Region of the Patriot Guard Riders for many years. I first met John a an America Supports You function, and we became good friends. Never did I call John, even on short notice did he say no to piping for a active duty death or a veteran.. He did everything with honor and dignity.

  10. You touched so many of our lives, Mr Brewer. It doesn’t matter that we’ve been out of Killeen High School for over 40 years, we love you and respect you just the same. Thank you for being a part of our happy times together in the fighting Kangaroo band. We love you.

  11. Didn’t know you. But your daughter married my Grandson Gabe.
    Becci is a wonderful person. Thanks for being her into this world.
    May you Rest In Peace. 🙏🙏

  12. Love you Mr. B! You were a treasure to all who had the pleasure of knowing you. You brought out the best in all of us. Your generosity, kind words, and encouragement meant so much. I will miss your random phone calls. Heaven has gained a great man. Until me meet again…

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