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obituary
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Richard Brewer spacee Richard Brewer

Long-time Corinthian Island resident Richard "Dick" Caldwell Brewer died March 4 at Marin Convalescent & Rehabilitation Hospital in Tiburon. He suffered a fall at his home last September and never fully recovered. He was 90.

Born in Washington, D.C. to a prominent Maryland family that settled early in the area, his great-great-grandfather, Maj. William Worthington Russell, was one of three brothers in the first class of graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy. As a member of the U.S. Marines, Russell reportedly participated in the capture of radical abolitionist John Brown, who led a famous raid on Harper's Ferry, Va.

Mr. Brewer studied art at the Corcoran Art Gallery School and the Abbott School of Fine and Commercial Art. Because of his asthma, he could not enlist in the U.S. Army, but because he spoke fluent French, he was put in the intelligence corps in Algiers. There he met French author André Gide and others who had fled the Nazis and were sheltering there.

He studied art at the École des Beaux-Arts in postwar Paris. During sojourns to San Francisco in the 1950s, he sketched bar patrons, sometimes with painter Robert LaVigne, according to the Bay Area Reporter.

Mr. Brewer signed on as a seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine, traveling the world until 1961. He then settled in New York City, where he moved in artistic circles. Friends included painter Leland Bell, whom he met in high school, and Bell's wife, painter Louisa Matthíasdottír, as well as landscape painter and watercolorist Nell Blaine and abstract expressionist Robert De Niro Sr.

Brewer had a deep connection to Corinthian Island. His uncle and aunt, Rear Adm. Robert and Elizabeth Lewis, lived at the large house at the top of the island at 38 Alcatraz Ave. and he remembered swimming in Belvedere Lagoon. The cottage on East View Avenue where he lived originally was part of that estate, converted from a garage in 1940 while improvements were also being made to the main house.

Mr. Brewer's mother, Rosiland "Roz" Brewer, moved to the cottage after her divorce from his father. Mr. Brewer bought the cottage in 1959 and owned it with his mother. They lived there together until her death in 1974. Mr. Brewer's companion, Steven Krstich, moved in and shared the house until Mr. Brewer fell and was moved to the convalescent hospital.

Even after his move from New York, Mr. Brewer maintained his connections there, but he loved his rooftop garden and its view of Mount Tamalpais. He enjoyed his walks around Tiburon and was known for his courtly manner.
Mr. Brewer's friends included film critic Pauline Kael, poet Robert Duncan and painter Jess Collins.

His solo show at the Top Floor Gallery on Grove Street in San Francisco in 1979 drew a favorable review from San Francisco Chronicle art critic Thomas Albright. Other shows included "Some Portraits" at the Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland in 1987 and "3 Generations" at Space 743 in San Francisco's South of Market district in 1999.

Besides Mr. Krstich, Mr. Brewer is survived by two first cousins, Lucinda Hamilton of Glen Ellen and Roberta Patterson of San Rafael; and numerous second cousins and their children.

Services will be private. Pacific Interment Service in Emeryville handled the arrangements.

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