We lost our Jake yesterday, and I lost part of my heart and the father of my sweet babies. I don't have to tell most of you how wonderful he was. It was self-evident. His life was his testimony, and it was powerful and tender and fierce, with an ever-present twinkle in the eye. I will miss him forever, even more than I can know right now. No arms can be her father's, but my daughter is surrounded by her very favorite people and all the hugs she could imagine. This will change us, but with prayer and love and the strength that is their companion, we can hope our heartache is not in vain– that it will change us and the world in beautiful ways, just as he did. If that sounds too optimistic at this time, it's because it is. But there was no thought too optimistic for Jake, so take it and run with it. I will strive and pray not to feel I was cheated of many years with him, but cherish the gift of the years I had. In a life where nothing is guaranteed, Jake made the absolute, ever-lovin' most of his time with all of us. This is a family picture we took a couple weeks ago. It was taken because Jake, as always, was ready with a camera and his immense talent. All four members of our little, growing family are in it. I can never be without him because these babies are half him. They are made of some of the strongest, kindest stuff God had to offer this world. Please pray that he can see us and we'll all make him proud. God, I love him. Psalm 34:18, Philippians 1:3
A day after a White House staffer died in a cycling accident while raising money for cancer, his wife released a heart-felt tribute to her husband on Instagram that recalled his optimism and selflessness.
“I don’t have to tell most of you how wonderful he was,” Mary Katharine Ham wrote about her late husband, Jake Thomas Brewer, 34. “It was self-evident. His life was his testimony, and it was powerful and tender and fierce, with an ever-present twinkle in the eye. I will miss him forever, even more than I can know right now.”
Brewer is listed on the White House Web site as a senior policy adviser in the the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. He was killed Saturday when his bicycle went out of control at a sharp curve on Old Frederick Road in Maryland. It crossed the double yellow line and collided with an oncoming vehicle, police said. Brewer was pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver of the 2008 Honda Pilot was not injured, police said.
At the time, Brewer was participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, a two-day cycling event aimed at raising money for cancer-treatment programs.
Brewer’s mother told The Washington Post he was in the fundraising ride because of a close friend who was a cancer patient. He “lived life large and tended to live life for other people,” Lori Brewer Collins said.
Collins said the ride will continue. Her son was a man who could “make things happen,” she noted, and that was what “he would have wanted.”
On Sunday, news of Brewer’s death spread across Twitter and Facebook, where a wide circle of professional contacts and friends expressed their shock and shared memories of their friend and colleague.
He was referred to as the “epitome of a public servant.”
Heartbroken by the loss of @jakebrewer, a hero to me and to so many others — an amazing soul, he will always be with us in spirit….
— Todd Park (@todd_park) September 20, 2015
I am devastated at the loss of our friend and colleague @jakebrewer He lit rooms with energy, possibility and optimism
— claudiawilliams (@claudiawilliams) September 20, 2015
We’ll probably never understand how many great ideas and good times with @jakebrewer we’ve all been robbed of this weekend.
— E J Kalafarski (@skeeJay) September 20, 2015
— Albrey Preston Brown (@AlbreyBrown) September 20, 2015
Terrible news: Jake Brewer has died in a cycling accident. Please keep Mary Katharine in your thoughts and prayers. https://t.co/Ov80vFgBFv
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) September 20, 2015
From our first conversation years ago to our last a few days ago, every time I spoke to @jakebrewer, he focused on how to help people.
— Anil Dash (@anildash) September 20, 2015
— David Almacy (@almacy) September 20, 2015
— Jennifer Pahlka (@pahlkadot) September 20, 2015
A tireless technology advocate, on Wednesday Brewer signaled his support for Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas teen who made national headlines after he was arrested for bringing a homemade digital clock to school last week.
Hope the rest of the country fully celebrates Ahmed's ingenuity as result of this, while his school/town failed him https://t.co/Qr8jBLDqmu
— Jake Brewer (@jakebrewer) September 16, 2015
In the tech news site Civicist, Brewer’s friend and colleague, Micah L. Sifry, shared a behind-the-scenes anecdote suggesting Brewer may have played a role in the garnering President Obama’s support for Mohamed on Twitter as well.
I replied at him, “get @potus and @nasa to speak up.” He direct messaged me in response, “That’s being worked on…Fingers crossed.” A few hours later, the President tweeted, “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?” Jake DMed me: “Got it. :)”
Before joining the White House in June, Brewer worked for Change.org and Fission Strategy, according to his Facebook page.
“Outside the office, Jake is a competitive triathlete, a widely published photographer, and serves in a variety of advisory and board roles with organizations building healthier democracy,” a biography on his personal Web site says. “Through it all, he hopes to one day return to his first job as minor league baseball mascot Murray the Mule.”
A Tennessee native who attended Vanderbilt University, he lived with his wife and toddler daughter in Alexandria, Va.
“I can never be without him because these babies are half him,” Ham wrote on Instagram. “They are made of some of the strongest, kindest stuff God had to offer this world. Please pray that he can see us and we’ll all make him proud.”