Ken Brewer, president of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium and a Juneau resident since 1992, died unexpectedly on Saturday. He was 56.
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Brewer was teaching a motorcycle safety course when he complained of dizziness and indigestion. The cause of death wasn't immediately known.
Born on Jan. 1, 1951, into the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana, Brewer was adopted into the Tlingit Raven Moiety, Kiksadi Clan, in Sitka. He was known in Tlingit as Shaayigan.
"Ken lived life to the fullest, and he excelled at everything he did," his wife, Pam Brewer, said.
"Living with him has been a wonderful journey. He's going to be sorely missed by me, his three sons and his seven grandchildren."
With his father in the U.S. Air Force, Brewer traveled extensively in his childhood, living in Libya, New Jersey, Guam and Tacoma, Wash.
After high school, Brewer joined the Air Force, went to the University of Montana and became a certified public accountant for the Washington State Health Care Authority.
He moved to Juneau in 1992 and joined SEARHC, rising from vice president and chief financial officer to chief executive officer and president in 2000.
During his time with SEARHC, he oversaw a period of tremendous growth for the consortium.
The Native-operated nonprofit organization provides health care service to Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and other Natives and has become the largest private employer in Southeast Alaska, with about 1,000 people on its payroll.
Jan Hill, chairwoman of the SEARHC Board of Directors, issued a statement of condolence.
"On behalf of the SEARHC Board of Directors, I want to express the profound sadness and the deep sense of loss that Ken's untimely passing will bring to us all," Hill said.
"The board joins with the rest of the SEARHC family in keeping Pam and the Brewer family in our prayers and thoughts during this time of tremendous grief."
Brewer was founder and president of the Juneau chapter of ABATE, a motorcycle safety and awareness group. He was treasurer for the Southeast Alaska Tongass Chapter of the Harley Owner's Group, and was a member of the Juneau Gastineau Rotary Club.
Brewer was an avid outdoorsman, a pilot of private aircraft and hot air balloons, and an aerial photographer.
He was preceded in death by his father, William "Bud" Brewer of Helena, Mont.
He is survived by Pam, his wife of 28 years, and son, Eric Brewer, of Juneau; stepsons, Scott Tobel and family, of Juneau, and Brad Tobel and family, of Helena; his mother, Marie Brewer; sister and brother, Marcia Ala and Dale Brewer and families, all of Helena; brother Marvin and family, of Seattle; and seven grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 10, 2007 at Centennial Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Healing Hands Foundation, c/o P.O. Box 210008, Auke Bay, AK 99821.
Ken Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 523-2263.