In December of 2005, I was quite saddened to find a notice on Dr. Tom Brewer's website to the effect that he had passed away
in November. I had known Tom since the Fall of 1977, when we met at a weekend-long Brewer Diet seminar sponsored by the Childbirth
Education Association of Metropolitan New York, and we had kept in touch over the years. In the early years, we collaborated
on a poster and brochure about his pregnancy diet, and in more recent years we touched base with occasional phone calls, when
I had questions about the more complex of the problems brought to me by clients, referrals, or friends.
So it was with
great sadness that I learned quite by accident that he had passed from this world. I believe that his work on the effects
of nutrition in pregnancy have saved hundreds of lives, if not thousands. The ripple effect of what he has taught the world
is probably more far-reaching globally than we can imagine. He is sorely missed, but hopefully his work, and the goodness
that it has brought to us all, will go on.
Thanks, Tom, for all of your hard work and loving care for pregnant women
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Thomas Harrington Brewer, M.D., an obstetrician famous for "The Brewer Diet" for pregnancy and a researcher
who devoted his career to promoting better understanding and prevention of toxemia of pregnancy (pre-eclampsia/ eclampsia),
died Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005 in Middlebury, Vt. He was 80.
He was born April 9, 1925, in Houston, Texas, the only child of Mary and Horace H. Brewer.
Survivors include his former wives, Nancy Brewer of Capitola, Calif., and Gail Krebs of Port Jervis, N.Y.; his children, Eric
Brewer of Hyattsville, Md., Laurie Brewer of Capitola, Claire Lohmann of Denver, Colo., Daniel Hayes of Sacramento, Calif.,
Bruce Brewer of Oregon City, Ore., Cornelia Brewer of Burlington, Vt., and Thomas Brewer of Portsmouth; former step-children,
Marisa Bellingrath of Albany, N.Y., Ginevra Blumenfeld of Stamford, Conn., Elizabetta Krebs of Gettysburg, Pa. and Francesca
Krebs of Canton, N.Y.; a son-in-law, Willard Chastain of Vienna, Va.; a cousin, Gerald Harrington of Tampa, Fla.; 11 grandchildren;
and a lifelong friend, Norman Kittrell of Sugar Land, Texas.
Dr. Brewer was predeceased by two daughters, Linda Chastain of Starksboro, Vt. and Lisa Brewer of San Francisco, Calif., and
his second wife, Susan Hayes of Richmond, Calif.
WE REMEMBER: During Dr. Brewer’s freshman year at the University of Colorado, where he planned to study for the Episcopal
ministry, he enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17 and served in the 33rd Infantry in the Philippines, Leyte,
and Okinawa during World War II. He was wounded in action and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, among other military
honors. After being discharged he entered the University of Texas as a pre-med student, then graduated from Tulane Medical
School in 1951.
Dr. Brewer spent more than 50 years researching and studying the relationships between an adequate
maternal diet and improved pregnancy outcomes and was an outspoken advocate for the establishment of practice protocols for
nutritional guidance, surveillance, and intervention as mandated, reportable components of routine prenatal care.
Brewer was internationally published. He authored more than 40 articles in medical journals such as the Journal of Obstetrics
and Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecology,
Journal of Reproductive Medicine, Lancet, Gynecologia, Australia New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Journal
of Applied Nutrition, and Pediatrics and contributed numerous book chapters. His book for prenatal care providers, Metabolic
Toxemia of Late Pregnancy: A Disease of Malnutrition was published in 1963 and in paperback in 1982.
He was also the
medical consultant on numerous books written by his former wife, Gail Sforza Krebs, including "What Every Pregnant Woman Should
Know; The Truth About Diets and Drugs in Pregnancy" (Random House, 1977 and Penguin, 1979 and 1985), "The Brewer Medical Diet
for Normal and High-Risk Pregnancy" (Simon and Schuster, 1982), "The Pregnancy After 30 Workbook" (Rodale, 1979), and The
Brewer Pregnancy Hotline (Kalico, 2000).
Dr. Brewer took the position that failure to maintain a diet adequate for
pregnancy is a matter of clinical significance and a matter that should be addressed by the prenatal caregiver at every visit:
In other words, inadequate prenatal nutrition has predictable obstetrical and neonatal consequences that matter for mother
Dr. Brewer’s work is to be continued by The Brewer Institute, a privately funded organization that
will begin operations in 2006. This year Dr. Brewer had been working with Gail Sforza Krebs on a new book, an anthology of
the critical research papers published in the field of applied nutrition in pregnancy and the prevention of common pregnancy
complications. The title is: "Clinical Nutrition in Pregnancy: The Classic Papers."
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