Larry Brewer

Photo of Larry Brewer
Larry Brewer passed away Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. He was born Feb. 4, 1927 to Maude Williams Brewer and William Elbert Brewer in Cardwell, Mo. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother in-law Dr. James F. Gramling. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Bette Brewer; son and daughter in law, Bill and Diane Brewer; grandson, Will (Meredith) Brewer; granddaughters, Shaw Brewer, Neely (Britt) Camp, Ali (Casey) Bean; sister in law, Martha Gramling; nephew, Jim (Lacey) Gramling; nieces, Beth (Jim) Sanders and Sara (Robbie) Van Scoy. He graduated from Cardwell High School at the age of 17 and enlisted in the United States Army. He was assigned to The Officers Training Corp and was enrolled into The Army's Engineering Program located at the University of Wyoming in Larime. As the World War escalated on the Japanese Front these young soldiers enrolled in the programs were called in to active combat duty. He was deployed as a part of the invasionary forces bound to the Island of Japan. He always joked, although tongue and cheek, that President Harry Truman saved his life by his decision to drop the Atomic Bomb. He was in the early forces to occupy Japan after the surrender. He was discharged as a Staff Sargent. Upon his return home to Cardwell his father had suffered a severe stroke that left him bed ridden. He was immediately thrust into the family's oil business while continuing his education. He graduated from Arkansas State College in 1951. While enrolled at Arkansas State he was active in The Student Government Association and served as President of his Junior Class. He was also elected President of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and was a member of the national search committee to build its National Headquarters in Memphis. After graduation he returned fulltime to the family business, Brewer Brothers, which at that time consisted of three service stations located on various Arkansas/Missouri State Lines, and a bulk gasoline and oil business serving area farmers and those that burned kerosene for their heating needs. He soon began to expand the operation and by the early 1970's, he along with partners Shell Blakely and Bill Ferrin built one of the largest independent gasoline marketing operations in Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. During this same period he also developed a large Propane business, which was primarily used for home heating purposes. He realized that this business needed to be less seasonal, so he was a pioneer in the use of Propane for what was known as Flame Cultivation for weed control in Cotton. This was before chemicals were widely available for weed control. When farm chemicals began to be used, Brewer Brothers became a distributor for many of them such as Treflan. He was appointed to the Arkansas State University Board of Trustees. During his time on the Board the University constructed its new stadium and replaced the long term President, Carl R. Reng. One of the accomplishments that he was most proud of was the policy that allows Southeast Missouri students to pay in state tuition. He realized how important it was for students to have a University that was within driving distance to their homes. By the late 70's he decided that he would slow down and sell his portion of the gasoline business to his partners. He rediscovered his love of fishing and he and Bette began to spend at great deal of time at Heber Springs, Ark. enjoying Greer's Ferry Lake. His retirement was short lived when he was asked to become Chairman of the Board First Paragould Bankshares. During his tenure the bank purchased The Corning Bank and experienced healthy growth. He was named as a Distinguished Alumni of Arkansas State University, and was inducted into the Dunklin County Hall of Fame. Mr. Brewer was a member of The Paragould and Cardwell Rotary Club, served as a director of both the Missouri and Arkansas Oil Marketers Associations. He was a member of both the Cardwell and Honersville Masonic Lodge and also was a member of The First United Methodist Church of Paragould. Visitation will be held Monday, Jan. 27 from 12-2 with a Memorial Service beginning at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Paragould. Reverend John Fleming will officiate the service and personal remarks delivered by Mr. Kelly Wright. Pallbearers are Jeff Block, Donald Guinn, Mike Ford, Brian Clem, Jason Tritch, and Matt Rankin. Honorary Pallbearers will be employees and retirees of First National Bank and Brewer Brothers, members of 21 club, the Tuesday coffee group and the morning McDonalds coffee crew. The family wishes to express their profound gratitude to the staff of St. Elizabeth's of Jonesboro and of his personal caregivers, Lessie Shepard, and Brenda Reed both of Paragould. They would also like to thank Dr. Asa Crow, Dr. Dwight Williams, Dr. David Phillips, Dr. Matt Haustein, Dr. Brannon Treece and Dr. Adam Woodruff who all went above and beyond caring for him. The family asks that First United Methodist be considered for memorials. Online guestbook:

Published January 26, 2014

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