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Bitterroot River drowning victim remembered as 'consummate, professional journalist'

Obit-John Brewer
Posted at 2:45 PM, Apr 24, 2024

HAMILTON — The man who drowned last week in the Bitterroot River is being remembered as a "consummate, professional journalist."

John Brewer, 76, of Port Angeles, Washington drowned after the boat he was in tipped over in a log jam. Brewer worked as a journalist for decades in the Port Angeles area.

"John was really the consummate, professional journalist. When he moved to Port Angeles in the late 90s and took over the Peninsula Daily News he brought a 'larger market' approach to the paper, but quickly embraced the community's tone and concerns," said former MTN News reporter Dennis Bragg who worked alongside Brewer for many years in Washington.

"During our years of working together, the Olympic Peninsula was repeatedly in the spotlight for several major national, and international stories, but John's professionalism always helped to keep the coverage grounded to what people needed to hear from the local media, while still being competitive," Bragg recalled. "We had frequent discussions about the ethics of those stories, and I enjoyed our joint ventures covering local politics."

"In succeeding years after I moved to Montana, I could always count on John's Facebook posts to keep me apprised of local developments, even in the years after his retirement. So I was heartbroken to learn of his passing over the weekend," Bragg concluded.

Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton says two other fishermen in the boat with Brewer when it capsized made it to shore, but Brewer got caught up in the current. The other fishermen pulled Brewer out of the water downstream of the accident and started CPR.

Emergency crews arrived on the scene, but despite continued lifesaving efforts, Brewer died at the scene.