East Cleveland morns the loss of the 12-year veteran councilwoman who was more like a mom to so many. Brewer, who had battled colon cancer for a few years, succumbed to her illness Sunday,
By Felicia C. Haney
“My mother cared for and ran the city like she loved her children.” – Michael Brewer Sr.
And if you knew Mildred Brewer, you would know this to be true. That is why the city of East Cleveland morns the loss of the 12-year veteran councilwoman who was more like a mom to so many.
Brewer, who had battled colon cancer for a few years, succumbed to her illness Sunday, June 10 at Hospice of the Western Reserve. But, like so many other things she took on, it was not without a fight.
The mother of six, Brewer extended her concern for safety to her biggest baby, the City of East Cleveland, by helping to secure a $500,000 grant to increase child safety on the way to and from school. She also endorsed safety laws that included everything from requiring bike helmets to gun control.
But just as much as she loved the youth, she championed for the elderly.
The 76-year-old councilwoman would visit the Helen S. Brown Senior Center on a regular basis and tell its occupants, “When I’m here, I am not the councilwoman. I am here receiving the same services as you all.”
Kevin Valentine, director of the Helen S. Brown Senior Center and the adult and senior services, reflected back on the life of the councilwoman and shared, “Mildred cared immensely for this community and she fought for it. It was because of Mildred Brewer that I have this job. Mildred was a plain talking woman. You would never misunderstand where she was coming from. If she liked you, you knew it. If she didn’t like you, you knew it. She was a little crass and that sometimes rubbed people the wrong way; but, quite frankly, we need more plain talking people. I considered her a personal friend. I was one of the people there in her final hours. She was in a bit of pain. She couldn’t talk. She was just moaning. That was difficult for me considering her and I talked every night. She had been having some issues in city council so I was there to listen and vice versa, definitely vice versa. She’ll be missed here at the center by the seniors and myself.”
Some of Brewer’s city council issues stemmed from her overwhelming support of Mayor Gary Norton, who also accredits Brewer for getting him in position to do his job as well. After former East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor’s departure, Saratha Goggins filled his position as mayor leaving a vacant seat on city council. And that’s where Brewer got the wheels in motion for Norton to begin his career in East Cleveland government.
Deeply saddened by her loss, Norton will remember her as “someone I could always trust to be honest with me and the community. She taught me a lot about respecting residents of all types and about keeping your word. I never questioned where that lady stood. Even when we disagreed, there was never any anger or animosity between us. She’s the person who started the ball rolling in getting me elected in East Cleveland. She is a very special person to me in both private and public. To the family, if there is anything we can do to help… God, I loved that woman. She will be missed. We lost a lot with her.”
Mildred Louise Batts was born in 1935. Raised in Cleveland, she attended Glenville High School and graduated from Dyke College. She was a worker in social services with accolades that grew to Democratic ward leader, East Cleveland Public Library board president, vice president of East Cleveland Citizen Coalition, East Cleveland campaign office manager for Jimmy Carter, national delegate for Presidents Carter and Bill Clinton. Brewer moved her family to East Cleveland in 1968 and has been its surrogate mother ever since. Outside of the city that she fostered for so long, she leaves to morn her – six children: Anthony Warner of East Cleveland; Mildretta Warner-Davis of Cleveland; Gerald Warner of East Cleveland; Yul Brewer of Cleveland; Michael Brewer Sr. of Decatur, Ga.; and Kenneth Brewer of Cleveland; 19 grandchildren and a host of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday, June 16 at Temple Baptist Church (formerly Christ the King), 1862 Noble Road in East Cleveland. The repast, immediately following the interment at Lakeview Cemetary, will be held at the Helen S. Brown Senior Center, 16100 Euclid Ave. both are in East Cleveland, 44112. E.F. Boyd and Sons of East Cleveland will be handling the arrangements. The family and friends of Mildred Brewer will be having a block party in her honor on Grasmere Ave. in East Cleveland, outside Brewer’s residence at 1868 Grasmere Ave.