Friends, family gather to remember White House staffer

WASHINGTON — Friends and family of White House staffer Jacob Brewer gathered to mourn their loss and celebrate his life during a memorial at National Cathedral on Friday.

The 34-year-old was a senior policy adviser at the White House in the Office of Science and Technology. He died last Saturday after losing control of his bike during a charity event.

Brewer was eulogized by Ben Rattray, who paid tribute to his optimism, and noted the impact that his friend seemed to have on everyone he encountered.

“The measure of someone’s life isn’t just in what they accomplish while on Earth,” Rattray said. “It is what they leave behind, and Jake left an indelible mark on all of us.”

Childhood friend Aaron Gray remembered Brewer’s charm and sense of fun, eliciting a laugh from attendees with an anecdote about a teenage game of pool.

“When a cute girl walks by, Jake looked at her, smiled, and made an impossible bank shot,” Gray recalled. “He then gave me that classic Jake wink and said — ‘inspiration’!”

Gray followed this with a more serious tribute.

“Jake, your life, your friendship, your photography, your work and most importantly your love for your wife, children, family and friends are an inspiration to all of us.”

Many of the funeral-goers were, like Brewer, young parents and strollers dotted the aisles of the cathedral. There were also a number of men in suits, but no ties, a tribute to Brewer who hated them.

“It was called ‘Jake-casual’, so no ties,” said Landon Vick, who went to high school with Brewer.

The avid cyclist was taking part in the ‘Ride to Conquer Cancer’ event because of a close friend who was suffering from the disease.

Howard County police say he lost control of his bike on a sharp curve and crossed into the path of a car that struck him.

Brewer is survived by his wife, Mary Katherine, their toddler daughter, and what Gray called “little Brewer-to-be”— Ham is seven months pregnant with the couple’s second child.

His family has asked that donations be made in his memory to the Travis Manion Foundation, which supports veterans and families of the fallen.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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