I was searching the Internet for pictures of the church the other day and came across a picture of my favorite Reverend from our church when I was young. When I clicked on it, sadly it was an obituary. Rev, Brewer was very well liked and was at the church from when I was about 12. We used to do all kinds of activities in our Youth Group and remember most of them well. That was a very important time of my life and he will be sorely missed. The world and United Riverside will not be the same without him.
Bruce Breuer of Springfield, MA passed into God’s loving presence on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at home surrounded by the love of his family. He died peacefully from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. Bruce was born February 26, 1941 in St. Louis, MO to Marguerite (Lauer) Breuer and Edward W. Breuer. He leaves his wife and best friend of almost 55 years Marilyn (Ryan) Breuer. He also leaves five children and their families: Beth A. (Breuer) Powers and her husband Daniel of Upton, MA; Michael A. Breuer and his former wife Michelle Seremett of Spencer/Brookfield, MA; Sarah R. (Breuer) Snyed and her husband Michael of Roslindale, MA; Timothy D. Breuer and his wife Christal of Springfield, MA; Joel E. and Joann Breuer of eastern MA. He adored his five grandchildren: Jeffrey and Jessica Powers; Camden and Chase Breuer; and Jaycee Breuer. He leaves his two brothers: Brian Breuer and his wife Jan of St. Louis, and Brandon Breuer and his wife Linda of Pleasant Hills, CA. He was predeceased by his sister Miriam (Breuer) Heinle. He also leaves his sister and brother-in-law Kathy (Ryan) and Robert Howe of Houston, TX, and two nieces and seven nephews and their families. Bruce’s early education was in South St. Louis. He received his Baccalaureate degree from Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL. He then graduated from Eden Seminary with a Masters of Divinity and was ordained into the United Church of Christ in 1965. Feeling the need to add more practical courses to his theology degree, he received a second Masters degree from Andover Newton Seminary in Newton, MA and then a Doctorate of Ministry in psychology and counseling from Andover Newton. Bruce’s ministry was always focused on social justice. As a seminary student in St. Louis he went to Canton, Mississippi to register Black voters. He also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama. Bruce was the senior pastor at Foster Memorial Church, UCC in Sixteen Acres from 1976 to 2006 and very involved in the Greater Springfield area.. His first parish was at Russell Community Church in Russell, MA from 1965 to 1969, and from 1969 to 1976 he was the pastor at United Riverside Congregational Church in Lawrence, MA where he was also the Protestant Chaplain at Lawrence General Hospital. No matter where he lived he was involved in community life from being the town recreational committee director and volunteer fireman in Russell to one of the Community Police chaplains in Springfield. Among many other things he was active with Pioneer Valley Project and was instrumental in starting the Baystate Hospital Chaplaincy program. For many years he served the greater United of Christ on the Church and Ministry committee. He loved bringing church groups to Israel and Egypt and spent a summer sabbatical on an archeological dig at Beit Shemesh, Israel. All of these activities greatly influenced him as a person and a pastor. He also loved camping, backpacking in the White Mountains, photography, and being with family. Bruce was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 51. He never let PD define him and continued to be as active as possible. He was very involved in his treatment as well as advances in his disease. He was treated from diagnosis at the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Boston University Medical School where he participated in drug and exercise research trials. He was confined to bed for the last two years and eight months. We would like to thank his medical team in Boston and in Springfield including Baystate Health and Hospice, and especially his devoted and loving caregivers: Shamika, Yamalise, and Yahaira.