I don’t often get to meet the people I write about because I usually write about my ancestors and others who have passed away. But this past week I had the opportunity to meet my first cousin twice removed, Darrel Burton “Pete” Brewster.
I wrote a blog post about him on 12 October 2012, entitled “Pete Brewster-Professional Football Player.” Darrel lives in Missouri but is spending some time with family near Portland this summer. We talked on the phone a few weeks ago and arranged to meet. Joe and I met him for lunch in Portland last Wednesday.
Darrel is still very tall and gets around well despite being a professional football player and having a few joint replacements over the years. He has striking light blue eyes and is a humble, Christian man. He mentioned that his 64th wedding anniversary was the day before. His wife Vivian passed away in 2012 and I could tell he still misses her very much.
He said the Brewsters call him Darrel, but Vivian’s side of the family call him Pete. How did he get the nickname Pete? Originally friends called his brother “Pete” but they later started calling Darrel by that nickname and it stuck. He said his mother did not care for that nickname.
Darrel was born in 1930 near Jefferson School, in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana, not far from Berne and Chatt. He lived there until he was about four years old, when his family moved to Portland.
Darrel’s father died when he was 12 years old and his mother married Orlie Walker a few years later. His father, Fred E. Brewster, is buried in Neptune Cemetery, just east of Neptune, but his mother, Nellie E. (Bricker) Brewster Walker, is buried at Green Park Cemetery, Portland, beside her second husband.
Darrel enjoys music and plays rhythm guitar to this day. He said he enjoys bluegrass gospel music. His love of music comes honestly and has always been part of his family. He said that in the 30s his father would go to Chatt and play his fiddle with other area musicians on a flat bed wagon. Darrel’s uncle Charlie played the mandolin, which Darrel inherited.
Darrel was a natural athlete and his height was an advantage. He loved to play basketball and was an Indiana Basketball All Star while at Portland High School. He wanted to play football his senior year at Portland, but his mother wouldn’t let him because she thought the game was too dangerous. So his older sister Esther signed the permission slip to play, without their mother’s knowledge.
After high school Darrel went to Purdue University on a basketball scholarship, but he also played football there. He played football very well at Purdue. So well that in 1952 he led the Purdue Boilermakers to a Big Ten football co-championship, was selected as the team’s MVP, and was named to the National College Football All-Star Team. He was a five-time letterman at Purdue and is a member of Purdue’s Athletic Hall of Fame in both basketball and football.
In 1952 he was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals [today the Arizona Cardinals] but was immediately traded to the Cleveland Browns. He had a very good career with the Browns that included two NFL championships, 210 receptions, 3,758 receiving yards, and 21 touchdowns. He played seven seasons with the Browns, from 1952-58.
I asked him about his pro football career and he said back then there weren’t many players on a team so he played on offense, defense, and special teams. He mentioned that during one game he was hit very hard by Dick “Night Train” Lane. Lane, who played for Detroit at the time, was a defensive back and was known as the #2 “most feared tackler.”
After Darrel left the Browns he played for the Steelers from 1959-60. Paul Brown was Darrel’s coach at Cleveland and Buddy Parker was his coach at Pittsburgh. He played in the NFL for nine seasons before becoming an assistant receivers coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, from 1964-1974. There he worked with Hank Stram.
The Chiefs won Super Bowl IV on 11 January 1970, the culmination of the 1969 season, when Darrel was rewarded with a Super Bowl ring.
I wondered if he would wear The Ring when we met for lunch Wednesday, or if he only wore it on special occasions. I noticed right away that he was wearing it. It was hard to miss. We were extremely excited when he took his ring off and asked if we wanted to see it and put it on. Heck yes!
It is a large, heavy ring with lots of embellishments that represent the Chief’s Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The ring contains a lot of information. The top is red, the Chief’s color, and around the border is engraved Kansas City Chiefs, World Champions, 1969. The diamonds form the shape of a football and the ten small stones represent that the Chiefs were in the AFL for 10 years.
Engraved in the one side of the ring is the Super Bowl trophy and above the trophy is Chiefs 23-7 Vikings with the word POISE below the trophy. Engraved on the other side is BREWSTER Asst Coach; 62, 69, 66; Chiefs 17, Raiders 7; a large A surrounded by 10 stars, and the word Confidence at the bottom. [The Chiefs won the 1969 AFL Championship by defeating the Oakland Raiders 17-7. The 62, 66, and 69 represent the years the Chiefs won three league championships.]
Darrel said he is interested in learning about his Brewster family roots and that no one in his family has much genealogical information. I think I can help them with that. I was glad that I took a couple albums of old Brewster photos and some print-outs of information about Daniel Brewster, our common ancestor.
Daniel Brewster (1845-1917) was Darrel’s grandfather and my great-great-grandfather. Darrel’s father was the son of Daniel and his second wife, Mary Loverda Bebout. I descend from Daniel and his first wife, Sarah Fetters. Daniel’s oldest child, Philip (1868-1935), was my great-grandfather, and the father of my grandmother Gertrude (Brewster) Miller.
Before we left Portland Wednesday Darrel drove us around the town. He showed us the memorial plaque erected in his honor in 2012, located beside the field where he used to play high school football.  The field was renamed Brewster Field in 2012 and is now the East Jay Middle School football field. He also drove past two of the homes in Portland where he lived as a boy.
What a nice visit we had. Thank you Darrel!
 The memorial plaque at East Jay Middle School football field is inscribed:
DARREL “PETE” BREWSTER FIELD
The football field at East jay Middle School, the former football field of Portland High School, is dedicated to honor the career of Pete Brewster, class of 1948.
• Member of Portland Panther Varsity Football and Basketball teams.
• Named as 1948 Indiana High School Basketball All Star.
• Played Basketball and Football at Purdue University.
• Named to 1952 College Football All Star team.
• Played 9 season in the NFL 1952-1960.
• Earned two NFL championships with the Cleveland Browns (1954 and 1955)
• Retired from the NFL in 1960 after accumulating 210 receptions, 3,758 receiving yards, and 221 touchdowns as an offensive end.
• An Assistant Coach for the NFL Kansas City Chiefs that won Super Bowl IV in 1969.
• Inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1976 and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998.
• Inducted into the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
This Jay School Corporation board resolution made on this day, July 16, 2012.
Greg Wellman, President
Mike Masters, Vice President
Larry Paxson, Secretary
Mike Shannon, Beth Krieg, Ron Laux, Jim Sanders, members
Dr. Tim Long, Superintendent