William "Bill" Brewton passed away on December 28, 2020.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
10am - 12pm
Celebration of Life with Military Honors
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
2500 University Ave. - Des Moines, Iowa 50311
Iowa Veterans Cemetery
*CDC guidelines will be followed with masks required during the Visitation and Celebration of Life. Social distancing will strongly be encouraged.
William “Bill” Curtis Brewton was born December 28,1926 in Iowa City, IA, to Cecil and Francis (Reed) Brewton. He attended McKinley High School in Cedar Rapids, IA, where he was the only black football player. He went on to graduate from North High School in Des Moines, IA. While attending North High, Bill joined the swim team, where he was the first black swimmer.
After graduating from high school, Bill joined the United States Army. During that time he continued his education by studying to become an X-ray technician. Afterwards, he went on to serve as a combat engineer and X-ray technician during World War II and the Korean War. After a total of 26 years, Bill retired from the military. After his retirement, Bill tried several different careers. If he did not like the job or the people, on to the next career he went. One of his favorite pastimes was working on cars, which led him to go back to school to become a mechanic. Bill touched many lives while working as a Polk County Deputy sheriff, a mechanic at his own auto garage and Dewey Ford. He then went on to drive the city bus for MTA and worked at Dahls. Bill permanently retired as a bus driver for Des Moines Public Schools.
Bill met the love of his life, Louella, in 1979. They instantly embraced each other's children as their own. Bill and Ella, as he affectionately called her, married on June 4, 1983. They were married for 37 wonderful years. Together they loved to travel, go fishing, and barbecue for family and friends. Throughout the summers they spent many weekends at their “Lake House” RV in Minnesota. Later in life they enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Bill was an active member of the Hawkeye Elks Lodge 160. During his time as a member he served as a financial secretary. Bill and Lou were known for their chicken wing dinners they sold to help support his trip to receive his honors. In August 2003, his family traveled from California and Iowa to watch him receive his Past Grand Exalted Ruler Honors in Las Vegas.
Bill was an avid Iowa Hawkeye fan and it was rare to see him without his leather Hawkeye jacket. Two of his granddaughters graduated from Iowa State University. They enjoyed their lighthearted rivalry with their grandpa and always attempted to get him to wear ISU gear. His time spent with family and friends came with lots of jokes and laughs. Bill enjoyed making others smile. He enjoyed dressing up as Santa Claus for the kids. Bill often joked about how one of his granddaughters made sure all the kids knew that it was her “Papa” and not Santa Claus. He enjoyed sharing his life story with his family. A couple of his favorite stories to tell were him sparring with a young Muhammed Ali, and when his daughters signed him up to spar with a bear.
Bill rededicated his life to Christ and started attending church regularly every Sunday. He rejoined Union Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Henry I. Thomas. At that time he was interested in becoming a Deacon. On January 11th, 2015, he was ordained as a Deacon and was a devoted member of the church.
Bill was preceded in death by his father Cecil Brewton Sr.; mother, Francis Brewton; and brother Cecil Brewton Jr.
Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Louella Brewton; daughters; Pam Stevenson, Michelle Malone, Cheryl Holmes, Billie Lisby (Robert), Sheila Johnson; son, Cliff Watkins; 15 grandchildren, a host of great grandchildren; great-great grandchildren; and several cousins, nieces and nephews that he continued to stay connected with through video chat up until his passing.