Margaret House Brewer

1921 - 2017

Our dear Mother died early in the morning of Thursday, August 24, 2017, in Healdsburg, CA where she had lived for the last several years, after suffering a stroke the previous week. Margaret Brewer was born Margaret Elizabeth House on April 21, 1921, to Edwin House and Mary Elizabeth George House. Her maternal grandfather and his siblings came to Santa Barbara in 1866. He, Clarence George, was a stonemason from Vermont who contributed to many stoneworks in Santa Barbara, including building the low wall around the Court House, and is noted several times in the book Stone Architecture in Santa Barbara. After falling from the scaffolding while building the steeple of Trinity Episcopal Church at Micheltorena and State Street and becoming paralyzed, he studied law and was a Justice of the Peace with offices where La Arcada Court now is, with his home where the adjacent Figueroa parking garage now is. He was appointed to be Judge of the Superior Court in 1929, but died in the early morning of his scheduled swearing in.

Mama married Angus MacPhee, and they had five children, all surviving her: Marilyn Metzner, Mary Johnson (David), Maylene Cook (William), Archie MacPhee (Sandy), and Alan MacPhee (Gayle). She had one brother, Edwin Homer House, Jr., who died in WWII. Mother leaves grandchildren Kevin Callans (Kristen), Kathleen Metzner, Paul Metzner, Pamela Hiromerides (Philip), Debbie Rodas (Kurt), Teri McKenzie, the late Wanda Komura (Dai), Anna Johnson, Adam Johnson (Michelle), Briana Santoscoy (Edwin), Ian MacPhee, Christina Arnall (Darren), Aaron MacPhee, Alysha MacPhee, and Andrew MacPhee (Haley); great grandchildren Brittany Hines (Josh); Sarah Maxwell; Claire, Graeme and Aedan Metzner; Nathan and Fiona Hiromerides; Kerry May, Kyle and Dusty Rodas; Jaslynn Abbott (Cale), Michelle and George McKenzie; Isabel Abarca-MacPhee, Joaquin and Giovani Santoscoy; Grayson and Sadie MacPhee; Kyle, Jacob, Jenna, and Jace Arnall;. and ten great great grandchildren.

Our Mother was a very bright and competent woman, and worked at various occupations, including PIO secretary at Camp Cooke (now Vandenberg AFB), Secretary at Pfizer in Terre Haute, Escrow Officer at Security Pacific National Bank in both Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, and Escrow Officer for Village Escrow in Lompoc when Vandenberg Village was built – there she met Kenneth Johnston, engineer who designed and built Vandenberg Village Golf Course, whom she married. He was often employed as Project Engineer in overseas ventures and they resided in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Sulawesi (an island of Indonesia), as well as Santa Barbara and Arizona.

When Papa Ken died 30 years ago, Mother returned from Arizona to California, to reside in Magalia, then Paradise for many years, where in 2001 she married Bill Brewer who died in July 2007. She then moved to Healdsburg, California, to be near her daughter Mary, where she was very happy and lived relatively independently ever since, never having to be in assisted living, although Mary took her to doctors/errands/ etc. once she gave up her driver’s license at 92 years of age. Her children visited often; and we had “Reunion Christmas” every five years for 30 years which all of the family attended; and her daughters had “Girls Weekend” with her twice a year for more than 27 years. We kept her feeling loved, admired, respected, enjoyed. She often won the Scrabble games (and did so on the day of her stroke) and excelled at NY Times crossword puzzles, and games on her iPad. She was very talented with her computer. She built doll houses, doll furniture, crocheted/knitted beautiful afghans and scarves, and was very creative and artistic.

Mother was very much a part of Santa Barbara history, and was a member of DAR, our ancestor John Howland having come from England on the Mayflower, and her expertise at genealogy was considerable, having traced us back eight generations (before computers!) and documented it for all five of us. She was interested and interesting, loving, and quite unprejudiced in all ways, deeply faithful. She loved the Lord and spent hours on her “daily devotions.” We will all miss her so.

Cremation and interment in the George family plot, Santa Barbara Cemetery. Memorial service at Goleta Presbyterian Church, 6067 Shirrell Way, Goleta, on Saturday, September 30, at 2:00 p.m. Reception immediately following. Donations in Memory of Margaret House Brewer may be made to the Salvation Army or to The Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation.

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