Memorial announced for The Swinery’s Chef Joseph Brewer

One week after news of the death of Chef Joseph (Joey) Brewer, 35-year-old co-owner of The Swinery in West Seattle, memorial plans have been announced, via the business’s Facebook page and in a WSB comment:

Please join us on Monday, April 18th, 2011 at Lincoln Park shelter 3 from 4-7 for the Memorial of Chef Joseph Brewer.

Friends, fans, customers, family and community members are encouraged to come and celebrate the life of this incredible man.

Chefs Chris Merguez (Swinery), Jeremy Homan, Trina Recktenwald-Homan, Anthony Hubbard, and Wi…ll Parr will prepare food.

Lincoln Park • 8011 Fauntleroy Way SW

(2010 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli) In the WSB comment, there is also an obituary for Mr. Brewer – read it here after the jump:

Joseph Scott Brewer

Joseph Scott Brewer (Joey), of Seattle, passed away on Friday, April 8, 2011 at home. He was 35.

Joey was born on September 17th, 1975 in Seattle, Washington and was the son of Tony Curtis Brewer and Mary Bridgette Scramlin. He was raised in New York and Washington and lived in Arizona as well. He attended Somers High School in Lincolndale, New York and following high school Joseph furthered his education at Farestart Culinary School in Seattle, successfully graduating in 2008.

Joey had a strong passion for butchery, and enjoyed cooking, laughing, music, friends, collectibles, tattoos, his dogs and a continued desire to succeed.

He is remembered by his family and friends as an outstanding chef and accomplished butcher who took great pride in work and cherished his community, family and friends. Throughout his life, Mr. Brewer always had a hand out to help those who were in need of his help and advice. He was a good listener and never sugar coated how he felt. Joseph was respected and loved by all who met him.

Survivors include his two children, Mikael and Mikaela, age 10; his mother, Mary B. Scramlin and father, Tony Curtis Brewer; brothers, Stephen Nichter and Aaron Nichter and his dogs Chloe, Darlah and Bella.

Chris Nishiwaki, Seattle Food Writer, wrote: “Joey Brewer opened up about his tumultuous life with excruciating candidness when I interviewed him this winter. He was charming and energetic as we was remorseful. He never made excuses or looked back. He look ahead to the future with optimism.”

37 Replies to "Memorial announced for The Swinery's Chef Joseph Brewer"

  • Liza April 16, 2011 (3:16 pm)


  • candice April 16, 2011 (3:20 pm)

    we miss u so much Joey. so many things we wish we all would have said. RIP and remember, u will NEVER be forgotten.

  • lenguamor April 16, 2011 (5:41 pm)

    How did he die? So tragic, so young.

  • WSNIMBY April 16, 2011 (5:42 pm)

    Certainly not trying to be insensitive here, but what was the cause of death? Seems like the elephant in the room – no mention of it in the WSB posts that I’ve read, no mention in the obituary. Accident? Murder? Suicide?

  • charlabob April 16, 2011 (8:34 pm)

    What is wrong here? It is no one’s business how he died. Public speculation is simply rude.

    I’m sure anyone who needs to know does — obviously no “community interest” would be served by telling the rest of us.

  • gary April 16, 2011 (9:42 pm)

    I think it’s a fair question…

  • lenguamor April 16, 2011 (9:43 pm)

    Bull***. If there’s community interest in him at all, then there’s no reason not to state the cause of death.
    Another local chef died recently, having committed suicide; no less is thought of him, no less sympathy is extended those who loved him. And no one needs you pompously defending anyone’s honor, charlabob.
    Brewer was a part of our community. He was one of us. We want to know the circumstances of his death. There’s nothing prurient or improper about that.

    • WSB April 17, 2011 (1:31 am)

      Neither the family nor others close to Mr. Brewer have to this point publicly disclosed or announced the cause of death. Nor is it thus far a matter of public record; if the Medical Examiner even was involved (they do not investigate every death), it hasn’t been on their daily media-update line listing the causes of death in the several cases they do announce the results of daily. To my understanding, which seems borne out by the obituary above, he did not die in public. It’s his family and other loved ones’ choice to disclose it or not, as is the case with other deaths we report that do not involve public or criminal circumstances.. – TR

  • Galki April 16, 2011 (9:56 pm)

    Those who care should know.

  • SS April 16, 2011 (10:01 pm)

    I don’t get why no one is saying Cod? These are the things we need to talk about in the community to help each other along in this human experience.

    awareness = more acceptance = more compassion & more love.

  • JanS April 16, 2011 (11:35 pm)

    If you all truly want to know how this man died, I suggest you call the Swinery and ask. The editor of this “blog” is just that, the editor. The contents are what he/she/they think is appropriate. And, please..some respect…what you really want to know is if he committed suicide….you want to know the “gossip”. He died…that’s all..and if the family wants to let the rest of it out, that’s up to them.

  • mermaidfan April 16, 2011 (11:53 pm)

    I disagree that that is why people want to know. I live in a community and I know the people in my neighborhood. I am invested in them, I care about them. I may not be their close family but I care. I am not saying I have a right to know but I completely disagree that it’s insensitive or prying to want to know. It actually helps the process of closure occur.

  • lenguamor April 16, 2011 (11:59 pm)

    Jan: then SAY THAT. This blog is a central source of information about the community, this included. If the family wanted to keep the cause of death private, SAY THAT. It’s not wrong for us to want to know. I can’t believe how acrimonious some of you are willing to be to your neighbors, and for what? For wanting to know the one thing, the first thing ANYONE wants to know as soon as they learn of the death of someone they care about. Shame on you and on everyone else with such a sanctimonious attitude about this.

  • Concerned Parent April 17, 2011 (7:37 am)

    Galki, we all grieve for Joe … NO, “those who care” don’t know!!! … He was a special person to many of us even if we didn’t live with, live by, visit his home. He was a part of us too!

  • good egg April 17, 2011 (8:55 am)

    Just stop please. May he rest in peace. That is all.

  • WSNIMBY April 17, 2011 (12:33 pm)

    My gosh, lots of self-righteouness here. He was a part of our community (a fairly well-known one, at that), he was young, and his death was sudden and unexpected. While it is tragic, that does not mean that it is improper to question why or how it happened. I disagree with the contention that this is an inappropriate question to ask.

    The fact is, If he had been involved in a car accident or was murdered, that manner of death would have been reported. So by not saying, it does lead to speculation and questioning. Some people will read more into why it’s *not* being reported. Why not discuss it? Is there shame in that? There shouldn’t be.

  • RJB April 17, 2011 (4:32 pm)

    It is sad, a tragic loss and I wish his family, friends and co-workers peace. This has to be just a horrible experience for them. What a great loss for West Seattle and the culinary community….

  • pjmanley April 17, 2011 (7:42 pm)

    I think all sudden, unexpected deaths require reconciliation as part of the grieving process. Many who’d like to know the cause are displaying empathy, as many do, imagining themselves in the role of the deceased and the grieving survivors. It’s part of what makes us human, wondering of the experience in the other’s unfortunate shoes. This is a good thing, and while some may have morbid curiosity driving their need to know, many others, most I’d guess, want to know if any lessons can be taken from this tragic loss. If not, or the family wishes to keep it private, so be it, and we should all respect that. But alas, I hate seeing my neighbors being so cynical and judgmental towards one another. We all just lost a cherished member of our community. As we all grieve, lets be kind and patient with each other. These things are hard.

    • WSB April 17, 2011 (7:50 pm)

      I do want to stress that the announcement of the memorial makes the point that the community is welcome. Who knows if anything will be said about how he died … but if you wish to show your respect, and perhaps find out more about his life AND death, they made it abundantly clear all are welcome. Even (we checked) media. – TR

  • SS April 17, 2011 (8:30 pm)

    @pjmanley my thoughts exactly. thank you.

  • Michelle April 17, 2011 (8:31 pm)

    EVERY ONE of you is arguing about who knows what or whether or not it’s anyone’s business, why it is or isn’t whomever’s business, and whether or not you’ve been wronged by not being informed.

    VERY FEW of you are expressing condolences or love. WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?!

    What are you all, neighbors and customers?? You think this entitles you to private details to someone’s life OR death??

    Perhaps when there’s a death in your family, you will just love the barista from the coffee stand banging down your door(so to speak),asking incessant questions about it, and demanding answers just because he/she made them a latte a few times.

    I wouldn’t put it past you gossip-mongering bastards to show up to Joey’s memorial just to dig up some answers!!

    You all sicken me, but that’s to be expected. What’s most surprising is that you are so unabashedly unashamed of YOURSELVES.

  • Lyn April 17, 2011 (9:31 pm)

    I don’t think folks are talking about “being wronged”or “demanding answers”. Please go back and read pjmanley’s eloquent post. Everyone here is entitled to their opinion and have different takes on healing as a community and individuals.

  • Ed April 17, 2011 (10:18 pm)

    Easy Michelle, easy.

  • Nulu April 17, 2011 (10:54 pm)

    Did Michelle just come upon this today?
    Is she not aware of the one week ago news of the death by WSB where there were 51 posts with many of them expressing condolences?

    WSB’s continuing coverage of his death as well as Liza’s WSB post and the Swinery’s obituary on Facebook have publicized what could have been a very private matter.

    “Chris Nishiwaki, Seattle Food Writer, wrote: “Joey Brewer opened up about his tumultuous life with excruciating candidness when I interviewed him this winter. He was charming and energetic as we was remorseful. He never made excuses or looked back.” WSB above.

    Words like those lead the casual reader to wonder what these “tumultuous life” revelations were and why he is now being denied the “excruciating candidness” he chose to share so publicly with the press before his demise.

    “WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU,” Michelle? I don’t see you expressing your condolences.

    Rest in Peace Joseph Brewer, from someone who never got to know you but still feels the loss.

  • Jenn April 18, 2011 (3:43 am)

    Such a huge loss to the community. I am so sorry for the loss to the Swinery Family. One of the things I loved about the Swinery,was the passion that Joey had. It showed through in everything he did. He will be sorely missed. Even in Australia, my thoughts are with all who were a part of his life.

  • Yardvark April 18, 2011 (7:20 am)

    Huge loss to the community. It’s perfectly okay to ask why this happened. Don’t feel guilty. Most importantly, condolences to Joey’s family.

  • Concerned April 18, 2011 (7:33 am)

    Michelle, CHILL!! You are going to have a stroke! No one is arguing except you! No one is sending hate, or bad thoughts. Everyone is concerned, hurting, missing Joey, and yes curious too!

  • T April 18, 2011 (8:34 am)

    I think most people want to know the COD so they can determine if it could happen to them.

  • bigjimbob April 18, 2011 (8:36 am)

    Way to young,Rest in peace brother!

  • Jasperblu April 18, 2011 (8:50 am)

    Whatever the circumstances of Joey Brewers death, I think we should *at least* try to be respectful of his close friends and family during this time of mourning.
    Yes, it seems curious that the cause of death has not been mentioned in any articles thus far. But as mentioned above, if there were any suspicious circumstances, no doubt the family would WANT the community to know (remember Jeremy Peck?). Since they clearly are not willing or ready to share that with us, my *guess* is that his death was not only unexpected but likely the result of his own hand. Accidental or on purpose, what does it matter? The results are the same. A devastating loss for those left behind.
    I’ve lost more than a dozen friends in my lifetime to accidental overdoses and suicide (I am NOT saying that is what happened to Joey Brewer!). Believe me, if you think the WS Community has questions, you cannot imagine the questions close family and friends will have. Like why? And what could I have done? Or why didn’t he/she tell us they were in such despair?
    But to be honest, the same can be said for anyone who dies suddenly or unexpectedly. Why? How could this happen? How will we get through this?
    There *IS* a part of me that wants to know what happened. Not because I want to gossip or judge, but because if it was suicide or accidental overdose, I want the STIGMA of those things to be bathed in light and love, not darkness and shame.
    He was not my family member. Nor a close friend. Therefore, I do not get to have a say in how his loved ones handle their grief. It sounds like they are FAR more interested in celebrating his life, and his life force. And for that, I cannot fault them at all.
    So perhaps we all need to just chill. We’ll get the “real” story, or we won’t. It really doesn’t matter. Not to the Big Picture anyway.
    May he rest in peace. And may his family find some measure of comfort. Losing someone you love sucks. There are no other words more appropriate than, “I’m so sorry for your loss”, “this really sucks!” and “Is there anything I can do to help?”

  • HimAgain April 18, 2011 (10:10 am)

    It’s not wrong to be curious; nor is it wrong to for the family to withhold information if that’s what they want to do. There’s no moral silver bullet here; you’re arguing for nothing.

  • seattlecris April 18, 2011 (10:28 am)

    T, it not only could happen to you it will… when your time has arrived. May Joseph rest in peace and may you live every moment with gusto like he did.

  • AJP April 18, 2011 (12:08 pm)

    Thank you for your tact, WSB. It’s really no one’s business but those closest to him. My condolences to his family and friends.

  • jjt April 18, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    I didn’t even know Joey, that well, but I was so sad when I read most of the blogs. At this time everything is so raw and emotional for close fiends and family. They are hurting so bad right now. You will, find out what happened, probably today at the memorial and most of you will talk to each other and laugh and cry and share wonderful memories. Please think about what you write on your blog and be considerate of his family.

  • Jeremy and Trina Homan April 18, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    We were invited to prepare food at The Swinery today for Joey Brewers memorial as we have been very close friends with him since we met in 2007. We have felt a very warm welcome from his staff and interns, as well as the owner, from the moment we met everyone and look forward to returning every time we come back to Seattle. Joey had so much passion for his work, especially at The Swinery where we know by working with the staff that he passed on so much of his energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge to everyone there. Chris, Joey’s sous chef, has taken up his new responsibilities with as much pride as Joey always had in his job, and we look forward to seeing him grow as The Swinery does.

    All of the staff and interns at The Swinery have experienced a great loss of a brilliant and energetic man, but they will surely prevail. Thank you Swinery staff for everything that you have done for Joey. He will be greatly missed and we’re sure he will remember you forever.

    -Chefs Jeremy & Trina Homan

  • Nulu April 20, 2011 (8:44 am)

    “Thank you for your tact, WSB.” AJP

    AJP is making the assumption that WSB knows the COD and is withholding that information.

  • chila April 22, 2011 (4:31 pm)

    I doubt WSB knows that info. Otherwise it would have published it in order to appease the “curious to the point of nosy” WS community. WSB is known for a lot of things, but tact concerning sensitive items is not one of them.

Sorry, comment time is over.