John Brewer


Funeral services for 76-year old John Brewer are Monday, Oct 16, 2023 at 10:00 at the Mother Butler Center in Rapid City, SD, with Minister Jonathan Old Horse officiating and traditional Lakota services by Mike Cross

Burial follows at 2:00 at the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, SD.

Visitation is Sunday from 4:00-5:00 at St.s Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in Rapid City, SD, with rosary services starting at 5:00 and prayer services at the Mother Butler Center Gymnasium after the rosary.

Online condolences may be left at

John L. Brewer was born in Pine Ridge to Lula Mills, Porcupine, SD and Arthur Brewer, Batesland, SD on Jan 28, 1947. John made his journey to the Spirit World on Oct 5, 2023 at the Monument Health Hospital in Rapid City, surrounded by loved ones.

John’s early years were marked by resilience and determination. His family relocated to Rapid City following the “Blizzard of ’49,” and he attended St John the Evangelist grade school. He later completed his 8th-grade education at the Stephan Mission School, now Crow Creek High School. 

John received his High School Diploma from Rapid City High School and then pursued higher education, earning a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education at Black Hills State University.

John briefly participated in boxing with Golden Gloves before enlisting in the United States Air Force. He was deployed to Vietnam as a chopper mechanic and worked under fire. 

In the years between his service in Vietnam and college, John was a passionate activist. He participated in historic events, including the occupation of Alcatraz from 1969-1971 and was among those arrested at Frank’s Landing while advocating for fishing rights alongside the Nisqually and Puyallup Tribes. 

Later in life, he stood in solidarity with fellow Veterans to support the social and environmental movement that opposed the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, SD.

John’s commitment to education was a defining aspect of his life. He taught at Little Wound High School, Red Cloud High School, and Rapid City Central High School – where he left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of his students. 

His passion for education extended beyond the classroom; he deeply cared for each of his students, seeing their potential and working tirelessly to help them succeed academically and personally. 

He played a pivotal role in bringing the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) to the local school system and taught enrichment classes for AISES at the University of Iowa during multiple summers. 

John’s dedication extended to Porcupine Day School, where he worked as an IT Specialist, and to Rapid City Central High School, where he finally retired. In his retirement, he served as the Chairman of the Board for Lakota Community Homes.

John’s interests and passions were wide-ranging. He was undeniably Bob Dylan’s #1 fan, spending countless hours playing the guitar and harmonica and jamming with the original “Rockers”. 

He cheered for his Denver Broncos and had a deep love of all thing’s science. John was an animal lover and had special bonds with his dogs, Luke, Searge, and Nala. These beloved companions were an important part of his life.

Let us remember John as a devoted teacher, a tireless advocate, loving husband and father, brother, uncle, grandfather and friend who enriched the lives of all of those fortunate enough to know him. 

He leaves behind a legacy of passion, dedication and love that will be cherished and remembered for generations to come.

John is survived by his devoted wife Renee (Bad Wound) Brewer of Rapid City and leaves behind a legacy through his children: John Martinez of Spokane, WA; Billie Jo Martinez of Rapid City; Rebecca Brewer of Longmont, CO; Dylan (Joanna) Brewer of Kyle, SD; Estella (Chris) White Thunder of Denver, CO; and Marcella (Charles) Comes Killing of Albuquerque, NM.

John is also survived by his sister Patricia (Darrell) Twiss of Manderson, SD; and brothers Larry Brewer of Rapid City and Randy Brewer of Ann Arbor, MI. 

John’s love and laughter lives on through his takojas John Martinez Jr, Gabrille Martinez, Tarah (Chris) White Eagle, Tanna Swan, Orlando “Oats” Swan, Adonica Little, Athena (Alvaro) Little, Emiella Jackson, Ezekiel Jackson, Dylan Brewer Jr, Ameera Miller, Alejandra Martinez, Patrick Martinez, Autumn White Thunder, Kelby, Kayson, Charlie, Rose, and Reign Comes Killing, Aaryn One Horn, Layla Little, Camilla Linan, Caylee Martinez-White Eagle, Carmyne Martinez-White Eagle, Tyler Cook, Zane Cook, Cruz Cook, Annabella Cook, Tate Cook, Jr Cook, and Jia Swift. 

He also leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and former students & coworkers.

John was preceded in death by his loving mother Lula Mills; his father Arthur Brewer; and is reunited in the Spirit World with his brothers Doug Brewer, Arthur Brewer Jr, Walter Brewer, Darrell Brewer, and Donnie Brewer as well as his sisters Geraldine Hagerman, Linda Adams, and Donna Chavez.

Pallbearers will be Orlando “Oats” Swan, John Martinez Jr, Brandon Bad Wound, Dylan Brewer Jr, Patrick Martinez, Kelby Comes Killing, Kayson Comes Killing, and Ezekiel Jackson.

Honorary pallbearers will be All Veterans, including the late True Brings White, the late Vern Stands, the late Alford Grudnewski, Jim Bad Wound, Charles Comes Killing, Bryan Brewer, Art Zimiga, Tom Bad Heart Bull, Tyler Dillion, Ryan Crawford, and Terry LaDeaux, and all friends & family.

Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, SD