Columbia Central Grad Turned White House Aide Killed Saturday

Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 23:31:27-04

COLUMBIA, Tenn. -  Tuesday, Family and friends continued to mourn former white house staffer, Jake Brewer, and Middle Tennessee native.

Throughout the halls of the current Columbia Central High School, little has changed since the time the class of 99' roamed the hallways. Among the students then was Jake Brewer, a young man with motivation and talent.

"He just had a twinkle in his eye. He had those blue eyes and you just noticed Jacob right away," former teacher, Beth Fullerton said.

Sixteen years later Fullerton flipped through his yearbook.

"It was obvious good things were in his future. I never would've imagined though that he would be working at the White House one day," she said.

After graduating high school, Brewer attended the Naval Academy for two years before finishing college at Vanderbilt University. He went on to become a senior technology advisor for the White House.

"Watching his career grow, it’s always a pleasure to see a student who achieves at that level," said Fullerton.

On Saturday he was participating in charity bicycle ride to fight cancer when he collided head on with another vehicle, the accident killed him. Jake was 34 years old.

"I thought, not Jacob! That's horrible," Fullerton said.

Hundreds of miles away, the Columbia community was mourning. "I think we were all just kind of shocked and thought what a loss it was for such a good person to die so young and so suddenly," said Fullerton.

Brewer was married and had a 2-year-old daughter named Georgia. His wife was seven months pregnant with their second child.

His wife posted a picture on social media and with it she wrote:

"We lost our Jake yesterday, and I lost part of my heart and the father of my sweet babies. I don't have to tell most of you how wonderful he was. It was self-evident. His life was his testimony, and it was powerful and tender and fierce, with an ever-present twinkle in the eye. I will miss him forever, even more than I can know right now. No arms can be her father's, but my daughter is surrounded by her very favorite people and all the hugs she could imagine. This will change us, but with prayer and love and the strength that is their companion, we can hope our heartache is not in vain-- that it will change us and the world in beautiful ways, just as he did. If that sounds too optimistic at this time, it's because it is. But there was no thought too optimistic for Jake, so take it and run with it. I will strive and pray not to feel I was cheated of many years with him, but cherish the gift of the years I had. In a life where nothing is guaranteed, Jake made the absolute, ever-lovin' most of his time with all of us. This is a family picture we took a couple weeks ago. It was taken because Jake, as always, was ready with a camera and his immense talent. All four members of our little, growing family are in it. I can never be without him because these babies are half him. They are made of some of the strongest, kindest stuff God had to offer this world. Please pray that he can see us and we'll all make him proud. God, I love him. Psalm 34:18, Philippians 1:3"

In a statement, President Obama said Brewer had a brilliant mind, a big heart, and an insatiable desire to give back. He went on to say, "simply put, Jake was one of the best."

"What a legacy to leave behind. That's something his children and his family and we all can be proud of," said Fullerton.

Brewer most recently worked on President Obama's TechHire Initiative, and also worked on data to connect skilled workers with job opportunities.