Albert Brewer, Alabama's 47th governor, dies at age 88

Albert Brewer, Alabama's 47th governor, dies at age 88

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Former Alabama Gov. Albert P. Brewer has died at age 88. Brewer was the state's 47th governor and served from 1968 to 1971.

Gov. Robert Bentley released this statement Monday night:

Alabamians have lost a great leader today in the passing of Governor Albert Brewer. He lived his life as an example of integrity and professionalism in public service, and displayed an unwavering commitment to making Alabama a great state. Always a friend to me, Governor Brewer was ever ready with a kind and encouraging word. Most of all he loved serving the people of this state. In addition to serving as the 47th Governor, Brewer was elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives and as Lieutenant Governor. The State of Alabama is grateful for his faithful service. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

The Alabama Democratic Party also expressed its condolences to Brewer's family and many friends, releasing this statement:

The Alabama Democratic Party mourns the loss of Governor Albert Brewer, who served our state with honor, dignity, and intelligence for many years. His legacy of progressive leadership in the Alabama Legislature and as Governor set a high standard which others have attempted, but failed to reach.

"As Democratic Party Chair, I considered Governor Brewer to be a personal friend and mentor through the years. I shall miss his quiet counsel, his wisdom, and his vision for our state," said Alabama Democratic Party Chair Nancy Worley.

A Tennessee native, Brewer's family moved to Decatur when he was just 7-years-old where his father worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Following high school, Brewer enrolled at the University of Alabama where he graduated from the UA School of Law in 1952.

Brewer was elected to the Alabama Legislature in 1955 and was twice re-elected to his seat. He served as Alabama's House speaker before being elected lieutenant governor in 1966. He assumed the office of governor upon the death of Gov. Lurleen Wallace on May 7, 1968.

(Brewer taking the Oath of Office in May 1968. Source: Alabama Dept. of Archives and History)

Brewer's tenure as governor lasted only 33 months before he was defeated in a very negative campaign by former Gov. George Wallace in 1971 while seeking a full term. He attempted a second unsuccessful run for the office in 1978.

To date, he's the only Alabama governor to ever hold the offices of speaker, lieutenant governor, and governor in succession.

During his time as governor, Brewer established the state's first code of ethics for state employees, decreased the power of special interests in the capital, formed a constitution reform committee, and started the state motor pool, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama.

The governor's greatest accomplishment came in 1969 with education reform that brought teacher raises, a $100 million increase in education appropriations, and the establishment of the Alabama Commission for Higher Education.

Brewer is preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Martha Famer Brewer, who died in 2006. The couple had two daughters, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.