Who was Jake Brewer? White House, tech world remember 'a brilliant mind'
A White House staffer who worked in science and technology was killed in a bike accident Saturday, leaving behind a young family.
A White House advisor friends described as an optimist and renaissance man died Saturday, and friends in the tech world have left tributes and donations for his young family.
Jacob – known as "Jake" – Brewer was a White House staffer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy and had previously worked as a director at Change.org.
The "tragic loss" was mourned by President Obama, who released a White House statement: "Simply put, Jake was one of the best. Armed with a brilliant mind, a big heart, and an insatiable desire to give back, Jake devoted his life to empowering people and making government work better for them."
Mr. Brewer was riding in the 160-mile Ride to Cure Cancer bike race when he lost control of the bike on a curve. His bike hit an ongoing car, and he was killed, but his family asked that the race continue as planned, reports The Washington Post.
He was known for being a "connector" who brought people together, both through virtual networks as a tech guy and as a fierce and indiscriminate friend, reports Politico.
His wife, Mary Katharine Ham, is an editor at Hot Air and a Fox News analyst. The couple have a two-year-old daughter, Georgia, and Ms. Ham is seven months pregnant.
His wife said their marriage worked despite stark political differences. "We were together because we believed everyone was so much more than that," she said, according to Politico.
Brewer's friend and colleague at the Sunlight Foundation, Clay Johnson wrote a Facebook post with a tribute to Brewer's work. "Of course Jake Brewer died riding a bicycle fighting somebody else’s cancer… Whether it was the cancer of corruption or pollution or the cancer of apathy, or the cancer of actual cancer that kills you."
Ham posted an Instagram tribute to her husband, noting his devotion as a father and love of photography. "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."
A GoFundMe memorial campaign to help pay for the education of Brewer's daughter and the baby on the way has already raised more than $262,000 out of $200,000 requested.