Longtime Montgomery County elections official Pamela Brewington passed away on April 7 in Columbia, Md., at the age of 90.
A Northwestern University graduate, she took on active roles in public service following the sudden death of her beloved husband, Ted, all while picking up the pieces and raising two fine sons.
Pamela was born in Chicago on Sept. 18, 1927, to advertising executive Frank Pettee and his wife, Clara Baumann, a first-generation immigrant from Germany. She grew up surrounded by books in creative homes in Lombard and Downers Grove, Ill. She relished her elementary and junior high years at Avery Coonley School before graduating from Downers Grove High School and going on to earn a degree in speech from Northwestern.
She moved to New York City, where she met the man she would marry, Ted, at Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan, an institution known as a stronghold of activism and political debate. He was a progressive deacon there who helped integrate the church. Their shared belief was to practice what you preach, and do what you can to help the less fortunate.
They married in 1956, had two boys and moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, then their first single-family home, a bungalow at 3613 Underwood Street in Chevy Chase, with Ted working for the IRS as a public information officer and Pam getting involved in politics and working on political campaigns. She enjoyed canvassing and “shoe leathering” for good friend Royce Hanson's congressional bid in 1966 and was Precinct Vice Chairman in the late 1960s.
After Ted passed away suddenly in 1971 from a heart infection, friends gathered at the house as she told her sons, "We will be very sad and sometimes we will cry, but we will be happy, too. We will do all the things we have always done. We will go to ball games, play tennis, go swimming and take trips."
She took on active roles in health planning with the state of Maryland in 1972, working on the Maryland Health Resources Planning Commission from its inception in 1982 until 1992. She toured the state, helping to ensure that the people – especially the less advantaged -- had the access to hospitals and nursing homes they needed.
She served 19 years with the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors of Elections, including nine years as president, ending in 1993. Her sons proudly recall seeing her name on forms when they voted over the course of many elections. She worked as a political consultant and wrote columns on politics for the Montgomery Journal and Montgomery County Sentinel.
She adored legendary Maryland politicians Harry Hughes, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski. A liberal Democrat, she rarely voted Republican, and prided herself on voting in every primary and general election all her life.
In 1991 she moved to Rockville and later to Columbia, where she lived the last eight years of her life contentedly at Harmony Hall assisted living facility.
She is survived by her sons, Will and Peter Brewington, who recall their mother's intelligence, heart and passion for life. On family trips to Shippensburg, Pa., she loved to recite the poem “Barbara Frietchie” by John Greenleaf Whittier -- "Up from the meadows rich with corn, clear in the cool September morn" -- while driving across the mountains near Frederick. Her sons recall their mom's affinity for Christmas, celebrating with Advent calendars, pinning Christmas cards on ribbons, playing a pile of holiday records and decorating cookies. She loved to eat out and salivated over planned outings to Normandy Farm in Potomac, Mrs. K's Toll House in Silver Spring and Kings Contrivance in Columbia. Even in her final months, she still loved going across the street from her assisted living facility for Peruvian chicken, followed by ice cream at The Meadows Original Custard shop.
Besides her sons, Pamela is survived by grandsons Tyler and Christopher, sisters Abigail Newburger and Toni Sherman and her nieces and nephews: Anne, Meg, Rick and Eric.