The Metro Scene

A Father’s Day Spotlight – Dick Brewbaker

Spotlight On Dick Brewbaker

By Helen Herndon

As the world around us changes at lightning pace, Dick Brewbaker believes that there are fundamental truths that never change. A belief in — and commitment to — these truths is the driving force in his life and the legacy he wants to bestow to his family.

Born in Harlingen, Texas, to a JAG officer serving in the United States Air Force, Brewbaker’s family moved to Montgomery when he was just 3 years old and has remained here since. According to Dick, both of his parents taught him that serving one’s community was the standard, as opposed to living off it.

He very early on saw a need in his community. “You can’t live in Montgomery for very long and not realize that public education is an issue that never goes away,” he said. His own community service began when he became involved with SCORE 100, an education reform group. Also, in 1995 Gov. Fob James appointed him to his staff to work on education issues. “After that, I was fortunate enough to serve one term in the State House of Representatives and two terms in the Alabama Senate,” he said.

During Brewbaker’s tenure in the state Legislature, where he was known for following his conscience over his party’s agenda, he saw passage of the Intervention Act, the Virtual School Act, The Fostering Hope Scholarship Act and the ABLE Act. He also helped pass legislation requiring insurance companies to cover certain autism therapies, which is a true source of pride for him.

Faith played an important role in Brewbaker’s upbringing and continues to be a driving force in his life today. “Both of my parents were committed Christians,” he said. “Every day began and ended with prayers and church was a big part of our lives.”

After high school, Brewbaker followed in the footsteps of parents, grandparents and siblings and attended Vanderbilt University. There he earned a degree in history and economics and acquired a teaching certificate. Brewbaker also began to coach football and wrestling part time at several Nashville schools, while summers were spent working as a camp counselor. It was during his time in Nashville that Dick got the idea he wanted to work with kids.

“I had the opportunity to volunteer for two years at a school for children with behavioral problems, most of which were victims of some kind of abuse. Needless to say, I learned a lot from those children.”

After graduation Brewbaker taught history and coached various sports for a season at Trinity Presbyterian School and Montgomery Academy. In 1987 he made the decision to join the family business at Brewbaker Motors but continued to volunteer at Georgia Washington Junior High for six years and teach part time as opportunities arose.

“In 1989 I made the best decision of my life and married Ruth Wible,” he said. They met while very young as both the Wibles and the Brewbakers attended Trinity Presbyterian Church. “I believe our marriage has been successful because we both share the same view of what marriage is about. We both believe that there is no ‘exit’ door and that the promises we made before God are binding and forever. We believe our relationship to Christ is the most important factor in our relationship to each other.”

“Ruth and I knew we wanted to have children, but I don’t believe either of us envisioned five boys!” Brewbaker exclaimed. Three of their sons are out on their own and “doing well,” he said, and two are still at home.

Besides their devotion to faith and to family, the couple shares a passion for orphans and the disabled and spend a good amount of their time on related causes.

Brewbaker believes the most important aspect of his role as a father is to try and model the kind of marriage he desires for his sons. “The way your children see you interact with their mother is the single most important lesson you teach them,” he said. “If you can model before your kids a relationship where mom and dad put Christ first, and love and forgive each other, you’ve given them the best life training they are every likely to get.” 

As for the kind of advice he gives his own sons? “Marry a woman who loves Jesus more than she loves you,” he said.

Brewbaker has made it a priority to teach his sons that all the important things never change. “If they build their lives on the solid rock of God’s Word, all will be well. Any other foundation simply won’t be strong enough,” he said.

“My proudest moments as a dad come when I see my grown children loving their wives in a self-sacrificial way and raising their own kids in a Christ-centered home.”

When asked for advice for other dads in honor of Father’s Day, Brewbaker qualifies his answer. “I’m not sure I’m wise enough to give advice to new fathers. I’ve made more mistakes than I can count,” he said.

He relents when pushed and his twofold response mirrors his upbringing and life philosophy: center your home on Christ and love your kids’ mother with all your might.

“If you do that, most of your parenting decisions (even the bad ones) will turn out OK in the end,” he said.

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