I learned that Louie Brewster, FOHI Class of 1967, passed away this morning (Nov. 25). Fontana will be hard pressed to ever find anyone whose blood so perfectly ran maroon and white and who, through his own Herculean efforts, did so much for Fontana and its athletes.
Louie was a Fontanan through and through. I recall him serving as a student sports writer for the Herald News in 1966 and '67, covering Fohi and the three junior high, Colt, Pony, Little and Girl's softball's sports programs. His rise in responsibility to full-time reporter and then sports editor first at the Herald News and then at the San Bernardino Sun and Ontario Daily Report newspapers provided him with the platform to elevate Fontana sports programs to county, regional, state and eventually nationwide prominence.
His passing is especially poignant for our family because Donna Mockus, wife of one of the biggest FOHI supporters in history, the late Jim Mockus, passed away last week. The Freeman families, both mine and my late brother Bob, a teacher and softball coach at A.B.Miller High School, considered the Mockus family part of our family too! Jim's love for kids and support of high school athletes knew no bounds. If you saw any FOHI or A.B. Miller artwork in the '70s, '80s or '90s, Jim Mockus drew it, always at no cost to the school or the kid wearing his work on his or her letterman's jacket.
So, today, with Louie's passing we lost the last of a forgotten breed; a hometown boy who made others look better, feel better and play better. His coverage of FOHI football in the 1980s helped produce crowds of 10,000 or more in Steeler Stadium.
With the building of four new high schools, divided allegiances, a rising generation of technology-driven citizens and the very unfortunate downsizing of our daily printed paper, the Fontana Herald News, Louie's passing reminds us we are on the cusp of bidding farewell forever to an era many of we oldtimers will sorely miss: undying pride and loyalty to our school and community.
In 1987, the year FOHI was named National Football Champions, and when I was a teacher at FOHI, I recall wearing my maroon and white FOHI FOOTBALL sweatshirt to a store in San Bernardino. I didn't keep count, but dozens of folks, most likely non-Fontanans, would look at my sweatshirt and smile, or offer a positive word, or simply acknowledge excellence. Louie Brewster's newspaper coverage of FOHI was most likely singularly responsible for spreading the word about Fontana football and its athletes!
Thanks, Louie, and rest well! Generations of Fontana athletes and their supporters who preceded you in death will be there welcoming you home, their local celestial newspapers declaring in large caps, "WE WIN! LOUIE COMES HOME!"
Oh, by the way Louie, in Heavenly Father's time, I'll see you soon, as will many of your former classmates.
I close now, honestly, with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart.
I said earlier that "we lost the last of a forgotten breed; a hometown boy who made others look better, feel better and play better."
Forgive me. I was wrong.
We still have Russell Ingold, Fontana Herald News editor, who carries on Louie's tradition of emphasizing coverage of local sports and athletes. Thanks Russell, and keep up the excellent work!
FOHI Class of 1968