David Farmar Brower died at the age of 90, on January 30, 2009. Mr. Brower was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, on September 28, 1918. He was the son of Robert Apolph (1884–1937) and Edith Clarissa Aurandt (1886–1958) Brower. Robert worked for the railroad. David's siblings included Frances A., Joy B., Robert E., and Roberta V. (Lamborn).
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Phyllis Joan Brower; daughters, Linda Brower and Susan Metzler-Carstairs; son, Richard David Brower; grandchildren, Ian Scott Metzler, Jonathan David Brower and Paul Austin Metzler; and a brother, Robert E. Brower.
Mr. Brower grew up in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, in the midst of the great depression. He took a correspondence course in electronics during high school, and after graduation he worked as a radio technician in Chicago. By 1939 he returned to Pennsylvania where he joined the National Guard Cavalry and was soon inducted into the Army. During WWII he participated in the invasion of Okinawa and served in Korea. He was honorably discharged from the Army Signal Corps at the rank of Technical Sergeant on November 28, 1945. While serving overseas he was introduced through a penpal correspondence to Phyllis Joan Hulet, whom he married in 1948. Sustained by the GI Bill, Mr. Brower resumed his education at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1946. He studied and worked in the rapidly developing fields of electrical engineering and nuclear physics. In 1950, he graduated and upon receiving a Master¹s Degrees in Physics, he left Carnegie Tech in 1953 to become a research engineer.
Mr. Brower¹s career was one of continuous innovation in high-energy physics and magnetic field generation. He held research and development positions at Hughes Aircraft, Rheem Semiconductor and most notably, General Atomic. As the Electro-Mechanical Division Head of the Magneform project at General Atomic from 1961-1970, he led the development of magnetic pulse metal forming processes that remain in commercial use today. After a brief stint as a consultant and entrepreneur, in 1972 Mr. Brower joined the staff of the Cornell University Laboratory for Plasma Studies. Then, in 1973, he transitioned to the University of Texas at Austin Fusion Research Center where he served as Assistant Director for engineering until his retirement in 1982. Over the span of his career, Mr. Brower was the author or co-author of approximately 25 patents and numerous technical publications.
David Brower was a devoted and ever-reliable husband, father, colleague and friend. He was also irrepressibly self-reliant and adventurous. From building many pieces of household furniture, to the near-complete renovation of his 40-foot sloop Calypso, he was a consummate hobbyist-craftsman and tinkerer. During the late 1950¹s and early 60¹s, while living in California, he was an avid sailor, diver, and member of the San Diego Yacht Club. With friends and family he raced and cruised extensively along the west coast from San Francisco to southern Mexico. After moving to Austin, he enjoyed boating, biking, and studying French. He was also a regular at the UT gym. It is with special appreciation that his family notes how in recent years he especially treasured the company and conversation shared with his gracious neighbors, Professor Clement Henry and Dr. Elizabeth Bouri.
As requested by Mr. Brower, no public services are planned. His burial will be at sea with family present.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Dave Ross for this obituary.
David Farmar Brower Photo and Document Album