Robert Brouwer ’61

Robert (Bob) Dale Brouwer, MD, age 81, died Thursday, Feb 17, 2022, in Kalamazoo, Michigan after a wonderful day of reminiscing, joking, and laughing with his daughters and his wife of 55 years, Sharon Brouwer at his hospital bedside. Bob was born in Zeeland, Michigan on October 14, 1940, to his late parents Jeanette (Everts) Brouwer and John L. “Jack” Brouwer and grew up on the family farm as the youngest of seven siblings in his tight-knit community of Forest Grove. He attended a one-room country school through 8th grade and graduated from Hudsonville High School in 1957 at age 16. He graduated from Hope College with a Bachelor of Science in 1961. He developed a lifelong love of the Colorado mountains after attending Colorado State University before returning to begin medical school at the University of Michigan. It was in Ann Arbor that he met and fell in love with Sharon Larner, who he married the week before medical school graduation in 1966. Bob and Sharon began their married life in Traverse City, Michigan and after completing his internship year at Munson Medical Center, they moved to Oceanside, California where he served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, assigned to the 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton from 1967 to 1969. Upon the completion of his military service, they returned to Michigan with their infant daughter Jill and soon welcomed daughter, Jennifer. He completed Internal Medicine Residency at Wayne County General Hospital, Gastroenterology Fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital, and then was recruited by Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, where the family settled in 1973. Their youngest daughter Emily completed the family in 1976. He built a busy gastroenterology and internal medicine practice in Kalamazoo and surrounding clinics in Southwest Michigan. Bob served as Chief of Internal Medicine at Bronson Hospital, Associate Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine from 1972 to 2011, and Assistant Clinical Professor, Physician Assistant Program, Western Michigan University 1979-2015. He retired from private practice in 2012. Throughout the last 5 years of his medical career Bob provided care where needed at a maximum-security prison in West Virginia, the VA in South Bend, Indiana, with the Indian Health Service in Oklahoma and Michigan, and at Ft. Hood and Scott Air Force Base. He and Sharon enjoyed 47 years in their Kalamazoo home before moving full-time to their cottage in South Haven in 2020, where he loved to sit and read while watching the changing seasons on Lake Michigan. Bob developed many varied interests and talents over his lifetime, and through them, many lifelong friends. His brothers taught him to practice pitching to a target painted on the barn wall in Forest Grove as a boy, and he pitched fast-pitch softball on church leagues in high school, college, medical school, and on the Marine Corps base team at Camp Pendleton. In Kalamazoo he played on several city league teams including the WC Fielders in Kalamazoo until his early 40s. He enjoyed his 40+ year weekly tennis group, his weekly men’s Bible Study at the YMCA, skiing, sailing, camping, golfing, biking, and traveling. He decided in medical school to begin a lifetime habit of running two miles daily, no more, no less, which he kept up faithfully for the next 45 years, no matter the weather, where he was in the world, or if he was recovering from surgery. He was an avid reader, a lifelong learner, and loved classical and sacred music, especially the pieces his daughters sang or played on their instruments while growing up. Everyone that knew Bob recognized his deep sense of personal commitment to serving: his family, his patients, his colleagues, his students, his church, and his community, wherever he found himself in life. He and Sharon became lifelong Presbyterians when they moved to California and served as youth group leaders in their church there and later in Kalamazoo. He served as Elder and Clerk of Session at Westminster Presbyterian Church, a volunteer physician for many years at Kalamazoo’s First Presbyterian Church Free Health Clinic, church work camps around the country, medical mission volunteer trips to Honduras and rural Mexico, and as volunteer faculty — teaching the next generation of doctors and physician assistants. He loved his many travel adventures with his youngest daughter Emily and his role as grandfather to his five beloved grandchildren. He is survived by his devoted wife Sharon (Larner) Brouwer, his daughters Jill (Brouwer) Powell, Jennifer (Brouwer) Dudeck, and Emily Brouwer; sons-in-law Matthew Powell and Andrew Dudeck, grandchildren Austin Powell, Grant Powell, James Dudeck, Caroline Powell and Henry Dudeck; sisters-in-law, Eileen Brouwer, Mary Anne Larner, and Cheryl Larner; brothers-in-law, Ray Larner and Don Mulder, many nieces and nephews, and a cadre of dear friends and colleagues who he was so grateful were a part of his life. He was preceded in death by his brothers Earl Brouwer, John Brouwer, and Gordon Brouwer, his sisters Shirley DeWeerd, Nella Kroeze and Mildred Smits Mulder, sisters-in-law Lorraine Brouwer and Joan Brouwer, and brothers-in-law Gerald DeWeerd, Harold Smith, Jack Kroeze and David Larner. Visitation Wednesday, February 23 from 5-8 PM at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S. 9th St, Kalamazoo MI 49009 and at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen Ave, Portage, MI 49002 on Thursday, February 24 from 10AM until the funeral service begins at 11AM. Private interment at Forest Grove Cemetery. Attendance at the church service will require a mask to be worn and the family also requests masks at the visitation. The service will also be livestreamed with the following link: In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Open Doors (, Ministry with Community ( and Westminster Presbyterian Church. To view Robert’s personalized web page, please visit
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