Todd Brewer (photo courtesy of Sarah Adelmann Spanos)

Todd Brewer (photo courtesy of Sarah Adelmann Spanos)

Seward mourning ‘Hot Rod’ Todd Brewer

The beloved school activities bus driver died on Dec. 3 from COVID-19 complications.

The Seward community is mourning the death of “Hot Rod” Todd Brewer, who demonstrated his love for his community during his time as Seward schools’ activities bus driver and as their unofficial photographer.

Brewer, 52, died earlier this month from complications due to COVID-19.

Many remember Brewer for his “dad jokes” and for his announcement of “Welcome to Seward High, where all the kids are above average,” whenever pulling into the school’s driveway.

“Our bus trips are going to feel a bit empty for a while. There will be gyms with a little less Seahawk pride in them. There will be those of us who have traveled thousands of miles with Todd who at some point took for granted the fact that we never had to worry about our safety on the roads no matter the conditions,” wrote Seward schools’ Activities Director Al Plan in a Facebook post. “There are people who are in a community that you tend to forget the positive impact that they have on it and in it until they are gone.

“Todd always watched out for the kids when he was transporting teams to events. He would always stick around and take pictures for the school to post on their team pages, or yearbook etc… such a loss,” wrote Wendy K Martin Rogers on Facebook. “I always trusted my kids were safe when he was driving them all over the state.

As of Dec. 10, a GoFundMe organized by Jodi Kurtz had raised $4,735 to help with Brewer’s medical and other expenses.

“Todd, I doubt you remember me but 3 years ago you were one of the first people I met when I moved here,” wrote Victoria L Coleman, who donated to the fund. “You gave me a tour of the city and your kindness and sense of humor stuck with me.”

“You are so loved, Todd!” wrote Laura Beck, who also donated. “Your dedication to the community of Seward, especially to our students, who you have kept safe on the millions of Alaskan miles you have driven over a decade.”

When he wasn’t shuttling Seward students to and from activities, Brewer was pursuing his love of photography, which Seward High School Principal Trevan Walker said Brewer would share free of charge with students and their families.

“One of the habits he got into, particularly as kids were graduating, is that he would go through the whole archive and history of the photos he’d taken and gift the parents jump drives with hundreds of photos that he’s captured of those kids over the course of their middle school and high school careers,” Walker said. “Of course, those jump drives were absolutely invaluable in terms of memories that those photographs contained.”

Walker also remembered Brewer printing out some of his photos as glossy 8x10s and leaving them on the trophy case for students to view and keep.

“Between the three schools — high school, middle school activities and elementary field trips — he touched the life of every Seward student from kindergarten through 12th grade for the last 10 years,” Walker said. “He loved Seward kids and he loved driving for them.”

“Thank you for being so amazing Todd, I’ll cherish my volleyball and basketball pictures forever,” wrote Riley von Borstel on Facebook.

Walker, who called Brewer as his “go-to guy,” remembered fondly a Carhartt jacket embroidered with a school bus and flames that was gifted to Brewer by students, which Walker said Brewer wore “every single day.”

“He was more proud of that coat than I think anything else,” Walker said.

On Nov. 30, Seward High School posited a picture of a card that members of the community could sign for Todd while he was in Anchorage.

“They are going to need a much bigger card!” wrote Jamie Fredrickson.

Brewer died on Dec. 3, 2020 from complications due to COVID-19. According to a Dec. 9 press release from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Brewer never regained consciousness after being intubated.

“He was the Seahawks’ biggest fan,” the release says. “His gentle nature, expertise behind the wheel and camera lens, and the unending love for the students he served will be greatly missed.”

A celebration of life for Brewer will be held at the Resurrection Bay Baptist Church in Seward on Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Services will be held in person and will also be livestreamed on Resurrection Bay Baptist Church’s Facebook page.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

More in News

Traffic moves toward Sterling along the Sterling Highway shortly after the roadway reopened. A fatal crash closed the highway for several hours Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Sterling Highway crash kills Soldotna boy

The accident closed a section of the Sterling Highway for several hours Wednesday.

A legislative aide enters the Alaska State Capitol as a worker clears snow from in front of the building on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. The Alaska House speaker announced on Wednesday, Feb. 24, that a House member had tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
House disrupted after positive COVID-19 test

Alaska House Republicans identified the lawmaker as Rep. Mike Cronk of Tok, a member of their caucus.

Dr. Anne Zink addresses members of the media during a remote press conference on Thursday, Feb. 25 in Alaska. (Screenshot)
Nearly 150,000 Alaskans are vaccinated; Dunleavy ‘doing well’

103,120 pairs of vaccine, or about 206,240 doses, were allocated to Alaska for the month of March.

The entrance to the Kenai Municipal Cemetery is seen on Thursday, Feb. 25 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai, Soldotna making headway on cemetery expansion

Both cities hope to complete expansion efforts this year

A sign describing bluff erosion is seen on Kenai North Beach in Kenai, Alaska, on Aug. 6, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai reiterates bluff importance in letter to state

The project would stabilize about 5,000 feet of bluff on the Kenai River’s north shore

A statue of Brother Asaiah rests under a protective wooden structure on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 outside KBBI Public Radio in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Statue of famed Homer local finds new home at public radio station

Brother Asaiah Bates statue had to move after previous location changed ownership

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Grocery incentive program goes live Monday in Kenai

The program aims to help people double the money they are able to spend on groceries and household goods

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at an Anchorage news conference on Dec. 11, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)
Governor tests positive for virus

Dunleavy had been in quarantine since learning Sunday.

This undated map shows three wildlife enhancement projects on the southern Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, planned or done by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (Map courtesy of Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
3 projects on southern Kenai Peninsula aim to benefit moose habitat

Cut willow bushes will regenerate into higher protein browse for moose

Most Read