Merle S. Brower Sr., 87, passed away February 10, 2018. A time of visitation is set from 5 to 7pm Thursday February 15, 2018, at Callaway-Jones Funeral Center, 3001 S College Ave in Bryan, Texas. Life Tribute services are set for 11am Friday, February 16, at Callaway-Jones Funeral Center with interment to follow at the Bryan City Cemetery.
Merle was born in Stonewall, Oklahoma, the youngest of 10 children. His mother and father, Joe T. and Davey Brower, farmed all their lives. Nicknamed “Squirrel” by his dad because he was so fast, he made many friends, some of which he continued contact with through school reunion visits as late as last year. And although he lived most of his life in his beloved Texas, he was always proud of his Oklahoma roots and still subscribed to the local paper, The Stratford Star.
Merle went to work with JC Penney’s in 1950 in Waco, Texas while attending Baylor University. He rose through the managerial ranks, transferring to stores in Fort Worth, Wichita Falls, San Antonio, Harlingen and Austin. He was the manager of the downtown Austin store from 1963 to 1970.
In 1972, Merle bought the men’s clothing department from the University of Texas Coop, named the Toggery. Over the years Merle had 7 Toggery locations throughout Austin, providing fine clothing for men and boys.
Merle was a veteran of the Korean War, serving in the US Air Force, and was very proud of his service.
Merle had many friends throughout Austin and other parts of the country. These friendships evolved through his many interests…hunting, the Hill Country, genealogy, wildflowers, dominos, and of course his love of Texas History. There was probably no other person as well versed in this history as Merle (and that includes university professors and authors). Merle was a Christian, attending various Baptist churches over the years. He also played the harmonica, enjoyed country music, and appreciated landscape art (his favorite artist was Porfirio Salinas).
He was a past member of the Austin Downtown Founders Lions Club (the oldest Lions Club in the World), Chamber of Commerce, numerous merchant and retail associations, various civic organizations, and a Vice Commodore in the Austin Aqua Festival.
He is survived by Merle Seth Brower, Jr.; Robin M. Brower, wife Ann, Bari Lynn Scherrer; husband Bob; Stanley Acord Brower, wife Marsha; and Jeffery David Brower, wife Cindy. His 13 grandchildren are Heather Mearns, Beth Hoffman, Katherine Morrow, Meryl Brower, Kyle Brower, Caroline Scherrer, Rebecca Scherrer, Tyson Brower, Braxton Brower, Aspen Stewart, Kyndal Brower, Winston Brower, Cinnamon Brower. His seven great-grandchildren include Jaycee Mearns, Cadence Hoffman, Kinlee Mearns, Carson Davis, Paisley Morrow, Knox Morrow, and Kylie Brower.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. Merle’s family thanks you for your support, friendship, and love over the years.