The first time I met William R. Brewster, Jr. was in the fall of 1957. I was a new cadet at Georgia Military Academy in College Park, Georgia, and he was the superintendent. He was Commander Brewster then, a retired Navy officer. When I graduated from GMA, Commander Brewster had become Captain Brewster and he had taken over as president of the school.

The last time I saw Captain Brewster was over Memorial Day weekend in 2011. My class of 1961 had our 50th reunion, and one of the events was a trip to the nursing home where Captain Brewster lived.

His memory was slipping, he was in a wheelchair, and he tired easily. But the 20 or so members of my class who came to the nursing home would probably have stood at attention had the man in the wheelchair told us to. He was, you see, still Captain Brewster.

Like many of the guys who graduated in 1961, I have stronger ties to GMA than I do to my college. I still wear my high school ring, and I’m not the only one.

GMA was a highly regimented military school. We drilled, had parades, saluted officers, learned military tactics, could field strip and reassemble an M-1 blindfolded, and sometimes spent hours walking around the bull ring when we earned demerits.

In 1966 Georgia Military Academy became Woodward Academy. And because of the hard work and vision of Bill Brewster, our classmate Ben Johnson and other alumni and supporters, Woodward has become one of the premier private schools in the country.

Captain Brewster cared more for us than we probably realized at the time. But looking back from the other side of the hill, I think we can see what he meant to each of us, and the significant role he played in shaping our lives.

Rest in peace, sir.

Photo: from the history of Woodward Academy.
Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.