EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the verbatim eulogy delivered by JJ Cole, one of Sgt. Chris Brewster’s lifelong friends, at the Dec. 12 memorial service at Grace Church.
Hello, my name is J.J. Cole.
I’ve known Chris my entire life, from pre-school up until now. I’m honored to speak on behalf of friends and family as we celebrate what a tremendous guy Chris was to so many people here today.
I remember vividly in 1st grade, that Chris was already taller than his teacher by the end of the year. He was a BIG kid. And he had a big ole head, too. Tons of hair. So I was definitely intimidated by him initially, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was just a big ole teddy bear. He was very sweet, yet a bit wild at times. He loved to wrestle, I remember him at preteen camp wrestling pretty much anyone who was willing to go. He was a self-declared member of the DX generation and declared his allegiance to them often.
He only had one move though, and that was just laying on you until you tapped because he was just so much bigger than everyone. He was strong. He was a loud, playful, fun-loving, tender hearted kid. I think part of the reason he loved to rough house so much is because at home, he had 2 sisters and a mom who absolutely doted on him and were on his case all the time. He took joy in poking at his sisters and his mom and they would always say “Christopher, don’t do that.” Of course he poked in love, because he loved his parents and his sisters deeply. He was a mama’s boy through and through.
When we were a little older, he was one of the first people in our group of friends at church to start playing guitar. He was really the reason I first started playing as well- He could play any Incubus song on the guitar and I thought that was so cool. He also played the French horn at school. So many times we were on stage together in our JR high band at church and he’d be on the other side of me, always wearing his green beanie and playing his guitar way down low. He was a good musician and he was the one who always listened to the coolest bands.
In high school, we used to cruise all around Sagemont in his old Saturn just jamming to all the indie bands. He’d be like “ya, this bands the Appleseed cast, my sisters showed them to me.” We spent basically every Wednesday night and Sunday morning from junior high to high school leading worship together for our youth group at Sagemont and that’s where he and I really bonded as lifelong friends.
As an avid fan of the movies PeeWee’s Big Adventure and Tim Burton’s Big Fish, you could say that Chris had some quirky taste and was a bit quirky himself. Sure he was downright weird sometimes, but he was wonderfully weird. His silly, playful personality, was balanced with a deep sense of curiosity about our world.
He loved life and was a life-long learner— Sometimes that led to some strange hobbies. That’s ok. He knew a lot about a lot and he could talk to you about it for a long time. I appreciated and loved that so much about him. Most recently, as many of you know, he was a very active gardener. His backyard is full of fruit trees and plants and he prided himself in his homemade compost and his worm farm, yes, I said worm farm.
When Chris decided to apply for the police academy, I have to be honest, I didn’t initially see it as a fit. He was a math major when he started college, ok. I knew he liked to boss people around and was very opinionated but I just couldn’t see him arresting people. But when he was in the academy, I was awed at what a sharp guy he was. He had a tremendous work ethic and he graduated as the class leader in class 209.
When he finally donned his police officer’s uniform and began his watch, I knew that I had been sorely mistaken before. Because when you looked at him in uniform, not only did he look the part of an officer, but you could tell that he took a lot of pride in being an officer. He had a deep reverence for what his badge meant and he took being an officer very seriously and he was damn good at it. I can’t tell you how proud I am of him for his faithful and diligent service in helping keep our community safe.
While we were roommates in our early 20’s after he had joined HPD, I watched him transform into a disciplined and mature man. He began a strict paleo diet, meaning our kitchen was always a mess, and he started working out at a CrossFit gym nearby. The once BIG Chris became this chiseled, muscular dude with an awesome sleeve tat. He loved CrossFit and he used to make me take videos of him in our kitchen so that he could critIque his squat form.
He loved to coach me on my squat form as well and be like “whoah whoah, you’re going way past your knees.” And Bethany, I know that his main motivation in becoming a healthier version of himself is because he really wanted to score a date with you. He adored you and what he saw and found in you was this perfect match to all of his quirkiness, playfulness, creativity and curiosity about life. He loved you very much and was so proud to be your husband. I’m thankful to you for bringing out the best in him in these last several years. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his dog Brienne as well and how he treated her like a queen.
The last thing that I’ll say about Chris is that he was a faithful follower of Jesus and he would want you to know that his life was not built on his many accomplishments, but rather on the firm foundation of Jesus alone.
We will sorely miss Chris, his big personality, loud laugh, his humor, his unwavering loyalty, and love that he showed to all of us. I know that one day we will see him again but it’s hard to face the reality that after so many miles of doing life together, he won’t be with us anymore on this side of heaven.
To the Houston Police Department as well as the Houston Police Officer’s Union, I want you to know how grateful his family and friends are for you and the great comfort and blessing you have been in this time. We are praying for you all as you bravely risk your lives day after day to protect us in a world that can be cold and cruel.
Chris was one of the best of us and his life and sacrifice will not be forgotten. There’s a big hole in all of the hearts that mourn because of what a wonderful human being he was. Chris, you’re a hero to us all. I love you and I miss you, my brother and my friend.