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Former town clerk in Waterford, Ledyard remembered as 'astute,' knowledgeable

By Julianne Hanckel

Publication: The Day

Published December 19. 2012 4:00AM

With papers stuffed in manila folders and overflowing in piles on his desk, Ledyard Town Clerk Calvin Brouwer was the town's go-to person for information on how to do just about anything.

"Cal was the kind of guy that could put his hand on everything," Mayoral Assistant Mark Bancroft recalled of his friend on Tuesday.

"He knew exactly where everything was, and it didn't necessarily have to be in a filing cabinet. His desk was his filing cabinet."

Brouwer, a former town clerk in Ledyard and Waterford, passed away at his home on Sunday at the age of 65.

Bancroft said his friendship with Brouwer spanned 30 years and was sparked with a shared interest in boating.

"We both belonged to the Cruising Club of New England, and we talked boats a lot," Bancroft said. "I worked on Cal's boat, and he gave me ideas for my boat, and we went on a couple cruises together."

Brouwer, a Quaker Hill resident, served two terms each as the town clerk for Waterford and Ledyard.

After graduating from Waterford High School in 1966, he went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force before returning to Connecticut to work for Pfizer.

Last January, Brouwer retired from the town clerk's position in Ledyard shortly after he performed his last swearing-in ceremony for John Rodolico, the town's newly elected mayor.

"I've been in this business for more than 28 years," Brouwer said at Rodolico's December 2011 swearing-in ceremony. "I started in Waterford in 1984 as town clerk, and since then I've sworn in a lot of mayors and first selectmen."

He served as Waterford's town clerk until 1992 and also served on three charter revision commissions and moderated the town's Representative Town Meeting from 1980 to 1983.

After his departure from Waterford, he announced he would seek the Republican nomination for the 38th Assembly District. Brouwer said then that he intended to fight for tax reform through an overhaul of the tax system.

"If we don't straighten up the tax structure, we'll never see economic revitalization in this state," he told The Day in October of 1992. "We can't have income taxes, sales taxes and nuisance taxes, licenses, fees. We're being taxed to death."

Brouwer lost that election and stayed on as the Waterford town clerk, then lost that position in the next election to Waterford Town Clerk Robert Nye.

Former Ledyard Mayor Susan B. Mendenhall said Tuesday that she appointed Brouwer to the position of town clerk when she was elected because he had a "pretty good reputation of being a good town clerk."

"He researched things well, he was quite astute with state statutes and had a lot of government background that we were able to pull from," she said.

"He gave me advice, and the best thing was that he gave it to me whether I asked for it or not.

"When you asked his opinion, he always gave it, and it didn't necessarily have to be what you wanted to hear, but you need people like that to keep you on a steady course."

During Brouwer's second term in Ledyard beginning in 2004, Bancroft said that his friend didn't "rile easily."

"He was easy to work with, was easygoing, had good priorities and was very people-oriented," he said.

The funeral service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at Byles Memorial Home, 99 Huntington St., New London. Burial will be private, and there are no visiting hours.

j.hanckel@theday.com

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