Edgar Brewer Hale

Date(s) of birth and/or death approximate

Date of Birth

February 1st, 1917

Date of Death

January 1st, 2011

Memorial Meeting

Pima Monthly Meeting


“This is the end of the story” is how he described it before he died in December in Tucson, Arizona. Edgar Brewer Hale (94) was born in February 1917 on a ranch in Tulia, Swisher County, Texas, that had been a stop for the Pony Express and stage coaches. He rode horseback to elementary school and graduated from Tulia High School in 1934.

Brewer received his Bachelor degree in Agriculture from Texas A&M in 1937, his Masters degree from Michigan State University in Dairy Cattle Nutrition with a Biochemistry minor in 1939. He served in the US Army from 1942-1945. In 1950 he received his PhD in Zoology from the University of Chicago. At Penn State University, between 1950 and 1978, he was Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, Assistant to Vice President for Research, and Professor of Animal Behavior, before retiring as Professor Emeritus.

65 years ago, on September 14th 1946, Brewer and Vinetta Oelrich were married. They met in a class on Arthropods at the University of Chicago. Their children are Vinetta Jean Suzettis (Steve Allison), Betty Gwen Gonzalez (John), William Brewer Hale (Valerie Barnes), and Edgar Oelrich Hale (Shireene). Brewer is also survived by 3 grandchildren (Tristan, Kyle and Hannah) and 3 great-grandchildren (Andrew, Wyatt and Coleman).

Brewer was a Southern Baptist and Vinetta was a Presbyterian, so they chose to attend State College Friends Meeting in Pennsylvania where they became members and raised their children in Quaker meeting. They transferred membership to Pima Monthly Meeting in 1978. Brewer quietly supported Vinetta as she became deeply involved in the life of the Meeting.

He was a conscientious objector, and from 1942 to 1945 served in Great Britain in the medical corps and worked in the laboratory because his background was in chemistry. Grandson Kyle said at the memorial service, held at Broadway Proper in Tucson on December 13, 2011, that it was only when a teacher referred to some of Brewer’s research that he knew his grandfather was a scientist. He was just “granddad” in the family.

In 1964, Brewer was founder of the American Animal Behavior Society and served as its first president. He was a Fellow in the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); the Association for Psychological Science; and the Ecological Society of America, chemical section of Animal Behavior and Social Biology. He was also a member of the American Institute of Biological Sciences and Sigma Xi.

Brewer had multiple publications and chapters in books. He also made professional presentations in England, France, and Germany as well as Washington for International Ethology Conferences.

Brewer had a wicked sense of humor. He was in hospice for six days. On the third day, he said “… this place is a fraud. I’ve been here three days and I’m not dead yet.”