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Frits Brevet ’50

January 10, 2020, in Oakland, California.

Having graduated from high school at the age of 16, Frits followed in the footsteps of his sister, Beepske Brevet Selhorst ’41, and started at Reed. His tiny room under the eaves in Winch was a great place for studying, but there was time for shenanigans, and interesting comrades were at hand.

Among the lifelong friends Frits made at Reed, one best remembered was Sandy McDonald ’46, who was enchanted with the idea of living in the 18th century and led a troop of men in reliving the American Revolution. Sandy fashioned himself a faithful servant of King George III. His followers made wigs from brown paper bags that they painted white and rolled up on the front and sides. Sandy put tacks on the hammers of the piano in Winch so it would sound like a harpsichord and led his followers in songs of the British Grenadiers. The colonists would answer singing: “Oh democrat or republican or any mortal thing, be sure that ye give glory to FDR our gracious king. For if you prove rebellious, your thunder mightier than your ear, with an NRA and an AAA and a keg of New Deal beer.”

Two years later, Frits left Reed to go into the U.S. Army. But after contracting rheumatic fever he returned to Reed. When he failed his junior quals, he transferred to UC Berkeley, where he got his bachelor’s degree in political science. Lamenting that perhaps he had enjoyed Reed too much, he acknowledged he had received a broader education at Reed than he might have gotten elsewhere.

“It was an eye-opener to society,” he said. “[It] made me politically active, gave me different (more tolerant) views of the world, and a broad education so that I had some knowledge of many things. This helped me in regard to my business—to be a generalist.”

After college, Frits went to work selling insurance at Penn Mutual Life, and then in 1975 went into business for himself selling fire, casualty, and life insurance. He retired in 1993 and continued to garden and do volunteer work, including raising money for the Oakland YMCA and the East Bay Agency for Children, distributing food for the homeless every Sunday, and helping out at the Oakland Museum. His wife, Rita, predeceased him. He is survived by his daughters, Erica Brevet-Stott and Heidi Brevet

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2020

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