On a recent Saturday, Blount Springs Art & History Foundation opened the doors of a small chapel to surrounding residents for an evening of short stories and poetry reading.
After guests were seated, a distinguished gentleman in a dark suit, introduced as Bill Brower, approached the small stage, where he captured the audience with an hour-long presentation of poems such as Robert Frost’s Two Tramps in Mud Time, Edward Thomas’s The Owl, and Gerard Manley Hopkins’s God’s Grandeur.
He represented his sense of humor and genuine compassion during his short story presentation of Madison Bell’s The Naked Lady and Robert Frost’s The Witch of Coos.
Brower and his wife Noralie are new residents to the Village, but not new to the area. Brower was born in Birmingham in 1926 and spent many summers in his parents’ vacation home overlooking the Warrior River. In 1934, his family moved to New York where his father served as assistant U.S. attorney general, during President Roosevelt’s administration.
Brower’s talent was discovered early when he became an apprentice actor at the Ivoryton Playhouse in Connecticut. After graduating from the University of Virginia and serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he continued his career as an actor until in 1954 he began teaching speech and drama at Princeton Theological Seminary.
He was passionate about teaching and adored his students. In 2008, he retired as professor of speech communications. Besides acting and teaching, Brower’s hobby has been continuing presentations of short story and poetry readings throughout the country.