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Daniel Baugh Brewster; served in US Senate

Daniel Baugh Brewster (left), with President Lyndon Johnson at the White House. Daniel Baugh Brewster (left), with President Lyndon Johnson at the White House. (1964 file/baltimore sun)

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Baugh Brewster, 83, a decorated US Marine Corps veteran and a former Democratic US senator from Maryland whose career was shadowed by alcoholism and a charge of accepting an illegal gratuity, died Sunday of liver cancer at his home in Owings Mills, Md.

In later years, Mr. Brewster was a successful horse and cattle farmer in Glyndon, Md., and was active in public service in the Baltimore area. He also chaired several statewide committees, including the Governor's Commission on Alcoholism under Governor Harry R. Hughes, a Democrat, and the Governor's Commission on AIDS under Governor William Donald Schaefer, a Democrat. He also was a director and past president of the Maryland State Fair.

Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the House majority leader, worked in Mr. Brewster's Senate office from 1962 to 1966, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. Hoyer called Mr. Brewster "a true gentleman" and a strong supporter of the Democratic Party and its principles.

"He served his country in war and in peace," Hoyer said in a statement Monday. "Although brought low by alcoholism, he overcame that illness to lead a successful and productive life."

At 26, as a lawyer and decorated World War II veteran, Mr. Brewster began his journey into politics in the Maryland House of Delegates. He represented Baltimore County from 1950 to 1958 and was vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Brewster was elected to two terms in the US House of Representatives and served from 1959 to 1963. He represented the Second Congressional District and served on the House Armed Services Committee.

He was Maryland's first Democratic Senator in 10 years when he was elected to the 88th Congress in 1962, and at age 39, he was one of the youngest senators. He served for one term, from 1963 to 1969.

He lost his bid for reelection in 1968 to Charles McC. Mathias, an old friend who portrayed Mr. Brewster as a mouthpiece for the Johnson administration on Vietnam and accused him of vacillating on other issues, including the war, to reflect public opinion.

Mr. Brewster, who saw himself in a battle to save his 18-year political career, countered that his shifts on Vietnam and fiscal policy reflected flexibility, not indecision.

In 1969, Brewster was indicted on charges of accepting campaign contributions from Spiegel Inc., a mail-order firm based in Chicago, while serving as a member of the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee. He had taken a position on pending postal legislation that coincided with Spiegel's. He contended that he had done nothing wrong but was found guilty.

The charge was overturned on appeal, and before it could be brought to trial again, he pleaded no contest in 1975 to a felony charge of accepting an illegal gratuity without corrupt intent. He was fined $10,000 and allowed to keep his law license.

Gerry Brewster said his father's alcoholism played a role in his political demise. "He regretted that he wasn't able to control his alcoholism sooner," said Brewster of Towson, Md. "It was a battle he fought for many years. He tried to make up for that in public service."

A native of Baltimore County, Mr. Brewster attended Princeton University until he enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps in 1942. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1943 at 19. He ended up as a captain, serving on Guam in 1944 and Okinawa in 1945. He was wounded seven times in three separate engagements, his son said. He was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Hearts.

When Mr. Brewster returned home, he brought some of his fellow veterans, who were African-American, to his home, and some people in Baltimore society disapproved, his son recounted. "My father was outraged at that," said Gerry Brewster, and he tried to correct the discrimination he saw in society at that time. "His entire career was dedicated to equal rights and equal treatment for all people." He helped to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Mr. Brewster's marriages to Carol Leiper Brewster and Anne Bullitt Brewster ended in divorce.

In addition to his son from his first marriage, he leaves his wife, Judy Lynn of Owings Mills; another son from his first marriage, Daniel B. Jr. of New York; three children form his third marriage, Dana of Nashville, Danielle Brewster Oster of Glyndon, and Jennilie of Brooklyn, N.Y.; two stepchildren from his third marriage, Kurt Aarsand of Owings Mills and Krista A. Bedford of Glyndon; two brothers, Andre W. and Walter W., both of Glyndon; a sister, Frances Cochran Smith of Upperco, Md.; and six grandchildren.