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Posted on May 20, 2020
Empty Saddles

Debrann (Brea) McGrew 1953 - 2020

 Debrann (Brea) McGrew DVM, MS was born August 27, 1953 in Elkhorn, Wisconsin to Harry and Myrtle Koenen (both deceased). Brea lived in Dixon, CA with her husband Robert McGrew. A cowgirl by trade, Brea was rounding up calves for the spring branding out in the foothills of Winters CA with her family on May 3, 2020. A beautiful spring day met tragedy when Brea fell with her horse. After a week of subsequent medical complications Brea passed away in Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center on May 9, 2020 with her family by her side.

Brea was a strong, adventurous woman who never let fear or pain hinder her from achieving a goal. After receiving a Bachelor of Science at University of California, Davis, Brea monitored walruses in the Alaskan Wilderness for Fish and Game. Upon her acceptance to the UC Davis doctorate program in Veterinary Medicine, Brea left Alaska and returned to California. During her doctorate program, Brea was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Brea survived cancer, completed a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in1982, and earned an additional Masters in Comparative Pathology in 1983. Brea opened her practice, The Ranch Doctor, specializing in equine medicine.

After the academic gauntlet, Brea married Robert and together they started a commercial livestock operation raising herds of sheep, cows and goats. Her experience and admiration of the livestock industry grew. She participated in sheep dog trials globally and was President of the Solano County Wool Growers Association. Brea founded Ecosystem Concepts Incorporated (ECI) in 1994 and became nationally known for conceptualizing the idea of goat grazing at the urban-wildland interface for fire prevention, revolutionizing sustainable practices for vegetation management in California.

Though accomplished, Brea was known in her community as a devout follower of Christ, a tough-as-nails cowgirl, and a world traveler. She was a competitive team-roper with ACTRA, WSTR, and USTRC, winning awards at the National level. She traveled the country roping with her husband going as far as Hawaii and even to the big stage in Las Vegas, NV. She spent her winter months in Arizona at their desert home, so she could rope year-round. Brea was impassioned to be of service to Christ and community. She volunteered each Fall for 5 consecutive years at Harvest Home, imparting her skills and knowledge of animal stewardship for the rehabilitation of battered and abused women. Despite the busy schedule of roping and volunteering, Brea traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East. She followed Paul’s biblical pilgrimage from Athens to Rome and traveled far north to the Arctic Ice Cap.

Brea is survived by her husband Robert McGrew, daughter Mekena Metcalf (Scott), brothers Harry (Maggie) and Bob (Bobbie) Koenen, and her sister Kiana De Stefano (Steven). She was a member and regular attendee of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Vacaville, CA. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Harvest Home via the web interface at Harvesthome.org.

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