Brickler leaves legacy as a Black physician

Dr. Alexander Brickler had a career that spanned six decades.
Photo special to the Outlook

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer

He was Tallahassee’s best known obstetrician. The distinction wasn’t just because of the 30,000 babies that he delivered but also the compassion that he had for every patient.

Dr. Alexander Brickler died peacefully in his sleep on Oct. 30 at age 94. He was eulogized at a memorial service at FAMU College of Pharmacy on Saturday.

Many of those in attendance count themselves among the “Brickler babies.” Even as the memorial was taking place social media was being flooded with condolences to the family.

Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox was among those who used some form of social platform to share their experiences with Brickler, who retired four years ago.

Brickler delivered two of Williams-Cox’s sons.

“Well Mrs. Cox, your husband won again,” Williams-Cox recalled Brickler saying to her in 1989. “You have another son on the way.”  

She described the physician, who was a marathon runner, as “a gentle, soft spoken community giant.”

Brickler began to practice in Tallahassee at a time when he was the only known Black physician in the area. Duty often called him to several of the surrounding rural areas when he wasn’t delivering babies at the former Florida A&M University’s hospital.

Brickler, an Indianapolis native who grew up in New Jersey, came to Tallahassee in the 1960’s to practice obstetrics at the urging of his father-in-law, Dr. R.L. Anderson. 

He was well prepared for the long road ahead, receiving his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. He first studied and graduated from Howard University.

His son Dr. A.J. Brickler III is also an obstetrician, and his daughter Dr. Celeste Brickler-Hart is an Endocrinologist. The older Brickler and his son have delivered several babies together.

A.D Brickler and his two physician children have been doctors to Lorie Ann Asifor-Tuoyo, a nurse who shared her story on Facebook.

“I am so thankful and grateful for Dr. Alex Brickler being a part of my life! Not only was he my physician during 2 of my pregnancies, he was one of my professional mentors as a labor and delivery nurse and later during my clinical training as a nurse practitioner /nurse midwife,” Asifor-Tuoyo wrote in part. ”He freely shared his medical knowledge with a calm, reassuring presence that made me believe in my ability to handle any birthing situation.

“Gone but you will never be forgotten because your legacy lives on throughout the world through those of us who were blessed to learn from you!”

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, which named the Alexander D. Brickler Women’s Pavilion in his honor, was among the first to pay tribute to Brickler’s legacy.

“Dr. Brickler was a pillar of leadership within our medical community and cleared the path for future Black physicians. During his career, which spans more than 60 years,” read a statement on TMH’s website. “Dr. Brickler delivered more than 30,000 babies. He also helped educate each of the more than 300 residents that have graduated from the Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program since its establishment in 1971 until his retirement in 2019.”

A.D. Brickler’s roots run deep in Black history. His son, A.J., often tells the story of their ties to Harriet Tubman. A.D’s grandmother is Tubman’s niece, the younger Brickler said during an appearance at the 2022 Tallahassee History Fair.

Chad Lawson Cooper, a New York filmaker and Producer, accounted for the Bricklers’ tie to Tubman in 

Justice on Trial, a docudrama movie about civil rights activist suing the U.S. government.

He recalled inviting the Bricklers to the Tubman Museum for a session.

“I remember the synergy while filming that day was so special we cried during the filming,” Lawson Cooper wrote in his message to the family. “Much Love to Alexander Brickler and the entire Brickler family!”

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