OTR Interviews

Mary Katharine Ham: My husband will continue to give me strength

Fox News contributor and  editor-at-large of Hot Air goes 'On the Record' to reflect on her husband's tragic death last month, his memory and looking forward to the birth of their second child in December


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 26, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Jake Brewer, only 34 years old, tragically died while helping others. Jake was taking part in a charity bike race. He lost control of his bicycle and collided with an oncoming car. You know his wife, Mary Katharine Ham. And she knew she needed a way to honor her husband. He was a Democrat. She was a Republican. But their love of helping American service members is what initially drew them together. In 2011, during their first year of marriage, Jake and Mary Katharine ran the Marine Corps marathon, and this weekend Mary Katharine ran in the Marine Corps marathon 10k to keep her husband Jake's memory alive. "On the Record's" Griff Jenkins spoke to her after the race.


GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This is the finish line, a 10-kilometer tribute to fallen marines, and for Mary Katharine Ham, an opportunity to honor her late husband.

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Congratulations. You are eight months pregnant and you just did a 10k.


JENKINS: On this great October day, nothing was going to stop Mary Katharine, eight months pregnant with their second baby from crossing the finish line.

HAM: I did think this would be therapeutic and something that Jake would appreciate. He was never one for anyone sitting on their butts. And so he would not tolerate it for me.

JENKINS: Last month, her husband Jake Brewer tragically killed during a cancer charity bike ride doing what he loved the most, serving others. He was a Democrat, a member of the Obama White House. She, a conservative pundit, and familiar face here at Fox News. But one thing this bipartisan couple had in common, supporting fallen service members at the Marine Corps marathon.

HAM: We ran together at this race in 2011, which is the year that we got married. And when I say together, I mean he kicked my butt and I ran respectably behind him.

JENKINS: And this year, Jake's passing not nearly enough to keep him away from the race.

HAM: I try to focus on the good moments and I try to remember that we love him here. But that he can check us out and hopefully he has got a really good seat for that.

JENKINS: For "On the Record," I'm Griff Jenkins.


VAN SUSTEREN: And now Mary Katharine Ham joins me. Nice to he see you Mary Katharine.

HAM: Thanks.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I told you before when you sat down how awkward this is because you never know what to say to someone like this.

HAM: That's the way this works.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it really is -- I didn't know your husband but when this happened, it turned all of us upside down. It turned the viewers upside down. I can't even imagine, you know, what it's like for you and little Georgia.

HAM: One of the things that I have learned about this process is that there is no quick cure. But there have been blessings in it even though it is a terrible thing. And one of the blessings is that both people I know personally and my professional family here at Fox and elsewhere and thousands of people that I do not know who are among our viewership and just people who cared about us, have been willing to support us and just armies of people praying for us. And that really has brought me so much comfort and brought all of us so much comfort. I would like to say thank you for that.

VAN SUSTEREN: When I hear the terms, you are a young woman hear late husband. That's not supposed to happen' to a young woman. You are pregnant with your second child. That's not supposed to happen, late not the right word. You know -- and when I hear all the things about Jake. Of all things, he is on a charity trying to help others. I mean, that's not supposed to happen.

HAM: Right. Yeah, he was one hell of a human being. It's hard to explain all that he was because he did so many things. And he was one of these people who might have been obnoxiously good at everything, except that he was such a cool guy and such a nice guy and really was driven to help other people all the time. I think he knew that all of his talents were blessings, and that they were given to him, and that he needed to use them in the service of others. That was something that drove him. It's how he fit in 70 years of life in 34 years, which is one thing I'm really thankful for.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did you find out? Where were you?

HAM: I was in Durham, North Carolina, with my family, thank goodness when this all started happening.

VAN SUSTEREN: You get the phone call and then everything is different.

HAM: Well, yeah. There is sign post in my life now before and after this happened. And the thing is -- and I think Jake would want this for us. It is an impossibly, irreparably sad thing that happened to us. But I'm not impossibly, irreparably sad person. And my children would not be, and our children will not be because he would want to us live bravely, and he would want us to have fun. And I will probably always think that the world is a little bit less fun and beautiful because he is not here, but he would say it's my job to get off my butt and make it fun and beautiful.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know I see that picture, and I mean I look at him and I think wow, I would like to have known him. It's like -- I didn't see him in here with you. And I look at that and he looks like he is full of life.

HAM: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: He looks like he wants to have fun. Look at you in your costumes. What was that all about?

HAM: I'm a little bit obsessed with Halloween. Jake was kind enough to go along with it he is a very talented photographer. When he figured out he could take pictures of us in our get up every year he went along with it. I dressed him up as Captain America because frankly it was pretty believable. He was that guy. And he was incredibly talented athlete, very smart guy, just gifted in every area.

VAN SUSTEREN: I ask every woman this and every man. When you first met him, did you love him? Did you like him?

HAM: I think when I first met him, for both of us there was were some reservations because of the bipartisan nature of that relationship. But I think with the reason we were together is because we believed that people are more than just their politics. They are more than just their ideologies. It's a rare person who is not a hybrid of some kind and you can find things to come together on. And Jake and I agreed on many things. Not least of which was the way we would raise our kids. That's one thing I feel very confident about moving forward is that I know what he would have wanted.

And that I can take care of things. And one thing I said throughout all of this is if you had put this exact scenario to Jake, he would have said without a beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could handle it. Now, that doesn't mean that I have no doubts. But the fact that he would not gives me strength. And I really believe that and he will continue to give me strength from elsewhere as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: How is Georgia, your daughter?

HAM: She is doing well. She is happy to have everyone around her. There is a chance at her age that she will hang on to a little bit of memory of him. So I'm praying for that and helping her reinforce it. He loved to take photos of her, and did it every month. He did a photo shoot with her every month. And they say that toddlers connect memories to photographs. So I'm hoping that that activity that they did together that was so important will stick with her.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's amazing that did you the race in his honor. Good for you.

HAM: Thank you very much.

VAN SUSTEREN: And, I look forward having you come back here, you know, when the time is right. You know, come back full time it and talk with all of us in the makeup room and come on the set and everything else like we all do here.

HAM: Thank you. The race and this is and this whole process are about putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up and that's what I'm doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: You have got a big project, a new baby coming.

HAM: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mary Katharine, thank you for joining us.

HAM: Great.

VAN SUSTEREN: Like I said, Jake was, you know, an inspiration to all of us, even those of us that didn't know him.

HAM: I'm glad.