Rev. Robert Thomas Brooks, 72, North Ferrisburgh
FERRISBURGH — Reverend Robert Thomas Brooks, 72, of North Ferrisburgh, Vt., and Little Compton, R.I., passed away peacefully on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, surrounded by family and friends.
Born on Dec. 16, 1946. in Washington, D.C., he was the son of the late William F. Brooks and Katherine Ross Brooks and the grandson of the late William F. Brooks Sr. Mayor of Cambridge, Mass., 1909-1911, and Jesse Waterman Brooks, Head of the Cambridge School Committee, as well as the late Jacob Johnson Ross, M.D. and Hannah Elizabeth Holmes Ross of Middlebury, Vt. His death took place at the family’s summer home, purchased by Dr. Ross, in August 1920.
The love of Bob’s life was his wife, Rhea. He first saw her walking in his neighborhood when he was in second grade. Bob commented that she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and one day he would marry her. Bob followed through on his promise and this past December they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Bob was the youngest of three children and was raised in Arlington, Va. He attended St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1964. Bob followed in his parents’ footsteps and attended Harvard University, graduating cum laude in 1968 with an A.B. in English. He played four years of football and as a result of his performance, leadership and devotion, was inducted into the Harvard Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
From 1968 to 1971, Bob served in the U.S. Navy as supply officer, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, on the U.S.S. Desoto County (LST-1171) and was presented the Navy Achievement Medal. He returned to Cambridge in 1971 to attend Harvard Business School, graduating in 1973 with his M.B.A. Bob had a very successful 19-year career as a partner and director with Cooke & Bieler, an investment firm in Philadelphia.
In 1992, Bob traded investments for vestments and embarked on a new career path, and later earned a Masters of Divinity from The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. After being ordained an Episcopal Priest in 1995, he served five years as Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Kent, Ohio. After his time in Kent, he was called to be Rector of Grace Church in Providence, R.I., where he served 10 years.
Bob embodied “Muscular Christianity,” an idea that one’s faith, the teachings of Jesus, and commitment to social justice and action are powerful tools to better our world. Bob’s support of the Center for Reconciliation in Providence, his time serving on the CREDO faculty of the Episcopal Church, and his involvement with several socially conscious non-profits, are testaments to his humanity and passion for activism. One of Bob’s greatest strengths was his ability to intuitively bring together people of wide-ranging ages across a multitude of social circles, many of whom would have otherwise never met.
Bob’s favorite pastime was cycling and in 2013 he participated in his 10th Pan-Mass challenge raising thousands of dollars for cancer research, a disease that struck his mother Katherine, his sister Elizabeth, and his sister-in-law Laurie Klein.
Bob will be remembered as the loyal husband of Rhea; the loving brother of Elizabeth Brooks Dennett of Needham, Mass., and William F. Brooks Jr., of New Haven, Vt.; the devoted father to Peter Brooks his wife Erin and their children Nathaniel and Emile of Milton, Mass., and to Laurie Guyette, her husband Matthew and their children Alexander and Heloise of Charlotte, Vt. Other Vermont relatives include Bob’s niece Anne Campbell of Starksboro, and his cousins Linda and Stuart Patterson, Chuck Ross, and Peter Ross, all of North Ferrisburgh.
The family extends a special thank you to the caring team from Addison County Home Health & Hospice.◊
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