Cotten Funeral Home


Brooks Morris Whitehurst

9 April, 193014 June, 2021

Brooks Morris Whitehurst, P.E., D.Sc. passed from this life on June 14, 2021. He is survived by his wife of 69 years Carolyn; his son Garnett B. Whitehurst, Ph.D. New Bern, NC; daughter Anita Southard, M.Ed. Richmond, VA; son Robert M. Whitehurst, MD (Debra Clapp) Roanoke VA; his granddaughter Rebecca Kaplan, Ph.D. (Marcus) Norfolk VA, and grandson, David Whitehurst Philadelphia, PA; his great grandchildren Adrian Kaplan and Oliver Kaplan; and finally, his god daughters Cristie Edwards Prescott, Ph.D. (Baxter Springs, KS), Abigail Baxter, Ph.D. (Richmond, VA), and Clara Ervin Millsaps, Ph.D. (Moravian Falls, NC). He is predeceased by his Father David Brooks Whitehurst, Mother Bessie Ann Lowry, his sister Anne Page Kirkpatrick, and his favorite friend Hobbs. The family would like to express its gratitude to a special friend Dana Mahoney, for her help and friendship to Brooks and Carolyn.

Dr. Whitehurst was born in Reading Pa. and graduated from Wytheville High School in Wytheville, VA. He entered the College of Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic and State University (VPI) where he received his BS in Chemical Engineering and met his wife, Carolyn. His 70-year journey as an engineer would begin in east Tennessee at American Enka producing rayon fibers, continue at Virginia Carolina Chemicals in Richmond, VA working on phosphorus compounds and phosphate cements, then at Texaco Experiment Inc. in Richmond Va. working on boron fibers. In 1966 he would join the phosphate operations at Texas Gulf Sulfur Company working on production of phosphoric acid and poly phosphoric acids used in fertilizer manufacture. He was an invited speaker to companies in eastern Europe presenting papers related to manufacturing of poly phosphoric acids. In 1981 he would form a business of his own and began working on specialty products for agriculture and cement manufacturing. He continued the specialty chemicals work for almost 40 years during which time he would aid domestic and foreign organizations with production of specialty products. During the latter part of his career, he would work on products for the reduction in nitrogen loss from urea fertilizers. Dr. Whitehurst holds numerous US and foreign patents in phosphates, cements, chelating agents, and as a co-inventor of products for control of volatile nitrogen losses.

Dr. Whitehurst served on a special task force on Education for Governor Jim Hunt. He taught solar energy technology for several community colleges in North Carolina. He has always had special interest in education and aided four graduate students with time, advice, research assistance, encouragement and support that aided in their acquisition of doctoral degrees. He served as an advisor to the students in the Wood Enterprise Institute within the College of Natural Resources at his alma matter; the summer entrepreneurship programs at Roanoke College; and advisor and honorary board member for the Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir. In recognition of his advisory work for students and scientific accomplishments he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by Roanoke College.

He is recognized by many friends and colleagues for sharing his talent and insight as a special friend, generator of ideas for exploration, and encouragement for exploration by research scientist’s, young entrepreneurs, and scientists. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be considered to one of the following: The Whitehurst Honors Program at Barton College, College of Natural Resources Wood Enterprise Institute at Virginia Tech, the general scholarship fund at Roanoke College, or the Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir.

The family will receive friends at Cotten Funeral Home from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Friday June 18.

Arrangements are held by Cotten Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made to the Whitehurst family at


  • Visitation

    Friday, 18 June , 2021


Brooks Morris Whitehurst

have a memory or condolence to add?

Susan Bane

18 June 2021

What I know about the Whitehurst family is this: 1) they must be in the Guiness Book of World Records for the most advanced degrees in one family, especially PhDs, 2) their love of education is evident in how they spend their time and the causes they support, and 3) their patriarch, Brooks, lived a long and full life - surroundeded by love, that included his son and my friend, Garnett.

To you Garnett, I know you will miss your dad terribly. Please rest in knowing how well you loved him. On behalf of my personal family and my Barton family, especially the hundreds of Whitehurst Family Honor students who have benefited and will benefit from your talents, time, and treasure, you are in our hearts and prayers.

Fondly, Susan

Julia Allen

17 June 2021

The sense of wonder, good humor, inquisitive nature, love for learning, and commitment to mentoring others that Brooks shared with the world was treasured by many and will be missed. On behalf of the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, please accept our sincere condolences upon his passing. Dr. Whitehurst's life was one well lived.

Doug Searcy

17 June 2021

On behalf of the Barton College community, please accept our deepest sympathy on the passing of Dr. Whitehurst.

Dr. Whitehurst's commitment to research and learning made life better for others. The Whitehurst family will be in our thoughts and prayers during the days ahead.

Chris Cammarene-Wessel

17 June 2021

I am so sorry for the passing of a lovely, very funny and entrepreneurial man. I convey condolences on behalf of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University.

Kim Blair

15 June 2021

My sincerest condolences to the entire Whitehurst family on the loss of a truly wonderful person who lived life to the fullest and made everyone around him feel better - be it a good joke, story, or news of a discovery and business venture. He loved life, he loved the people who were in his world. He will be sincerely missed. I feel humbly blessed to have known Brooks.

Closs Barker, Jr

15 June 2021

Standing by for information at the death of my close friend.