Marshall F. Brooks
April 3, 1923 – May 12, 2020
Marshall Frederick Brooks was born April 3, 1923 and died May 12, 2020. He exhibited all the traits that authors have attributed to great men of his generation: strong work ethic, sense of personal responsibility, faithful commitment to family and friends, financial prudence, humility, and a high level of integrity. Whether he was known as son, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, professional colleague, or friend, he was admired and respected by all.
Born in St. Louis County, Missouri, he was the oldest son of Fred and Hazel Brooks. He had three younger brothers: the late Robert Brooks, the late Stanley Brooks, and Donald Brooks. He spent his youth growing up during the Depression, where he saw the sacrifices of his father and mother working to support the young family. He and his parents lived with his maternal grandparents (Houghton) on Gore Avenue in Webster Groves until he was 12 years old so that the family could thrive. During the 1930s, Marshall spent his summers in Brunot, Missouri, the rural community where his father was raised. There his father ran a summer camp for boys at the homestead. There were many stories of barefoot boys, lots of flies, sleeping on the porch, playing in the creek, and exploring the Stoney Battery of Civil War days. Marshall had a special place in his heart for his Aunt Ruth Brooks and Aunt Lou Brooks, who lived at Brunot, based on letters he wrote while in the Army. Marshall followed in his parents’ footsteps and became an accomplished educator for more than 35 years, serving as a teacher and an administrator and enjoying a summer as an adjunct professor at Drury University. He began his career in St. Genevieve, Missouri. Shortly after that he served as principal in Galesburg, Illinois, and Cairo, Illinois. He moved his family back to the St. Louis area for a position in University City, and then spent the majority of his career in Webster Groves, Missouri.
Marshall married Bonnie June Boone on October 18, 1947. They had four children: Marsha, Wayne, David, and John. They were able to celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary before Bonnie passed away November 1, 2018. He is survived by his children, Marsha Jones and her husband, Hartzell; Marilynn Brooks, daughter-in-law; David Brooks, Lori Brooks; John Brooks and his wife, Tammy; 13 grandchildren; 14 great grandchildren; and 2 great-great grandchildren.
He loved his family greatly and was generous when it came to the fun things in life – camping, boating, water skiing, Little Bit (the horse), and a motorcycle or two. He enjoyed sharing time with the family at activities in St. Louis, such as the Cardinal baseball games, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Botanical Garden, the Planetarium, and the St. Louis Art Museum. He enjoyed trips to visit family and friends in New York, California, Arkansas, Texas, and West Virginia to name just a few. He attended Razorback football bowl games and relished international travel, including trips to Italy, Germany, France, Africa, China, and Australia. He particularly enjoyed Foreign Study League travel with students. Marshall also loved taking family members to cultural venues such as Fox Theater, St. Louis Symphony, St. Louis Opera Company at Loretto Hilton Theater, the Walton Arts Center after they moved to Arkansas – and especially the movies! Marshall was proud of his experiences during WWII. He shared stories of his trip to Paris after the liberation, his time spent in the German castle at Germersleben, and his amazing trip with his buddies to the Eagle’s Nest shortly after it was bombed by Allied troops. He spoke of how fortunate he was to have taken typing in high school which gave him a great skillset with which to serve the war effort. Marshall had the unique distinction of being the only principal Plymouth Junior High School ever had, a time of which he was very proud. He worked with the distinguished architectural firm Hellmuth Obata and Kassabaum to design and build an innovative junior high school. (Of note: Hellmuth Obata was a member of the firm that built the St. Louis airport.) As kids, we considered Plymouth our “second home” – Dad was the principal, Marsha attended Plymouth Jr. High the first full year it was opened, Wayne and David were students there, and John attended the school the last year it was operational due to shrinking enrollment in Webster Groves. Marshall shared stories of his work during the 1960s to ensure that all children were welcome and felt safe in his school during the time of integration. As a result of his efforts, he was honored with a set of Abraham Lincoln bookends by Benny Gordan, an NAACP activist who appreciated his work to support all students.
Marshall was known as a person who enjoyed people. He took pleasure in entertaining and his home was always welcoming to family and friends. Even in his most advanced years, he kept in touch using 21st Century technology via his phone and FaceTime. In his golden years, he sought the company and conversation with people in his assisted living facility and at his skilled nursing home. Those who cared for him appreciated his zest for life.
Marshall will be remembered as a caring, loving individual. His family and friends will miss hearing his stories about “how it was” in the old days, eating at Applebee’s and going to the movies. We are grateful to the legacy he left, the wisdom he imparted, and the role model he was as a part of the “Greatest Generation.”
Donations in lieu of Flowers can be made to a charity of your choice or to one of the following that Marshall cared about and supported: the St. Louis Zoo Opera Theater of St. Louis. See the links to their websites below.
Please leave a favorite memory of Marshall for his family to cherish at "Add a Memory" below.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Marshall F. Brooks
May 24, 2020
Dearest Family of Great Gramps,
That's how I knew him. He was your GG.
He was the one you made sure was at the family gatherings. The one you visited. The one you took care of. The man you loved.
What I could tell of this very intelligent man was that he loved each of you in return.
Thank you for sharing him with me.
You are in prayers.
May 21, 2020
I was blessed and honored to take care of Marshall in his home at Primrose Retirement.Marshall loved all and especially loved his caregivers.He loved being the one to teach them and was adamant that the new caregivers take the lead and let others teach them.We all enjoyed sitting and listening to his stories of back in the day and Marshall was very vocal in his opinions.He loved to tell me to go be a teacher and was always asking how i was or how my family was.Marshall held a special place in my heart and always will as the man who gave me a chance when i was a new caregiver for him.I will miss him and his smile.