Dr. Robert C. Brooks

Obituary
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Dr. Robert C. Brooks

West Des Moines

Robert C. Brooks was born January 2, 1936 in the family farm house in Newton, IL and grew up in Milan, IL. He died July 14 at Kavanagh House of congestive heart failure, preceded by a ten-month battle with pancreatic/lung/rib cancer.

Bob was the third child of Nel and Charles Brooks (both deceased). His brother, Bill Brooks (Pat), of Ellicott City, MD and his sister Marjorie (Bub) Roquet of Aledo, IL, and their families survive him.

Bob graduated from Rock Island High School in 1953 - and was proud to say that he attended every single high school reunion held from 1958-2013. In 2001, he was inducted into the RIHS Alumni Hall of Fame. Bob received a BS Degree in Physical Education from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN in 1957. He was recognized as a Varsity football player all four years. In 1962, he obtained his MA Degree in Physical Education from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA and then in 1974 an Educational Administration Specialist Degree from Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in 1977. He began his teaching career in Riverdale, IL, and then moved on to Moline High School. During those years, he was a teacher, coach, Athletic Director, Dean of Students, Administrative Assistant, and Assistant Principal. From 1978 to 2000, Bob was the Principal of Valley High School in West Des Moines, IA. Bob loved his years at Valley and all that was accomplished under his leadership. His Valley "family" was so important to him, and every success that students and colleagues achieved gave him great pride. During his time as Principal, he received much recognition for his work - from the School Administrators of Iowa (Principal of the Year 1993, Arts Administrator of the Year 2000), the CIML (for dedication and leadership), the WDM Chamber of Commerce (2000), and the Educator of Distinction Award from Coca-Cola in 2000. A highlight of his career was being invited in 1987 by Vice-President George Bush to represent U.S. educators at a breakfast meeting at the Soviet Embassy with Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa. Another highlight was when the Valley Music Department was honored with the first GRAMMY Signature School award in 1999, and he and music educators from Valley were able to attend this prestigious ceremony. The balance and continuous excellence - in what Bob coined "The Four A's: academics, athletics, arts, and activities" - was the hallmark of Bob's career as Principal of Valley High School.

Upon his retirement from public education, Bob served as the NCA CASI Iowa State Director (AdvancED) from 2000 to 2008. Prior to this, he was an active volunteer in Regional Accreditation, serving six years on the NCA Iowa State Committee, nine years on the NCA Board of Trustees, (Chair of the NCA Commission on Schools and then President of NCA during its Centennial). He also served 11 years on the (NSSE), National Study for School Evaluation, Board of Directors, which has since been imbedded into the AdvancEd organization. He chaired or co-chaired and served on numerous visits for Iowa and other state public and private schools, as well as many other countries for SACS schools, for the Department of Defense (DoDDS) schools throughout Europe and the Pacific, and DEDESS schools in the states.

Bob married Mary Welgos Curtin in 1987. Their professional lives as educators brought them together, but it was their desire to achieve "the ultimate partnership, which is the acceptance and love that we have for each other" that secured the bond (words taken from the wedding vows they wrote). They shared many common interests and aspirations, especially after they moved to Glen Oaks Country Club in 1996. Golf was a passion for both, and Bob volunteered his time and talents to the Principal Charity Classic, serving as starter for 12 years. He also served as the Chairman of the Glen Oaks Board of Directors in 1999 and 2003. He was currently serving as the Head of the Management Team for the Townhomes of Glen Oaks and as a member of the Glen Oaks Homeowners Association Board. Other volunteer positions Bob enjoyed were serving as an official at the Drake Relays for over 15 years and serving on the City of West Des Moines Board of Adjustment from 2003-2010.

After Mary retired in 2008, Bob and Mary transitioned to life in Naples, FL. The winter months spent there, enjoying time with friends, were among their happiest days. All those who knew Bob well knew his passions: Jack Daniels (getting a tattoo of Old # 7 shortly after he retired from Valley), being well-dressed (acquired from the many years of working in Mosenfelder's Men's Clothing Store in the Quad Cities), politics (all things Republican), fishing (having spent many, many years at a family cabin in MN), reading (sharing books with a myriad of friends), football (Iowa Hawkeyes, Green Bay Packers, and Valley Tigers), the Associates Breakfast Club (events and trips with members and serving as President in 1999-2000 and 2008-2009), riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and staying connected with family and friends.

Bob is survived by his wife, Mary, two adopted children, Craig Brooks and Kristin Keller (James) and his step-daughter, Carly Stahn (Matt). He also is survived by four grandchildren: Ashley and Zachary Stolbom and Emmerson and Sicily Stahn. Bob was a generous, forgiving, supportive and loving father and grandfather. In Bob's honor and memory, Mary has written a children's book "Bampa's Bag", which shares the story of the Stahn girls' tangible support and love given to Bob during his chemo journey from October-April. It will be published in the fall of 2014.

Per his wishes, Bob has been cremated. There will be no visitation. A private family service was held at Lutheran Church of Hope. A memorial Celebration of Life reception will take place at Glen Oaks Country Club from 1-4 on July 20. All who knew Bob and were touched by him are invited. Special thanks to Dr. Tom Buroker and the John Stoddard Cancer Center, Dr. Tom Brown and the Iowa Heart Center, HCI (Hospice Care Services), and all other medical professionals who gave Bob comfort and hope during this past year. Also, a very heartfelt thanks to the thousands of written messages that were shared this past year, expressing love and respect for Bob. It was a blessing for him to hear all of these thoughts and personal memories. From these, he knew the impact that he had on so many and allowed him to know that his life made a difference.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the John Stoddard Cancer Center, , the WDM Community Schools Student Scholarship Foundation (to be applied to a restricted use "Dr. Robert C. Brooks" Valley High School scholarship and sent to Cindy Todd, Treasurer, 4928 Cherrywood Place, WDM, IA 50265) or HCI Care Services of Central Iowa.

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Published in Des Moines Register from July 15 to July 20, 2014
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