Maurice E. Brooks was born in East Windsor, CT on May 18, 1922 and passed away peacefully on January 4, 2018 in Port Washington, NY. The youngest of four children of Samuel Brooks and the former Annie Finegold, he lived in Los Angeles as a child, due to his father's ill health and need for clean air (apparently abundant there at that time). Maury was eight when his father died and the family moved to New York City in the depths of the Depression, where they resided in a series of tenement apartments, often moving due to an inability to pay the rent. Prior to attending college, Maury worked at numerous jobs in order to help support his mother. He enrolled as a night student at Cooper Union, studying chemical engineering and working during the day at the Lummus Company, one of the few engineering companies then willing to hire Jewish employees, where he began as a draftsman. Except for serving in the Army for two years in the Pacific during World War II, Maury remained with Lummus for forty years, eventually becoming Lummus' President and Chief Executive Officer. He retired in 1980 and formed a consulting business, only to return to the company in 1987, serving for two years as the Chairman and CEO of Lummus-Crest, as it was then known. At Cooper Union, Maury won the Henri Dickinson Award for being first in his class in his graduating year (1947), was a member of Mu Alpha Omicron and Tau Beta Pi, honorary engineering societies, and, after his graduation, received the Cooper Union Professional Achievement Citation in 1965 and the Gano Dunn Award from Cooper Union (awarded each year to an outstanding alumnus of the school) in 1976. He was a recipient of various prizes, including a Steven L. Tyler Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineering, on one occasion using the prize money to enable Helen, his beloved wife of 74 years (who survives him), to take painting classes. He published six technical papers and was issued eight US patents. He served on the Board of Governors of The Cooper Union Alumni Association; on the Executive Advisory Committee of the Federal Power Commission; and on the Consulting Committee for Chemical Engineering at Manhattan College. His professional accomplishments were only one aspect of a very long, well-lived and remarkable life, which included witnessing the Japanese surrender to General McArthur on a ship in 1945; living in Paris for six years while leading the efforts of Lummus' office there to help rebuild post-World War II Europe; returning to Paris with Helen after retirement where they had an apartment in the Marais section of the city; and consulting work that included serving as an advisor to the Indonesian government; preparing a report for the Republic of South Africa and testifying before its parliament on a large and controversial offshore energy project; reviewing another large project in Australia; performing economic and technical feasibility studies of several industrial projects for the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations; testifying as an expert in Geneva in what was then the largest arbitration in the history of the International Chamber of Commerce concerning a liquefied natural gas plant in Algeria; and preparing an environmental impact assessment for a petroleum company in Taiwan. After his retirement, Maury and Helen dedicated themselves to anti-war and anti-nuclear proliferation activism and other progressive causes. His generosity was extraordinary, extending not only to numerous family members and friends, but also to charitable and political action organizations. He is survived by his wife Helen, a son, Dan, a daughter-in-law, April Brooks, two granddaughters, Samantha Brooks and Jocelyn Smerd, and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter, Stephanie. He will be sorely missed.
Published in New York Times on Jan. 9, 2018.