Winn Kelly Brooks nee Virginia Rae Dec. 24, 1938 - Oct. 7, 2008 In 1983, Virginia Brooks legally changed her name in the hope that it might bring about a positive turning point in her life. She plucked Winn from her Crawford family tree and Kelly to represent her Daugherty heritage and also to tap into the legendary "luck of the Irish." It worked for her until she lost her fierce battle against the persistent brain tumors that took her life. She endured three brain surgeries between May, 2005 and May of this year. When the tumors returned for the 4th time, she chose to go into hospice care provided by Odyssey Healthcare of San Antonio in a lovely rural setting in the home of close friends, Tinka and Cay in D'Hanis, Texas.
Kelly was preceded in death by her grandparents Tom and Martha Crawford of Irving, Texas, her father Maj. John S. Brooks, who is buried at Ft. Sam Houston, her uncle and aunt Vic and Virginia Chancey of Dallas, and her nephew Paul Brooks Crump of Houston.
She is survived by her mother, Rita Crawford Dalton, San Antonio; her only sister, Krin Brooks Perry of Austin; cousin, Claire Chancey Lee of Dallas; and many other wonderful cousins on both the Crawford and Brooks sides of the family, most of whom live in the San Antonio area. Clay Roby, a beloved cousin and her most trusted friend, has been her rock through the last years of her life.
Kelly was very proud to be the first person in her immediate family to earn a doctorate degree. Her degrees are from Louisiana State University, San Diego State University, and the University of California, Berkeley. Kelly's career in social work began in New Orleans, then moved to San Francisco. As an Army Brat, Kelly grew up living a nomadic existence and she continued that lifestyle in her own career. Her teaching career began at the Worden School of Social Work at Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio in 1970 and continued at universities in Arlington and Houston, TX, in Santa Fe, NM, Salem, MA, Tehlequah, OK and Hammond, LA. She retired to San Antonio to be close to her family in 2001.
Kelly was a brilliant, complex and independent woman. She was also a woman of many talents. Her brilliance sometimes meant that she did not "suffer fools" graciously, but she was always patient and popular with her students. Her keen sense of humor was a big part of her appeal (She considered her sister to be her very best audience). She was able to take care of almost all her own "handyman" tasks-painting houses, laying tile, handling plumbing problems, etc. and was also an excellent cook. She was obsessive about keeping her home neat and uncluttered and was incredibly organized. She kept a journal on her computer until her 3rd brain surgery and continued to keep it in her own handwriting up until just a few days before she went into hospice care. Kelly was the first and for a long time the only Democrat in the family, and she probably regretted leaving this earth before she could cast a vote in this year's election. Kelly was an animal lover and for most of her life had both dogs and cats in her household, many of whom were adopted from animal shelters. Her beloved cats, Rudy and Jennifer, now live in Austin with her sister Krin. Kelly joined the Methodist Church when she was in the 7th grade, and she believed in a life after death. She knew that she was in God's hands and was going to a better place. All the folks that will miss her presence on this earth believe that, too.
A memorial service for Kelly and the interment of her ashes will he held on Sat., Oct. 25 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1018 E. Grayson St. in San Antonio. In lieu of flowers, please honor her with a donation to the church, charity, or cause of your choice.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Oct. 24, 2008.