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Reverend Robert Thomas Brooks

December 16, 1946 August 26, 2019
Reverend Robert Thomas Brooks
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Obituary for Reverend Robert Thomas Brooks

Robert Thomas Brooks, 72, of North Ferrisburgh, VT and Little Compton, RI, passed away peacefully on Monday August 26, 2019 surrounded by family and friends. Born on December 16, 1946 in Washington, D.C., he was the son of the late William F. Brooks Jr. and Katherine Ross Brooks and the grandson of the late William F. Brooks Sr. Mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts 1909-1911.

The love of Bob's life was his wife, Rhea. He first saw her walking in his neighborhood when he was in second grade. Bob commented that she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and one day he would marry her. Bob followed through on his promise and this past December, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Bob was the youngest of three children and was raised in Arlington, VA.
He attended St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1964.
Bob followed in his parents’ footsteps and attended Harvard University, graduating cum laude in 1968 with an AB in English. He played four years of football and as a result of his performance, leadership and devotion, was inducted into the Harvard Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

From 1968-1971, Bob served in the US Navy as supply officer, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, on the USS Desoto County (LST-1171) and was presented the Navy Achievement Medal. He returned to Cambridge in 1971 to attend Harvard Business School, graduating in 1973 with his MBA. Bob had a very successful 19-year career as a partner and director with Cooke & Bieler, an investment firm in Philadelphia.

In 1992, Bob traded investments for vestments and embarked on a new career path, and later earned a Masters of Divinity from The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. After being ordained an Episcopal Priest in 1995, he served five years as Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Kent, OH. After his time in Kent, he was called to be Rector of Grace Church in Providence, RI where he served 10 years.

Bob embodied “Muscular Christianity,” an idea that one’s faith, the teachings of Jesus, and commitment to social justice and action, are powerful tools to better our world. Bob’s support of the Center for Reconciliation in Providence, his time serving on the CREDO faculty of the Episcopal Church, and his involvement with several socially conscious non-profits, are testaments to his humanity and passion for activism.

Bob’s favorite pastime was cycling and in 2013 he participated in his 10th Pan-Mass challenge raising thousands of dollars for cancer research. One of Bob’s greatest strengths was his ability to intuitively bring people together. As one of the original founders of the Sakonnet Cyclists, Bob was instrumental in connecting people of wide ranging ages across a multitude of social circles. He loved to bring people together who would have otherwise never met.

Bob was always generous with his words. He would give his opinion without hesitation or apology. He brought laughter, arguments and that infectious smile wherever he went. You could depend on him. These qualities have been passed on to his children and grandchildren, so his moral insight and strength of character will live on for a very long time.
He showed us all what we could be, how we could give, and what a well-lived life was. He fit ten lives into one, and that life was incredibly lived.

Bob will be remembered as the loyal husband of Rhea; the loving brother of Elizabeth and Billy; the thoughtful brother-in-law of Jonny, Laurie, Peter, David and Jay; the devoted father to Laurie and Peter; the caring father-in-law to Matthew and Erin; the proud grandfather of Alexander, Heloise, Nathaniel and Emilie; the dependable uncle of Katy, Robert, Anne, Christopher, Tory, Marshall, Macy, John, Laura, Charlotte, and Wendy; the trusted friend to many and as kind and compassionate by all.

The family extends a special thank you to the caring teams from Addison County Home Health & Hospice and Hope Hospice, as well as the dependable team from Stay at Home. A Funeral service will be held on Saturday September 7, 11am at The Little Compton Congregational Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the capitol fund at St. Andrews by the Sea Episcopal Church, 182 Willow Street, Little Compton, RI 02837.


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