Diana Brooks

MONMOUTH – Diana Brooks, beloved by her family and deeply mourned, died of natural causes on July 11, 2020 at the age of 107 at her home in Monmouth. As the oldest person in Monmouth, she had been the holder of its Boston Post cane since 2014. She attributed her longevity to a piece of chocolate at lunch and daily afternoon tea.

Born in Grays, Essex, England in 1913, Mrs. Brooks was the daughter of John Aslett and Janet Sarah Fletcher. She attended the Convent School in Grays and subsequently went to boarding school in London at La Sainte Union.

She enjoyed telling stories of her growing-up years. Her first memory was of her father waking her and taking her to a window to witness a German zeppelin going down in flames during World War I. She vividly remembered being rushed to the hospital at the age of 7 in a horse-drawn ambulance after contracting diphtheria. Diana was an avid golfer as a young woman and once played 54 holes in one day. She enjoyed travel with her two close friends, Peggy Wall and Joy Riley, known by all as “the Three Graces.”

After completing a business course, she went to work for Dupont Chemical Company in London. Dupont pulled out of London at the beginning of World War II and Diana transferred to Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) where she met her husband, Malcolm Brooks. During the war she took a watch every week on the roof of ICI’s London office building, manning a fire hose and looking out for incendiary bombs. In 1947 Diana followed her husband Mal to the United States where he had taken a job with ICI in New York. The Brooks family lived in Wilton, Conn.

Over the years, she crossed the Atlantic 25 times, all but a few by boat. She and Mal Brooks became U.S. citizens in 1991. In 2000, following her husband’s death in 1993, Diana and her son, Johnny moved to Maine to be near her daughter, Judy.

Diana was exceptionally adept in the kitchen, and her English specialties, such as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, veal and ham pie, Victoria sponge cake and Christmas cake, were culinary hits at family occasions. She was also a talented knitter and needleworker who knitted Christmas stockings for all her family and made beautiful needlepoint pillows that grace her living room. She read widely, enjoyed reading aloud to her son, Johnny, and was a master at crossword puzzles. She and her husband Mal were avid gardeners. A highlight for many years for the whole extended family were vacations on Block Island, R.I. with tea in bed with “Gran” in the morning and long idyllic days at the beach.

Diana was devoted to the care and well-being of her son, Johnny Brooks, who has cerebral palsy. She was concerned with the welfare of all children with disabilities and was honored in 1957 by the Easter Seal Society for outstanding service.

She had a friendly and lively interest in everyone and, consequently, was blessed with many long-lasting friendships with people in England and around America. As one granddaughter said, “she was the kind of person you wanted to be around.” She was definitely at her best holding court at afternoon tea where her witty and sarcastic humor shone through! Diana had an extraordinary ability to keep up with the times and to embrace social change. She was deeply open-minded and openhearted.

Diana Brooks is survived by her three children, Carolyn Brooks (Peter Morrin) of Louisville, Ky., Judy Brooks (Steve O’Donnell), of Monmouth, and Johnny Brooks of Monmouth and her stepson, Richard Stotter-Brooks (Elaine) of Bournemouth, England. She is also survived by her four devoted grandchildren, Matthew Morrin (New Orleans), Diana O’Donnell (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Lillian O’Donnell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Rebecca Morrin (Baltimore, Md.) and her step-grandchildren, Andrew, Tim and Stuart Stotter-Brooks.

The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Diane Beasley, Meagan Floyd, Francine Colwell, Vanessa Roy, Debbie Belanger and the many other devoted caregivers who have assisted Diana and Johnny over the years.

Memorial donations may be directed to the

Theater at Monmouth or the Kennebec Land Trust.

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