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Respected Bermudian educator dies in Canada

Bermudian educator Phyllis Brooks, who earlier this year received the Harriet Tubman Award for community service, has died at the age of 86.

Mrs Brooks (originally Simmons) studied at the Berkeley Institute before earning a scholarship to the University of Toronto at 19 years old.

After her schooling, she returned to Bermuda and married Wilson Brooks, but later returned to Canada.

There, she worked as a public schoolteacher and librarian for more than 20 years while working with social justice organisations including the Canadian Negro Women’s Association, the Ontario Black History Society, Children’s Aid Society and later the Bermudian Canadian Relief Association Inc.

After retiring, she became involved in the Adult Basic Literacy programme as a volunteer, and was honoured with a Literacy Volunteer award.

On January 29 this year, she was honoured again, receiving the Harriet Tubman Award for her lifelong commitment to community service.

Her daughter, Judy, said that her mother taught her about social justice through her actions.

“I recall holding her hand as a very young girl, walking around Maple Lead Gardens as she and members of the Black and Jewish communities marched and protested against Alabama Governor George Wallace speaking in Maple Leaf Gardens,” she said. “What a woman.

“She was also my first example of a woman who was determined to be strong and independent, and was a committed, supportive and loving individual of family, friends and her community.”

She also noted her mothers sharp sense of humour and her love of music.

“Mom was very accomplished, played piano, sang in choirs and finished her Master’s degree in Education and qualifications in Library Science,” she said.

“This year she was quite proud that she passed her driver’s license, although very concerned that she might not. She called all of us and said ‘I did it.’

“We were equally proud of her. She was deeply loved and will be deeply missed.”

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Published March 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm (Updated March 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm)

Respected Bermudian educator dies in Canada

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