Rev. Frederick M. Brooks Jr., Episcopal minister

Posted: October 26, 2006

The Rev. Frederick Manning Brooks Jr., 94, Episcopal minister at the Church of the Saviour for 26 years, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 4 at Cathedral Village, where he had lived for six years. He was a longtime resident of University City and Merion Station.

He was born into a family of several Episcopal ministers in Massachusetts, one of whom was the Rev. Phillips Brooks, author of the 1868 poem "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

Father Brooks was ordained at Boston's Episcopal Theological Seminary in 1941.

In 1940, he married Miriam Adelaide Rix and the couple raised three children. She died in 1961. During World War II, Father Brooks was a civilian Army chaplain at Fort Ruckman East Point in Nahant, Mass.

During the ten years following World War II, Father Brooks was minister at Church of the Ascension in Fall River and head of the Church Militant, a religious magazine, during the time of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Father Brooks moved to Merion Station in 1955 to become minister of the Church of the Saviour at 38th and Chestnut Streets, now the cathedral church for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Under his ministry, Church of the Savior became the home of the Center for Literacy, a training space for the Peace Corps and home to several international congregations, as well as a few rock bands. He retired in 1981.

Father Brooks was also chaplain at Drexel University and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for 40 years. He was the Episcopal representative for the Chinese Christian Church of Philadelphia from 1975 to 1995.

In 1967, he married Doris Marie Blade Humphries, and she brought four children to the marriage. They moved to University City in 1972 and, in 1986, the couple helped found the Camden School of Musical Arts. She died in 2005.

"My dad had a sly pleasure in malapropisms," said his daughter Connie Dauval. "He loved to wear crooked baseball caps that celebrated his grandchildren's many accomplishments. He was fun. We didn't mind if our dinners got cold during his slow graces while he asked for a blessing for everyone by name, including the dogs."

In addition to his daughter, Father Brooks is survived by a son, Benjamin; another daughter, Sara; stepsons Douglas and Randall Humphries; stepdaughters Hope and Ariel Humphries; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Roxborough. His body was donated to science.

Donations may be sent to Camden School of Musical Arts 531-35 Market St., Camden, N.J. 08102.

Contact staff writer Gayle Ronan Sims at 215-854-4185 or gsims@phillynews.com.

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