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John Brooks '81 October 17, 2023 10:14 AM updated: October 17, 2023 10:24 AM

John Preston Brooks 
October 21, 1957 - September 9, 2023 

John Preston Brooks, 65, passed away September 9, 2023, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

John was born on October 21, 1957, in Little Rock, AR. He grew up in Ft. Worth, TX with his parents John and Berta and sisters Fran and Karen. He graduated from Paschal High School in 1976 and followed his friends to Texas A&M University where he studied art and architecture, receiving his architectural degree in 1981. His studies served him well, as he became an award-winning architect. He was an avid caver and turned his love of caves into art which graces the covers of multiple publications.

He met his wife, Jill Buffington Brooks, in 2008 and they married two years later on a hiking trip to Big Bend National Park. He regularly found ways to get her out of her comfort zone, with caving, mountain biking, road biking, snowboarding, hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in two feet of snow, and taking helicopter tours in Hawaii and Alaska. Their favorite activities included mountain biking, attending college football games, Airstream camping with friends, traveling the world, and going to concerts. They sometimes combined travel and concerts to follow favorite bands U2 and Greta Van Fleet, including the GVF show in Chicago days before his death.

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2022, but didn’t let that stop him from living his life. He continued to work the job he loved at Grace Hebert Curtis Architects, where he was loved and respected. He skied, he biked, and he traveled. He and Jill squeezed in as many memories as possible into the time they had, with adventures near and far, from walking their beloved dog, Desi, in the neighborhood to helicoptering onto a glacier in Alaska.

John’s legacy will live on through the buildings he designed, his artwork, the architects and artists he inspired, and the hearts and minds of family and friends.

John is survived by his wife Jill Buffington Brooks, sisters Karen Brooks Woodall and her husband Chip, and Fran Brooks McAdams and her husband Jerry, nephews Joseph “Jay” Woodall and Robert “Bob” McAdams, dog Desi, and cats Jack and Hera.

A celebration of life ceremony will be held on Sunday, September 24, 2023, 1:00 – 3:00pm at The Filter Building at White Rock Lake, 2810 White Rock Rd, Dallas, TX 75214.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Texas Cave Management Association, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, DFW Labrador Rescue, or your favorite charity.


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