Living Your Best Life radio show. Texters and emailers from North Carolina to California expressed disbelief and sadness long after the show was over. I called his wife, Lula, to tell her one story after another about her husband that was shared with me by former students near and far, fraternity brothers, and members of the community.
Many students shared how Professor Brooks impacted their lives in profound and lasting ways. His students talked about their diversity and culturally infused hands on lessons taught by their respected teacher and mentor. One former student said, "Professor Brooks would breath life into lessons by taking us out of the classroom. His teaching exposed me to many culture experiences that have remained with me 20 plus years later."
Professor Brooks was not only a strong, positive influence in the lives of his students but he embodied servant leadership in every way in the Nashville community. An Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brother said, "He lead by example. Always."
Professor Brooks lived life to the fullest and will be missed dearly by his loving wife, Lula, and son, Marcellus, his relatives and close friends, his church family, the Nashville community and his students that he taught with passion and zeal.(Obituary below.)
Gone Too Soon: Professor Marcellus Brooks
Marcellus Brooks was born on June 24, 1941 to Roosevelt Brooks and Beatrice Hibbler Brooks, both of whom preceded him in death. He was also preceded by two sisters, Martha Disroe and Katie Brooks. He is survived by his spouse of 38 years, Lula Vaughn Brooks, son, Marcellus Vaughn Brooks, two sisters, Elnora Hill and Corean Jackson, numerous nieces, nephews and in-laws. He is also survived by his "brother from another mother", and main "road dog", Lucius Turner Outlaw, Jr.
Marcellus was graduated with honors from Hamilton High School of Memphis in 1960 and from Fisk University in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He earned a Master of Arts degree from The University of New York in conjunction with the University of Madrid.
Marcellus spent his entire professional career at Fisk University, where his most recent assignment was Assistant Professor of Spanish. Prior to curtailing his activities at Fisk, he served as Chair of the Modern Language Department and Director of the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts. He also served for many years as University Marshall. Marcellus originated what is now the Fisk Study Abroad Program in 1974 when he took a group of students to Mexico City during the "Interim Period" of the 4-1-4 semester plan. Since that time, he has taken students to Africa, the Dominican Republic, South America, Egypt, Italy, and for the past few years he and his students have spent a summer semester at Estudio Sampere in Salamanca, Spain.
Marcellus was also very involved in the community at large. He was a founder of Metropolitan Interdenominational Church. He helped to establish the North Edgefield Organized Neighbors (NEON) in his community and served as Board Chair. He also served as Cub Master for a Cub Scout troop at NEON. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, The Agora Assembly, the Optimist Club, The Nashville Sons of Africa, and the Meharry, Fisk and TSU Faculty Breakfast Club.
Special thanks to Dr. William C. Penley of Tennessee Oncology and the entire staff of 6 Stringfield at Baptist Hospital.
Visitation, Sunday, 1:00 P.M., January 29, 2012 at the Fisk Memorial Chapel. Alpha Phi Alpha Omega Service 1:45 P.M. Celebration of Life 2:00 P.M. A repast will follow at Metropolitan Interdenominational Church at 4:00 P.M.
Photo credit: Lou Outlaw