Obituary of John Preston Brooks
Mid-Century Modern Man, John Brooks
John Preston Brooks 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 and had his artwork of caves grace the covers of multiple publications.
John was an avid caver, starting his caving career in 1976. He explored caves in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and throughout the country and beyond. Over the years he was a member of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Grotto and Porcupine Grotto. In 2017, he had a cave amphipod named after him. He supported his love of caving and preserving nature through his involvement with the Texas Speleological Association and Texas Cave Management Association. John was the Chairman of the TSA from 2006 to 2009. In 2011, he was elected to TCMA’s board of directors, and was their President from 2013 to 2017. He continued to serve on the TCMA board from 2019 until his death.
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.
If you’d like to see his art, one of his paintings is currently on exhibit at the Southwestern Watercolor Society Member Show at the Dallas Public Library in downtown Dallas. He was honored to have his painting of Enchanted Rock selected for this exclusive show.
If you’d like to see his architecture, check out University of North Texas’ football stadium, Allen ISD STEAM Center High School, the end zone building at TCU’s football stadium, L.A. Dodgers’ stadium remodel, or Denton ISD’s Ray Braswell High School in Aubrey.