Alum among victims of Flight 800 air disaster

by David Kung | 7/23/96 5:00am

Among the victims of Wednesday's tragic explosion of TWA Flight 800 off of Long Island was Dartmouth alumnus Edwin Brooks '36 and his wife Ruth.

Brooks, a successful executive, visited the College for his 60th reunion just a few weeks before the disaster.

All 230 passengers on the Boeing 747 en route to Paris were killed.

Brooks was president of Binney and Smith International, the company that makes Crayola Crayons. Brooks and his wife were headed to Paris to celebrate her 80th birthday, his son Edwin Brooks II '72 said.

"Paris was the city she most loved," Brooks's son said.

Brooks held an off-campus position as director of corporate contributions for the Campaign for Dartmouth which ran from 1977 to 1982 and exceeded a goal of $160 million, according to a College press release.

Brooks's College roommate Baxter Fullerton '36 remembered him as a proud alumnus.

"I think that he was the kind of man that Dartmouth hopes to have as an alumnus," Fullerton said. "He was loyal to the College, a man of very high standards of morals and ethics."

Brooks, a sociology major at Dartmouth, graduated with honors and went on to become a 1937 graduate of the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration.

He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity -- now known as The Tabard.

"He was very active in Sigma Chi," Fullerton said. "He played inter-fraternity sports."

Brooks worked for The Dartmouth and was a member of the band.

Daughter Sarah Foehl described Brooks's "Dartmouth years" as very happy but declined to comment further.

Brooks's son described his family as "an old Dartmouth family."

"I've got a list of Dartmouth relatives that goes on quite a long time," he said. "I grew up going to football games and freezing my toes in Hanover from age six onwards."

"I knew the words to all the major songs by the time I was eight or nine," he said. "We used to sing in the car while heading up to Dartmouth"

"Dad had a long list of Dartmouth friends from all different classes," he said.

Brooks's son said his parents died doing what they love.

"They went out in style," he said. "They were together doing what they loved to do and both on top of their game. It is a lot harder for us left behind."

Brooks was born on Sept. 21, 1914 in Akron, Ohio. He married Ruth Daugherty, a graduate of Sweet Briar College, on Jan. 28, 1939.

After graduating from Tuck, Brooks worked for Binney and Smith.

During the years 1943 to 1946, Brooks served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy in Asia during World War II. Brooks also served in the Marines.

Upon returning from the war, Brooks rose to be president of Binney and Smith International. He left Binney and Smith in 1955 to join Occidental Oil and Gas Company in New York City. He also became president of Colombian Carbon Co., an Occidental subsidiary.

Brooks was executive vice president of Taco, Inc. from 1972 to 1975 and vice president of Cities Service and Gas Co. from 1975 to 1977 before he retired.

Brooks and his wife moved to Edgartown in Martha's Vineyard where they were extremely active in the community, Caldwell said.

"Edgartown was their full time residence when they were not on the road," his son, Brooks II, said.

Brooks and his wife spent much of the their last years traveling, his son said.

"They were both in good health and veteran travelers," he said. "They spent almost four months a year on the road, mainly in southeast Asia."

"They would travel from the beginning of December through the middle of April," he said. "Often times they would take a short trip in August or July to escape the crowds."

During their travels, Brooks and his wife would spend time relaxing with needlepoint, his son said.

"They made wonderful needlepoint," his son Brooks II said. "I have a bench that they made me for my 40th birthday that was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes."

"Apparently they were working on a needlepoint for my wife for her 40th birthday," he said. "They had that with them on the plane."

Brooks is survived by his son and three daughters: Foehl, Susan Mastrola, and Stephanie Elliman.

The family will hold a private memorial ceremony. The family requests that memorial contributions be given to the Hospice of Martha's Vineyard in Oakbluffs or the Sheriff's Meadow Foundation in Vineyard Haven.

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