American Veteran 01
Official Obituary of

Thomas S Brooks

January 12, 1932 ~ February 2, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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Thomas Brooks Obituary

Saratoga resident Stan Brooks passed away peacefully in Denver on February 2, 2023, after a brief illness, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his loving wife Claire, his four children and six grandchildren, who all miss him deeply. Thomas Stanley Brooks was born in Rawlins in 1932 and spent his boyhood in PARCO-Sinclair where his parents J.G. Brooks and Adele Whatley lived along with his older sister Betty. His mother and father met in Breckenridge, Colorado, where Stan’s grandfather Ezra Brooks was a successful mining engineer, and his mother’s family were prominent local landowners. Stan’s Brooks paternal ancestors were English hard rock miners from North Devon and later the Lake District, before emigrating to America. His maternal uncle Barney Whatley was a prominent lawyer in Colorado and a good friend of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, Hugo Black. Stan’s father, J.G. Brooks worked for the refinery in Sinclair for over 30 years. From an early age Stan excelled in his studies, and he enjoyed debate and theatre at Rawlins High School, graduating in 1950. Stan attended the University of Wyoming from 1950-1954 (Major in Theatre, Minor in French), where he was a widely celebrated actor in the theatre department and also studied French. During his years at UW, Stan played leading roles in major Shakespearean productions as well as the title role in “Peer Gynt.” During his senior year at UW, Stan was Wyoming’s candidate for the Rhodes scholarship. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to continue his French language studies in France, where he lived for two years. He then served in the U.S. Army from 1956-58, after which he passed the demanding written and oral exams to enter the U.S. Foreign Service, beginning his career as a U.S. diplomat in December 1958. Stan’s first assignment was at the American Embassy in Vientiane, Laos where he met his wife Claire, a young woman from Boston who was working for the US Agency for International Development. U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson presented Stan with a Meritorious Service Award for his bravery in securing the release of hostages (including Claire) who were being held by rebels during the battle of Vientiane in 1960. Later, Stan was chosen for the Department of State’s rigorous two-year language training program in Mandarin Chinese, followed by an assignment to the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong. This was followed by an assignment to Kathmandu, Nepal in the late 1960’s as Political Officer of the U.S. Embassy, where he also coordinated with U.S. climbing expeditions to the Himalayan country. After assignments in Michigan and Washington, D.C. Stan was sent to Beijing, China in 1975 to serve as Political Officer of the U.S. Liaison Office, serving under George H.W. Bush who would later become the 41st President of the United States. At that time, the United States and China did not have formal diplomatic relations, but exchanges between the two countries were increasing daily. Stan’s 36-year diplomatic career was centered on China, and his fluency in Chinese served him well. He served as the Political Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong in the late 1970’s, as Deputy Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, and then as Consul General of the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai from 1983- 1987, and also as Charges d’Affaires in Seoul, Korea from 1988-1990. Stan’s last posting was as Director of the American Institute of Taiwan, a post equivalent to the rank of Ambassador. The Institute was established in 1979 to coordinate our relations with Taiwan after the United States formally recognized the People’s Republic of China and de-recognized the Republic of China. Although modest nearly to a fault, Stan received a number of awards for superior performance over his career. Upon his retirement in 1994, Stan and Claire returned to his beloved Wyoming, spending their time between the family property in the Platte Valley adjacent to the National Forest, and homes in Saratoga and Laramie. In retirement, Stan took up geology and natural resource conservation as serious matters of interest and study. He established a conservation easement under the Nature Conservancy and worked closely with Wyoming Game & Fish and NCRS on conservation projects. His main passion over his 29 years of retirement in southeastern Wyoming was working outdoors at the family’s 1,900-acre mountain property near Saratoga, building on his father J.G. Brooks’ legacy dating from 1933. Stan’s best days in retirement were spent walking great distances across the foothills of the Sierra Madre, mattock or iron bar in hand, working on the fence line, seeking new rocks to move or a new surface spring to protect. Although his diplomatic career for America took him all over the world, Stan always knew he was from Wyoming, and this was a source of immense pride and satisfaction for him. Stan had a funny story that captured his retirement perfectly. One day at Allen Insurance in Rawlins, he was waiting for a clerk to finish some paperwork. A couple of desks away another clerk, a friend of Stan’s from grade school days over seventy years earlier in PARCO-Sinclair was talking to another customer. Both of them were looking at Stan. Stan overhead the old friend say, “Him over there? He used to be some kind of ambassador. Now he’s a hermit back in the hills.” Laughing, Stan would say his old school friend had not missed the mark by far … in either characterization. Stan is survived by his wife Claire Stevenson Brooks, of Malden, Mass, and by his four children, David, John, Susan, and Jeffrey, and by his six grandchildren, Oliver, Nicolas, Madeline, Isabella, Lucas and Whitney. His family have inherited Stan’s deep love for the harsh natural beauty and rewarding landscapes of Wyoming. The Brooks family would like to thank friends and neighbors and the good people of Saratoga and Laramie for their kindness to Stan and Claire over the years. A remembrance event will be held for Stan during the summer of 2023 in Saratoga, Wyoming. The date and time will be announced later. Condolences and reminiscences about Stan may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 770

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