FJC bids farewell to a founding father : Harold Brooks

Harold A. Brooks, the Jazz Collective's Productions Director and a founding member, passed away Monday, Oct. 29th. An inspiration to all who knew him, Harold gave generously of his time and money to advance the cause of keeping jazz alive and well in Fredericksburg. Whether he was mentoring young students, planning our public presentations, playing keyboards at our jazz jams, or bringing us new ideas from other regional jazz organizations, Harold kept a positive attitude and helpful demeanor throughout. His commitment and contributions to our local music scene will be forever appreciated.

Harold Aurelius Brooks, 71, of Fredericksburg passed away on Monday, October 29, 2018 at the Medical College of Virginia.

The third of eight children, Harold was born on March 26, 1947, in St. Louis, Missouri to the late Albert E. and Willie C. Brooks. He was preceded in death by his brother Albert Jr. and his sister Shirley D. Rice (Brooks).

Harold attended Central High School in St. Louis, Missouri where he demonstrated skill in building electronic circuits. In 1969, Harold earned a B.S. in Physics from Columbia University. Later, Harold earned advanced degrees in engineering, economics, and technology. He worked for prestigious institutions like Bell Labs and Washington University. From the 1980's through his retirement, Harold served this country as a Senior Level Research Physicist at the Naval Air Weapons Station in China Lake, California. There, he developed an improved method for inverse synthetic aperture radar. Harold published several papers in professional publications like the Journal of Physics. He received a patent on the use of wavelets for improving radar signal processing and extracting information from that data in 1998 (U.S. Patent 5,757,309). This work proved to be a precursor to data mining now practiced by companies such as Facebook and Google.

Harold became a resident of Virginia in 1994 following his marriage to Maxine M. Clark. They participated in the civic life of Alexandria until their move to Fredericksburg in 2002. There, Harold promoted interest in the preservation and performance of jazz music by collaborating with local jazz musicians to establish the Fredericksburg Jazz Collective, nonprofit, where he served on the Board as Productions Director.

Harold leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Maxine; the Brooks’; the Clark’s; the Rice’s; and a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and neighbors.

A service will be held at noon on Saturday, November 17 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 25 Chalice Circle, Fredericksburg, VA 22405. The service will be followed by a reception and a jazz concert tribute.

In lieu of flowers donate to: American Heart Association; Alzheimer’s Foundation of America; American Kidney Fund; Fredericksburg Jazz Collective at or Fredericksburg Jazz Collective, P.O. Box 1092 Fredericksburg, VA 22402. Appreciation extended to Covenant Funeral Services and Fredericksburg Unitarian Universalist Church.