Time to book

The City Council has accepted $80,000 in gifts from the estate of John and Joyce Brooks. Half of the money will go to the public library, and the other half to Drury High School.

Almost a year after their deaths, John and Joyce Brooks are still giving back to the city of North Adams – in the form of $80,000.

At City Council on Tuesday night, councilors voted to accept two separate donations of $40,000 each to the North Adams Public Library and North Adams Public Schools from the Brooks’ estate.

John and Joyce Brooks, both North Adams natives, died last February — just eight days apart from one another — at the ages of 89 and 86 respectively.

“I think many of us in the community knew Jack and Joyce Brooks,” said Mayor Tom Bernard. “What special people they were, and how much they loved the city of North Adams, and how much they gave, really generously, to the city — of their time, of their talent.”

The funding for Drury is intended to be used at the district’s discretion, with priority toward establishing facilities “such as laboratories for the studies of computers, language or other science,” according to Bernard.

The library funding is unrestricted, and staff will work with the city and trustees to determine a use for the gift, said Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo. She added that the grant could go toward a long list of necessary items, including programming, materials and the library building itself.

“It’s definitely a substantial amount of money compared to what we normally see,” Sanfilippo said. “It’s extremely generous, and we really appreciate it.”

John and Joyce Brooks graduated from Drury in the early 1950s and married in 1954, according to their obituaries. John Brooks, a Korean War veteran, spent many years working at Sprague Electric and General Dynamics. Joyce Brooks held jobs at Sprague, Brayton Elementary School, Aldo’s Paint and Wallpaper, Wall-Streeter Shoe Co and JJ Newberry’s. She was also a communicant of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church and a Eucharistic Minister at the former St. Francis of Assisi Church, her obituary reads.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilor Jason LaForest shared that “Jack” Brooks used to joke about adopting him “but he never did get around to filing the papers.”

“They were two of the most loving and caring people that I’ve known,” he said. “And they were never able to have children of their own, so these gifts to the library and to the high school certainly reflect their care and compassion and concern for the city of North Adams.”

Francesca Paris can be reached at fparis@berkshireeagle.com and 510-207-2535.

Francesca Paris covers North Adams for The Berkshire Eagle. A California native and Williams College alumna, she has worked at NPR in Washington, D.C. and WBUR in Boston, as a news reporter, producer and editor. Find her on Twitter at @fparises.