The UNC Pembroke community reacted to the death of Dr. Dalton P. Brooks Sr. with sadness and praise for the long-time faculty member. He died on January 13 at the age of 76.
A Pembroke native, Dr. Brooks graduated from Pembroke State College in 1960 and became a science teacher in the public schools. After earning a master’s degree from Temple University, he won support from the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation to earn a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Miami.
In 1976 Dr. Brooks joined the faculty at UNCP, teaching physics for three decades. He retired from the university in 1998, continuing to teach part time, and then returned to the faculty full time in 2001 to fill in for a colleague who was called to military service after 9/11.
“We will remember Dr. Dalton Brooks, a UNCP alumnus and faculty emeritus,” said Dr. Paul Flowers, a colleague in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. “Dr. Brooks was a wonderful man who provided our university and the Lumbee community decades of service and leadership, and he will be sorely missed.”
“This is very sad news,” said Dr. Jose D’Arruda, chair of the Department Chemistry and Physics for many years. “Dalton was a great person and he enjoyed teaching physics and talking about relativity and quantum mechanics. I will surely miss seeing and talking to him.
“The community also loved him,” Dr. D’Arruda continued. “I learned a great deal about his remarkable contributions to the community just this week.”
“He retired in the spring of 1998, and I was hired that summer to replace him,” said Dr. Tim Ritter. “Dalton was very kind and helpful in providing tips and guidance to the brand new professor. The lab structure that he used is still the basis for my class.
“Dalton was called back to teach full time in 2001, and this time he was replacing me,” Dr. Ritter continued. “I was mobilized with the U.S. Navy in October. He taught a full load in my absence during the spring 2002 semester.
“For several years after, I would see Dalton around the department, and he always stopped in to say hello and discuss physics,” he said. “He often asked to borrow books from me on popular science or quantum mechanics. He had a very strong thirst for knowledge. I came to realize what a good man Dalton Brooks was, and a role model as a teacher and professional educator.”
Dr. Brooks pastored Dundarrach Baptist Church in Hoke County for nearly 40 years. He also held important leaderships positions at critical times in Robeson County.
In 1988, when the five public school systems in Robeson County merged, Dr. Brooks was selected as the chairman of the newly formed Public Schools of Robeson County. In 1994, he was elected as the first chairman of the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians, a precursor to the present-day government of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Doris Jacobs Brooks; a son, Dr. Dalton P. Brooks Jr. and his wife Jean Brooks, both of Lumberton; two daughters, Danielle B. Locklear and husband Charlie Locklear, and Dori B. West and husband Dr. Danny West, all of Pembroke; nine grandchildren, Dominique Brooks, Dalton Peter Brooks III, Oscar Locklear, Damilia Brooks, Olivia Locklear, Leah Locklear, Liam Locklear, Dannah West and Darrah West; seven brothers, Dr. Martin Brooks, Ronald Brooks, Paul Brooks, Howard Brooks, Ray Brooks, Vearl Brooks and David Brooks; three sisters, Dalphina Locklear, Berniece Lowry and Joyce Maynor; and a host of other friends and loved ones.
Dr. Brooks was preceded in death by his parents, Peter “Pete” Brooks and Attie Brooks; two sisters, Althaea Maynor and Nettie B. Lowery; and a brother, James G. Brooks.
Memorials may be made to the Physics Scholarship Fund in memory of Dr. Dalton Brooks at UNC Pembroke.