|Chapel Of The Valley
But there's a reason: It's a temporary storing place and shrewd display case for his
European-made, life-sized, stained-glass windows. The historically significant works of art
once were displayed in the Prescott College chapel on Grove Avenue.
"The first time r saw them was in 1965. My mother belonged to the United Church Women, a
volunteer group who used to meet in that building," Brooks said. "I thought they were the most
beautiful things I'd seen and thought they should be preserved permanently," he said. "They're
the only European-made stained-glass windows in Prescott."
The 85-year-old man said he'd never dreamed he'd get his hands on the windows until the
former chapel owners (a young couple who have since moved to Southern California) decided
to sell them in 1972.
At first, the owners attempted to secure the windows in a Roman Catholic Church, yet there
was no interest by Arizona churches at the time, Brooks said.
Eventually, he bought the eight windows for $7,000.
Soon after the acquisition, Brooks spent $3,000 to build the chapel, which holds six of the
paintings. The other two are displayed in a bright corner of Brooks' spacious living room.
What also attracted the former Orme School teacher to the 91-year-old German-made
windows was his unique educational background and familiarity with such artworks. I grew up
attending a church 'Where all windows were stained glass - so I kind of grew up in that
environment. It was just natural, having been in a Gothic-style church."
The uniqueness of his 9-by-3 foot windows is in their European- style creation process: Glass
coloration is created by oxidation of the earth's elements, Brooks said. For instance, reds are
oxidized with gold and greens are oxidized with copper.
The windows recently were donated to the proposed Fain Museum (in Prescott Valley), for
which fund-raising efforts are under way.
Brooks was born Feb. 10, 1912 in Chippewa Falls, Wis., where he was raised until the age
of 18, when he moved with his family to St. Paul, Minn. For six years, he attended the University
of Minnesota, where he earned two bachelor's degrees: one in zoology and the other in
He then moved to the Union Theological Seminary (a division of Columbia University at the
time), in New York City, where he earned a master’s degree in sacred music.
Subsequently, he joined the U.S. Army, where he experienced "the harshest" encounters of
his life, fighting in the "Battle of the Bulge" in Belgium.
"It was awful hard - I learned realities of life on this planet than any other place," Brooks
said. “But anyway, I survived it."
Four years later, he paused at Michigan State University Kalamazoo, where he taught
musical theory. Three years thereafter, he went to Anchorage, Alaska and got a job as a Kodiak
High School teacher because "the salaries were excellent." There he taught Latin and biology
for one year before he became an organist and choir master with First Presbyterian Church.
Three years later, he had the opportunity to move to Arizona and teach at Orme School in
Mayer. "'I thought I would' like living in Arizona for two basic reasons: I thought I'd like the
climate and the beauty of Prescott was so great that I felt for my life as a whole, I'd prefer to live
It was 1956 when Brooks arrived in Arizona. He was 44, teaching Latin at Orme and residing
on the alternative private school campus for 14 years. While at Orme, where he also school
organist and choir master, Brooks said he had the privilege of teaching former President
Ronald Reagan's daughter, Patty, and the son of actor Jimmy Stewart.
For 21 years after he left Orme, Brooks played organ at the First Congregational Church in
Prescott. "Music has always been a great part of my life," he said. "My interest in music and
classical languages has made my life more interesting."
Brooks continues to hold a "small job" as an organist at the Chino Valley Community
Church. "I believe it's better to keep active right up until the time of one's death - as active as
you are able," said Brooks, whose family tree reflects strength and persistence: His mother
lived until she was 98 and his great- grandfather lived until he was 102.
"I've tried to keep myself in as good of health as a human being can - I do that by trying to be
physically and mentally active."
Brooks often prays in his 12-by- 6 foot chapel, where images of St Peter, St. Joseph, Jesus
Christ and the Sacred Heart, St. Mary, St Anne and the Annunciation are displayed.
Inside his home, Brooks two, favorite windows arc displayed: St Elizabeth of Hungary and
Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Brooks immediately fell in love with the St. Elizabeth stained glass window - which depicts
an ivory faced woman dropping rose petal on the ground - because of its significance: It has
been said Elizabeth, the former Queen 0f Hungary who resided in Budapest had an extremely
generous heart and often gave bread to peasant street people. Her husband objected to this
philanthropy, yet when he found her on the street, God protected her from his wrath and turned
her bread into roses.
Once the Fain Museum is built (a time frame has not yet been set for its opening), the public
will be given the opportunity to glimpse the windows.
Addition To His Home Where Windows Where Stored