February 1, 1932 - October 13, 2016
Concord, Massachusetts | Age 84
Anne was born in Cambridge on Feb. 1, 1932, Anne F. Russell - the younger of two sisters whose parents were George Otis Russell, who was in the insurance business, and the former Olive Johnson.
Growing up in Weston, Mrs. Brooke "had a very, very happy family life," her husband said. She also "studied art and painted," he added. "She didn't sell her paintings, but she could draw exceedingly well, and that became a big part of her life."
In 1951, she graduated from Bradford Junior College in Haverhill, and through friends she met Peter Brooke. One winter weekend, they both happened to be at the same ski lodge in Franconia, N.H. "We went skiing and that was the last time I had a date with anyone else," he said. "After that day I said, 'Would you mind if I called and asked you to dinner?' And that was it. We fell in love."
They married in 1954 and settled in Concord, where Brooke Hall in the Concord Museum is named for Mrs. Brooke. Along with chairing the museum's board, Mrs. Brooke chaired the Concord Historic Districts Commission and was a leader in preserving Heywood Meadows.
Gary Clayton, president of Mass Audubon, said that when Mrs. Brooke served as vice chair of the board, she firmly believed "that our organization's work needed to involve everyone in the Commonwealth, whether they live in a rural, suburban, or urban community."
That philosophy led to what may stand as Mrs. Brooke's most enduring legacy, creation of the Boston Nature Center. "Anne was adamant about ensuring that there would be a Mass Audubon sanctuary available where people could learn about the environment and connect with the wonders of nature," said Julie Brandlen, the Anne and Peter Brooke director of the Boston Nature Center. "Anne was really passionate around connecting families that might not otherwise connect with nature, and she did it in an extraordinarily gracious manner."
"When I think of Anne, I think of elegance and a really active intelligence," Volpe said. "And such grace, such civility."
Hostetter said that "it was her combination of beauty and grace and passion and fierceness that made her so iconic and timeless. And don't forget her brain. She was so smart."
In addition to her husband, Peter, Mrs. Brooke leaves three sons, Samuel of Arlington, Va., Peter W. of North Pomfret, Vt., and John of South Hamilton; and eight grandchildren.
A memorial service will at held at 11 a.m. May 19 in the Trinitarian Congregational Church
54 Walden Street
"People always commented about her poise, just how lovely she was," her husband said. "She was a very beautiful woman. She never spent any time being beautiful. That's just who she was."
And though her enduring civic legacy can be found in such disparate places as Symphony Hall and Mattapan, "Anne never, never needed acknowledgement," her husband said. "The job was there and needed to be done: You did it, and then you went on your way. She never needed her name in lights."
Obituary Written by Bryan Marquard , The Boston Globe