Our deepest thanks to all the many friends and family who have reached out to let us know how Kathryn impacted their lives. Your flowers, meals, and fellowship have meant so much to us. We encourage you to add stories, tributes and photos to this site to help us create a lasting memorial to her life and adventures.

In tribute to the pivotal role higher education played in Kathryn's life, donations in her name to the Addie Travis Brookins Endowed Council Scholarship at Jackson State University can be made via this link: Jackson State University Giving. Look under "choose an endowment" for the Addie Travis Brookins Endowed Council Scholarship. The scholarship was established in honor of Oscar's mother to support students at this historically black university in the Brookins's home state of Mississippi.

Much love,
The Brookins/Lloyd Family

Website background music: Anamaria Lloyd, vocals. 

Kathryn Juel Weibel Brookins

Kathryn Brookins died at the age of 83 on July 25th, 2020, finding peace at the end of a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was the publisher of the Mission Hill News, a visible neighborhood activist, a wife and mother, and a dog-lover. She took the world seriously and expected it to return the favor.

She was born Kathryn Juel Weibel in North Platte, Nebraska, on October 31, 1936, the only child of engineering mechanic Frank Weibel and school teacher Irene Bell Weibel, née Hill. Her beloved father died when she was just 20 years old and from then on, she and her mother were seldom far apart. Irene died in 1987 at age 89. 

A gregarious, tall, beautiful woman, Kathryn nevertheless derived her commanding presence more from her incisive intellect and formidable sense of justice.

As a child, she moved frequently around the Pacific Northwest as her father worked on some of the large infrastructure projects that contributed to the development of the region. She graduated from Gresham Union High School outside Portland, Oregon, and attended Reed College for one year before marrying her first husband, Cliff Lloyd, with whom she had four children.

The young family set off on global travels as Cliff built a career as an economist, living in the Sudan and England; she never stopped questioning and learning about the institutions and cultures in which she found herself. 

Thanks to her keen intellectual curiosity and considerable personal courage, she overcame the disadvantages of an uneven academic background to earn a graduate diploma in social anthropology through Nuffield College at Oxford University, studying with such luminaries as E.E. Evans-Pritchard. She went on to teach sociology at Purdue University and Buffalo State College.

Kathryn married Oscar Brookins in Ghana in 1973 and, devoted to each other, the two formed an exemplary, forty-seven-year partnership. They lived initially in Buffalo, NY and South Bend, Indiana, where Oscar was on the faculty at Notre Dame University. Here they first became active in local political affairs and Oscar served on the South Bend School Board. In 1983 they moved to Massachusetts, where Oscar taught at Northeastern University. To their surprise, the Boston area would prove to be their home for the next 36 years. Their two daughters were born overseas during short-term academic appointments in Ghana and Tanzania, and would grow up to know Boston as their hometown.  

Kathryn liked to say she was a student of politics, and as a Boston resident she was deeply engaged on both local and national issues. She was known in local circles as fearless and vocal, never one to back down from a battle when she felt fairness and the law were on her side - no matter how prominent or deep-pocketed the adversary. In her Mission Hill neighborhood she sought fair laws for small property owners and the consistent enforcement of zoning regulations to protect green space and livable housing from over-zealous developers. 

Other issues close to her heart included enforcement of anti-bias in housing laws and opposition to racial discrimination in education. Acutely aware of her privilege as a middle-class, highly educated white woman - though long before this consciousness became a buzzword - she advocated fiercely for the fair treatment of all. Whenever the occasion arose, she fought for black and otherwise disadvantaged family members, friends and neighbors across the legal, political and educational systems she knew were inherently stacked against them.

Her self-published newspaper, Mission Hill News, served for many years as a venue for her and a close circle of like-minded associates to make sure their voices and perspectives were heard. She and Oscar would scramble late into the night to meet their printing deadline and Kathryn proudly distributed the final product directly to prominent, elected officials all over Boston City Hall. 

Outside the political arena, Kathryn loved her dogs, gardening, foreign travel with her husband and children, and her lifelong connections to family and friends around the globe. She teared up when she watched the Kentucky Derby, as it reminded her of the horses that had populated her childhood, and she loved to celebrate her birthday by handing out Halloween candy to neighborhood children. She often said hers had been a charmed life, full of lucky breaks and exceptional opportunities to which she always said “yes.”

She is survived by her loving husband, Oscar T. Brookins, Northeastern University Professor Emeritus; her six children: Anamaria Lloyd of Seattle, Clifford Lloyd of Hamilton, Ontario, Elisabeth Fulton of Paris, France, Ariana Packard of Providence, Rhode Island, Mary Laura Brookins of Washington, DC, and Julia Brookins of Austin, Texas; Felix Yeboah of Boston, a lifelong friend of the family and "adopted son"; twelve grandchildren, and one great-grandchild named Sunshine.

She was loved and she will be missed.
Posted by Hilary Krieger on December 13, 2020
What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful matriarch and the incredible family she raised. I love the Robert Frost poem at the top -- I read it at my own father's funeral -- and Kathryn embodied this poem to its core. I've long been inspired by her integrity, her passion and her outspokenness, especially as the world becomes increasingly uninterested in unconventional and unvarnished views. May her spirit of speaking truth live on.
Posted by Kat Yeboah on October 4, 2020
So it took me a very long to write something here. And the same as my father I had to think very very carefully about what I might say. But I just want to tell you that you were the only grandmother that I ever knew. And the only one that I considered to be my granny. And obviously I’m speaking to you here regardless of what people think which was one the best lessons that you ever taught me. Who cares what other people think? You never ever cared about what other people thought you always fought for what was right regardless of how it would come off to the masses. And that was my favorite thing about you. You spoke your mind even if it was an unpopular opinion. And a lot of your opinions were unpopular but you spoke them regardless. You’ll never know the influence in my life you gave to me. I’m a very very wild kid and even if I didn’t turn out in the image that you and my father had wanted that’s ok because you gave me the confidence to be who I am and not apologize to anyone for it because I saw you be who you were in the world and not apologize to anyone. And that’s why your mind was such a great loss. You were one of a kind granny you fought for things that other people never dared to fight for and you gave something special to me. An undying will for a life. A fight to be me despite the masses. The world lost you and we will never recover. Rest in power the queen of my true family. Blood is thicker than water, and I’m grateful that you chose me as blood.
Always and forever your namesake,
Kathryn Yeboah
Posted by Charis Barasch on September 17, 2020
The elegant Kathryn knew me when I was a small child. She and her first husband, Clifford Lloyd, knew my parents at Oxford and then at Perdue. It was lovely to connect with her at Anamaria's sixtieth birthday party in Seattle. I was working with small children and she wisely told me that children were not factory made but that each one was hand stitched. What a very large heart was gifted to all of us and may it now rest in peace. Blessings and love to her family. Charis Hughes Barasch
Posted by Oscar Brookins on September 17, 2020
From Abu and Cecelia Abarry, friends from 1970s:

I first met Kathryn in the Spring of 1973 when I attended their wedding in Ghana. I had met Oscar the previous year through my late cousin whom he had helped to purchase a ticket to the US. But I came to know them better when I later arrived in the States and stayed temporarily with them in their grand home in Buffalo, New York.
The whole family, Oscar and Kathryn, Kathryn's mother, Mrs. Irene Weibel (affectionately called Meme), Annamaria, Clifford, Lili, and Ariana welcomed me, and later my wife, Cecelia, with affection, respect and generosity. We were privileged and honored later to meet the new lovely additions to the family too, Mary Laura and Julia.
Throughout our stay with the family, we were impressed by Kathryn's and Oscar's example of devotion to family, intellectual pursuits, loyalty, and commitment to fair play and interracial harmony and hard work. Meme, my adopted American mother, and the older children of the family, helped tremendously to make my transition from African life to the American way of life smooth, educative, adventurous, and pleasurable. This took place mostly during a whole year that I was left with them in Buffalo while Oscar and Kathryn pursued academic assignments in Africa.
For these and many other things, Cecelia and I remain eternally grateful. to the whole family.
Kathryn was a beautiful, brilliant, generous and accomplished lady.
Everywhere she sojourned, she helped to leave the place much better than she found it.
Surely she will be missed.
May she rest in peace.
Profs. Abu and Cecelia Nana Abarry
Temple University, Philadelphia
Posted by Rhadzilla Rex on September 15, 2020
Kathryn's perennial, experienced Mission Hill Community voice will be sorely missed... Rest in Perfect Peace.

Sincerest condolences to Prof Oscar and the Family.

Roderick Kersey, Mission Hill neighbor, Community friend
Posted by Joseph Flynn on September 14, 2020
There are very few women who were as committed to the Mission Hill neighborhood as Kathryn. I always marveled at her indefatigable spirit in taking on injustices within our community. She truly was our biggest advocate, and never shy about taking on those who would seemingly yield extraordinary power.

I vividly recall those early days of the Community Alliance of Mission Hill where Kathryn would raise her voice loudly against the overly aggressive developers who had no other interest in our neighborhood, other than making themselves rich.

It was a pleasure to have known Kathryn and she will be sorely missed!

Joe Flynn
Posted by Christine Rose on September 10, 2020
Dear Oscar and family,

I am so sorry to learn of the passing of your beloved Kathryn. I was a volunteer and then executive director when I met Kathryn and you Oscar. My sister is the owner of Liz's Hair Care. I appreciated all that she and you have done for the Mission Hill community. I will keep you all in prayer.
Posted by Sandra Burla on September 10, 2020
Kathryn was a friend and confidant over the twenty years I worked with her son, Clifford Lloyd. Many times she would call and we would chat...sometimes checking up on her only son, other times letting me in on her next crusade and what was going on in her life. She was a Grand Lady that would not stand for
anything she didn't think was right. A champion of many fights and a woman that was a forceful personality to say the least. I shall miss our talks. (Cliff's Assistant, Sandi )
Posted by Rajesh Yadav on September 9, 2020
Time certainly flies.
I have fond memories of Ma'am, during her visit to Delhi. Ma'am and Sir, both used to teach students of Management during their stay Jamia.
Some of her words has kept me in good stead. She told me, ' Rajesh, Do work which helps you in studies.
In Hindu culture, Only body dies, soul that is the life force behind a person stays with subtle mind and karmic (work done) transaction. Vedanta tells us that, all of us are ever present and there is nothing like birth and death, this is all playfulness of god that makes you see things in material form, deep down all of us are Bramhan( GOD) and as individuals(Atman), we are part of it and in whole part of cosmos.
I don't know what her soul does now, but for me she has been a motivator and a great teacher. I love you maam.
My condolences for Sir and the family.

P.S.- Sir, I hope you remember me. I am Rajesh. I used to accompany you to the University from Guest house some time and was working with Dr. Shakeel Ahmad, then. During the time, one of your daughters, who was into Finance, also visited.

Time certainly flies.You never know, when you find your near and dear ones no more. 

Posted by Oscar Brookins on September 6, 2020
Thank you for sending this Kathryn was one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known. Her intelligence, prospective and fearless pursuit of fairness always impressed me. Our world is in sore need of more people like her. I will miss my friend. Be well my friend.

(From her Primary Care Physician MD. September 6, 2020)
Posted by Thomas More Haettenschwil... on September 6, 2020
Cliff was my best mate in Buffalo (before he prematurely decamped for Vancouver) and the house in Buffalo was my refuge for many years, even after returning from the service. Kathryn's and Oscar's unhesitating welcome made their house a home like no other. For this I have enduring thanks, fond memories mixed with the deepest of sorrows for Kathryn's passing. We have parted with a person of extraordinary character. May you rest in peace.
Posted by Tracy Cotoni on August 25, 2020
I met Kathryn in the late 1980s when she became a patient of Roland E. Vanaria, DDS. I was Dr. Vanaria's dental assistant and spent a lot of time chatting with various patients. Kathryn was always interesting to talk to, especially about politics, but my favorite conversation with her had to do with raising children. I was trying to train my first child, Meghan, to fall asleep on her own. It was a real battle with a very stubborn baby and I was telling Kathryn that I would have my husband stay home while I would go for a walk so I wouldn't have to listen to her cry. And cry. And cry. Kathryn looked at me with a quizzical expression and said, "Why would you harass your child?" That night at bedtime, I simply laid down with Meghan in my bed and let her fall asleep with me. It was like I had been given permission to follow my own instincts and it was a great relief, to all involved. Thank you, Kathryn. You will be missed.
Posted by Gregory Ewing on August 23, 2020
I first met Kathryn Brookins in 1995 when I responded to an ad for an apartment rental. I was looking for a place closer to graduate school and where I could have enough room to host my children from my first marriage. I called Mrs. Brookins on the phone to get some basic information about the place. What was supposed to be a brief call to gather information turned into a 90 minute discussion about local and national politics, race relations and the general state of higher education. I was stunned by our conversation. I was amazed by her intellect.

I would rent the apartment for eight years. During that time, I got a chance to learn more about Mrs. Brookins. I continued to amazed by her intellect, her commitment to the community and her kindness. The Brookins provided invaluable assistance to me during a vey difficult time in my life. Mrs. Brookins was always supportive and helped me appreciate my gifts and understand the barriers to my success.

In 2003, I moved to the DC area, and several years later California, Virginia, Texas, Maryland and now Rochester, NY. Thorough the 17 years since my departure from the Brookins apartment, I continued to reflect on my time at the Brookins' apartment and kindness and support I received from the Brookins. I can honestly say that without the support Mr. and Mrs. Brookins, I might not be here to write this note of appreciation.

I can't describe my reactions or feelings when I learned Mrs. Brookins had passed. I know I had a deep sense of loss, regret that I would not be able to benefit from her kindness, indulge in her brilliance and be in her presence. Her kindness has carried me through the good times and the bad over the years while in and after Boston. She will always be with me.
Posted by Kwan Kim on August 21, 2020
We first met Kathryn and her family when Oscar came to teach in the economics department at Notre Dame. Kwan’s new colleague was a great match of common thought, and soon we discovered our children matched in ages and interests. Our family friendship blossomed in those years. Kathryn, Oscar, and their daughters joined us for a year in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where the laughs, and adventures continued. Kathryn always had a wonderful vocabulary and intellect, but claimed she just couldn’t master any Swahili. We think she made intentional Swahili mistakes just to make us laugh when she welcomed someone to her home by calling out the traditional Tanzanian “ Karibu “ (welcome) in Swahili; except, she would always pronounce it “Caribou” like that American Moose-like animal. We would roar with laughter, discuss the actual pronunciation: “Kah-ree-boo”, and wait for our next visit. Sure enough, each visit we were greeted with a version of “caribou”, or some amusing other “attempt” at a Swahili phrase of welcome. That was Kathryn! Oh, how we miss her humor. We remain life-long friends of the children and grandchildren of Kathryn and Oscar. Our families are blessed to be moving into the third generation of our bond.
Kwan and Gloria Kim
Posted by Xin Xie on August 21, 2020
As a student of Prof.Brookins, I only met Kathryn several times. I still remember the day when my wife Layla and I had dinner with her and Prof.Brookins in their Boston home. The weather was chilling but the house was very warm. Kathryn seemed to like Layla very much. After dinner, they led us to their tea room on the third or fourth floor and gave us some desserts (ice cream?). From the window, I could clearly saw the beautiful night scene in Boston. Then, Kathryn told us how she defended the public green space in Boston. She was never afraid to defy the authorities and vested interests and did what she thought was right. Her unyielding spirit inspired and encouraged me to fight for justice.
Posted by Albert Asiedu-Ofei on August 21, 2020
I first met Mrs. Kathryn Brookins in 1972, in Ghana, my native homeland, through Mr. Oscar Turner Brookins and Mr. Felix Marfo who later on became the “ adopted son” of the Brookins family. 
Kathryn had brought a number of students from America to Ghana and were visiting for the first time. As I understood it, Mr Brookings was the local coordinator for the group.
Kathryn return to Ghana in 1973 to join Mr Brookins. Little did I know that they were in some relationship, until Mr Brookins disclosed to us that he was marrying Kathryn at Cape Coast, in the Central Region of Ghana. Mr Brookins lived at Achimota in Accra and lectured at the Department of Economics, University of Ghana.
The wedding took place at the Zion Methodist Church. In about thirty five minutes the ceremony was over and the wedded couple and friends were to return to Accra, same day, for the wedding refreshment. Surprisingly, the invitees to the refreshment multiplied hundred fold when we arrived at Achimota for the refreshments.
My mother, who had also become known to the Brookins family, helped in many ways in facilitating the wedding ceremony to a successful end.
Kathryn I knew, was a lady with an insatiable desire for knowledge. I always found her reading either a book or some printed material.
She was inquisitive and full of love to help where she could.
She loved wearing the blue jeans.
Fare thee well, kind woman.
Posted by David A. Grimsted on August 20, 2020
Kathy and I were a high school couple in the elite intellectual clique of Gresham (Ore.) Union High School in the early 50s. I politicked and wrote (school paper) more, but we both worked hard together on my senior thesis on the awful treatment of local Japenese-Americans in the war and the corrupt confiscations of their farm land by the purely white when they were imprisoned by FDR.
  I was pretty disgusted by her giving up Reed to get married, but all seemed good when the clique next congregated between semesters and she showed her independence by nursing her first child while we laughingly talked. We've kept loosely in touch over the years as we went our separate ways. What attracted me in the first place never disappeared: her sweet enthusiasms and convictions and quirks. 
  Reading the obituary, I was surprised about our similarities: love of gardens and animals and equal justice and equality and the unfair fun of life. Kathy was always a big part of the mostly good start of mine.
     David Grimsted
Posted by Karen Ress on August 20, 2020
Anamaria and I have been close friends since high school, and I frequently spent time with Kathryn and Oscar on my visits to their home in Buffalo in the late 60's and early 70's. Kathryn was always welcoming and kind to me. She had a lovely, musical speaking voice that was always a pleasure to listen to. Although I didn't realize it at the time, she and Oscar were role models to me, encouraging my interest in new ideas and world affairs. Kathryn's sharp intellect and bold spirit live on in her children. I hope her memory will be an inspiration to you all.
Posted by Oscar Brookins on August 19, 2020
We have such fond memories of working with both you and Kathryn on , . . Boston school projects and pleasant memories of meals and wonderful conversations . . . .. May Kathryn rest in eternal and blessed peace.

Jim and Kathy Rowlings
Posted by Jeanette Irgang on August 19, 2020
The first time I met Kathryn was when Laura was in my sixth grade math and computer class at the Pierce School in Brookline. She and Oscar came to ask if I thought Mary Laura would be a successful candidate for the Boston Latin School. I agreed enthusiastically.
From there we became close friends...she and Oscar rented a one room apartment and brought their two standard poodles with the girls and lived there until both Julia and Laura could attend BLS together. 
Then too the girls with my daughter Elaine were in the local girl scout troup we had on the back of Beacon Hill...Kathryn even agreed to go camping with us out in Waltham. 
In addition all three girls became part of Jose Mateo's Ballet Company to perform in the first Nutcracker he held in Boston.
We fought good fights against less than stellar teachers at Boston Latin School when they did not do well by our girls or by the Hoag boys. 
Then, when my first husband, David, passed away suddenly Kathryn comforted me by saying simply...You know Jeanette, he really loved you. 
Kathryn knew just the right words to say and when to say them.
She called me when I was out of state to campaign for Bernie Sanders....
and on my last two visits to see her she met Charlie, Elaine's son who really was amazed to meet five dogs at once.....then too, Mark enjoyed meeting her and hearing tales of all of our shared adventures....the world will miss you. dear friend, but you gave it all you a wife, a mother, an activist, and a fighter for the right side of things.....thank you for your lessons about Emmett Till and for the traditions of Ghana, Africa as well as all the hardy soups...
Much love, Jeanette aka Jenny
Posted by Oscar Brookins on August 19, 2020
I'm thinking of all of you and also all the wonderful times I had hanging out with Laura, Julia, you, and Kathryn at your house. I remember all the interesting conversations I had with Kathryn and all her good advice as Laura and I were growing up.

Posted by Oscar Brookins on August 19, 2020
We are saddened by Kathryn's passing. She was so kind, funny and a great storyteller. We are both so grateful to have known her. She had such a noble spirit and great character.

Adriane Sherman and Mike O'Keefe
Posted by Michael Silevitch on August 19, 2020
Kathryn and I first met as parent chaperones on Pierce School field trips. We soon realized that we both had husbands that taught at Northeastern and standard poodles.

We really bonded over gardening. The annual visit to the flower show was a highlight including a tour of the waterfront, Dorchester and Roxbury as we tried to find the venue (we always got lost!).

We were involved a little bit in town politics but Kathryn really hit her stride when she and Oscar moved into Boston.

Watching her decline was very painful. Oscar took loving care of her. Michael and I are sure that wherever she is, she is keeping everybody on their toes. It’s what she does best.

 Rena Silevitch
Posted by Lane Vanderslice on August 19, 2020
Kathryn was a wonderful person, with many gifts. She certainly had a gift for friendship, and I treasured her gift of friendship to me. I met Kathryn and Oscar in South Bend in the latter 1970s and we stayed friends since then. She was a thorn in the side of the Boston government as well as various other entities, including Harvard and the South Bend government, and she, and those allied with her, drew blood as well, and for good reasons. She was not afraid to take up a fight that needed to be fought, and carrying it out diligently, persistently, and effectively. Starting, editing, writing for, and publishing the Mission Hill News was something that informed and organized the people of Mission Hill and more broadly. Kathryn and I shared many of the same interests (family and a fond sense of place were certainly two) and animadversions. Over the years, when I got to Boston, it was deeply enjoyable to sit around the kitchen table in her house and bring each other up to date with the stories of our adventures and misadventures. Farewell, dear friend.
Posted by Oscar Brookins on August 17, 2020
Thank you for always opening your home to us over the years and for making us feel we had local family while we were in college.

Anne Charity Hudley, former Harvard College undergraduate
Posted by Oscar Brookins on August 17, 2020
Oh my --- we are so, so saddened to hear of Kathryn's passing.
She was such a remarkable woman --- it was a privilege knowing her.
She will be missed.
Charlotte and Mike
Posted by Oscar Brookins on August 17, 2020
Mrs. Brookins, she will be truly missed. I admired her dynamic life. She took care of all of us who live in Mission Hill.

Enanu Dixon, Resident of Mission Hill
Posted by Oscar Brookins on August 17, 2020
Kathryn and I met in Tanzania when Laura and Julia were babies. We kept in touch by phone but we also visited each other on a few occasions. I could depend on her for forthright and intelligent advice on life, the universe and everything delivered with wit and quite a bit of cheek. Between us we could topple revered political saints from their pedestals in no time. A long friendship with a lot of laughter. And that beautiful smile!
When I first heard from Ari of her condition, I had a chance to talk to her. I thought, Kathryn will be OK. I just could not believe this charismatic, intelligent woman was going so soon.

I will always remember you, my dear Kathryn.

Jamela King, 
African National Congress member and its Radio Voice in Afrikaans
Posted by Oscar Brookins on August 17, 2020
Kathryn was so kind and helpful to me so many times when I was at Mission Hill school.  She was a force for good and many of us are lucky to have felt her presence. 
Deborah Meier, MacArthur Award Winner and Founder of Mission Hill School
Posted by Mine Senses on August 16, 2020
I thought I would call her randomly one of these days and tell her how much the love, and the hospitality, and the advice and the warmth meant to me. I thought she probably knew. I thought it would still be good to tell her. I should have.
I came to this country when I was 20- to ann arbor- I 'met' her first when she sent me and Laura back to the mall to get a much better winter jacket for me (all done from Boston via phone). I felt cared for. Then I spent a Thanksgiving and then a New Years at the Brookins residence in Boston. I sat in that kitchen where there is always a water boiling and listened to her stories, her advice, her opinions, her laughter. I felt at home. One year, I was visiting a friend in Boston and I got annoyed with my friend for a mundane reason and just called Kathryn up to see if I can stay with her instead. I could do that because I felt she was family and with family you always have a home when you need it. Years later, my mother got sick while visiting us; had to spend a month in the hospital. She offered to come to DC and stay with her. She was old then; she probably was tired and still she offered and I knew she would come and talk to my mother and make her laugh and have her fight a bit harder. I said no but felt the biggest gratitude I imagine one can feel towards any other human being. To think that a woman who is such a force of life, a woman who fills a room with her sheer presence, a woman who has touched so many lives, a woman who lived such a full life.... To think that woman is no more... It shakes you in a way few things can. If it can happen to her, it can happen to any one of us mortals any moment in time. She will be missed. So much. By so many. I will be in her debt and will keep her safe in my memories, in my heart and in the stories I tell my children. Honored to have met her. 
Posted by Dr Syed Nasir Aziz Rizvi on August 16, 2020
I still remeber when Madam Kathryn was here (Delhi) in 2006 for six month, my family enjoyed with Prof. Brookins and Madam Kathryn, such a nice lady we had lunch and Dinner together many times. Madam Kathryn also invited us the evening tea with with wife of our PM Dr. Manmohan Singh. She went to Meerut (UP) also my native place to meet my other family members. I have many photos with Madam Kathryn still with me. 
With deep appreciation, fondness, and love (Rizvi, Meryam, Sahar and Rayyan ) 
Posted by Flore-Anne De Baudinière on August 16, 2020
Je pense bien fort à vous en ces moments bien difficiles. Flore-Anne, de Paris en France.
Posted by Beatrice De baudiniere on August 16, 2020
Toutes Nos condoléances Annammaria et Lili pour le décès de votre mère!Ce sont des moments bien douloureux pour toute la famille !Nous pensons bien à vous!
Yvick et Beatrice (les cousins de France!)
Posted by Anthony Schinella on August 16, 2020
To the Brookins and Lloyd family,
We are so deeply sorry to read about the loss of Kathryn. She was such a great friend to us when we first moved to Mission Hill in the mid-1990s. I so enjoyed listening to her stories and talking with her and Oscar, and watching their younger children grow up, too.
I still have old copies of the Mission Hill News in my archives; I was so grateful when Kathryn asked me to contribute stories and tips, and took my contributions seriously. Her invitation assisted me in moving from someone who was political active and working part-time in radio to being a full-time community journalist with a wall full of awards in multiple formats in two states. The News did some great journalism; we wrote stories that papers like the Globe wouldn't touch. Kathryn always worked hard to try and keep pols and neighborhood activists honest.
One thing missing from this tribute was Kathryn's two campaigns for state representative in 1994 and 2002 in the Democrat's primary. She received 34% in 1994 against incumbent Kevin "Money Fitz" Fitzgerald, a friend of bag ladies everywhere.
But it is important to note in 2002, she was a Clean Elections candidate for the open seat 15th Suffolk seat, agreeing to limit the amount of donations and spending limits she would accept to get matching funds to run. She also signed onto a lawsuit attempting to preserve the program but ultimately only placed fifth out of five candidates.
The law, after being attacked relentlessly by the special interests in your state as well as intrusive thwarting of the law by then-Speaker Tom, later felon, Finneran, unfortunately, was repealed in 2003.
Kathryn always fought the good fight and lived by an ethos and integrity I try to adhere to each and every day and have instilled in my own children: You live every day to the fullest and lost causes are sometimes the only ones worth fighting for.
We will be praying for your family during this difficult time.
Tony and Christine.
Posted by Richard Orareo on August 16, 2020
I first met Kathryn at Boston Redevelopment Authority neighborhood meetings. She was articulate and fierce in her opposition to Hospital and University expansion at the cost of neighborhood housing. Demolition was their goal; we shared the determination that affordably housing was the goal, not dormitories or medical laboratories. People was always her priority not institutions. She had an unquenchable thirst fore direction that would benefit neighbors and neighborhood. She would oppose using the courts as her ally in her determination. I joined Kathryn and Oscar, and others, in opposition to Northeastern University attempt to demolish the Boston YMCA to build a private university dormitory. Kathryn and Oscar researched and wrote the brief; presented their arguments before the Judge. Kathryn' logic and grasp of the law won a years long delay in the project. We did not win or lose; we settled. 
I learned that Kathryn was in decline from her son Cliff. Dementia is such a dreaded condition that I could not face a Kathryn that was not able to function as the dedicated and forceful woman that she was. I did not call or write; it is one of the greatest failures of my life. 
She is to be remembered as a powerful force, defending what she believed to be true and just. She did the good thing, the right thing; she fought the good fight and lived the good life. 
With deep appreciation, fondness, and love,

Posted by Dan Lomba on August 16, 2020
I’ll never forget her and her kindness towards me. I will forever consider myself lucky to have crossed paths with her and the Brookins family. 
Posted by Laura Brookins on August 15, 2020
From RM

What a horrible, horrible illness. Especially for a firecracker like your mom. I only met her briefly, but loved her instantly. Your kids will love hearing about the many stories you’ll pass on. I know I did.
Posted by Laura Brookins on August 15, 2020
From SV

I was a fan of hers as well - the Nebraska connection, of course - I still remember reading the draft of her family member's history from out in my neck of the woods. And working on her piano. And there was a way that time stood still in her kitchen, enjoying life, and sharing stories. Anyway, she stays in a good place in my heart and memories.
Posted by Laura Brookins on August 15, 2020
From JG

Your mom was such a wonderful person. She was a pure delight to be around and will always hold a special place in my heart. If I couldn’t have my mom I would totally want yours - I mean that 100%. 
Posted by Laura Brookins on August 15, 2020
From Rose Chan

I always loved spending time with Kathryn. Her stories about her amazing life and the times she lived through fascinated me. She took all of us under her wing, and chided us like all her children. She was a force of nature, a generous heart and I thought she was one of the most interesting people I've ever met. I will miss her.
Posted by Laura Brookins on August 15, 2020
From Cliff Lloyd:

Mom taught us all that we are second to no one. We are as good as anyone, but better than no one. She credited this wisdom to her own mother's egalitarianism. [Irene agreed with Will Rogers tenet "I never met a man I didn't like."]

Mom made me read the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling - and to live up to it. She said that her father, Frank, had done so.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Hilary Krieger on December 13, 2020
What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful matriarch and the incredible family she raised. I love the Robert Frost poem at the top -- I read it at my own father's funeral -- and Kathryn embodied this poem to its core. I've long been inspired by her integrity, her passion and her outspokenness, especially as the world becomes increasingly uninterested in unconventional and unvarnished views. May her spirit of speaking truth live on.
Posted by Kat Yeboah on October 4, 2020
So it took me a very long to write something here. And the same as my father I had to think very very carefully about what I might say. But I just want to tell you that you were the only grandmother that I ever knew. And the only one that I considered to be my granny. And obviously I’m speaking to you here regardless of what people think which was one the best lessons that you ever taught me. Who cares what other people think? You never ever cared about what other people thought you always fought for what was right regardless of how it would come off to the masses. And that was my favorite thing about you. You spoke your mind even if it was an unpopular opinion. And a lot of your opinions were unpopular but you spoke them regardless. You’ll never know the influence in my life you gave to me. I’m a very very wild kid and even if I didn’t turn out in the image that you and my father had wanted that’s ok because you gave me the confidence to be who I am and not apologize to anyone for it because I saw you be who you were in the world and not apologize to anyone. And that’s why your mind was such a great loss. You were one of a kind granny you fought for things that other people never dared to fight for and you gave something special to me. An undying will for a life. A fight to be me despite the masses. The world lost you and we will never recover. Rest in power the queen of my true family. Blood is thicker than water, and I’m grateful that you chose me as blood.
Always and forever your namesake,
Kathryn Yeboah
Posted by Charis Barasch on September 17, 2020
The elegant Kathryn knew me when I was a small child. She and her first husband, Clifford Lloyd, knew my parents at Oxford and then at Perdue. It was lovely to connect with her at Anamaria's sixtieth birthday party in Seattle. I was working with small children and she wisely told me that children were not factory made but that each one was hand stitched. What a very large heart was gifted to all of us and may it now rest in peace. Blessings and love to her family. Charis Hughes Barasch
her Life

Kathryn: Origins, Early Life

Kathryn was born to Frank and Irene Weibel on October 31st, 1936 in North Platte, Nebraska, their only child. She spent her early years there, however following the devastation of the Dust Bowl, which especially impacted western and sand hill Nebraska and other states, her family soon moved. Her father, who was an auto mechanic at the time, hit upon the idea of migrating as depicted in Grapes of Wrath and other news and social commentaries of the time, so they migrated to Oregon. He took his brother and his brother's family as well, and once resettled Frank discovered he could keep busy and earn good money based on his mastery of all things mechanical if he followed construction and mining activities; his brother settled rather than migrate and roam the far West. Frank supported gold and coal mining works, often in deep shafts rather than the strip mining that is more familiar in the Midwest and Eastern United States.

With the onset of World War II both Frank and Irene went to work in the defense industry; this then meant Kathryn became one of the first “latchkey kids” as her parents arranged their shifts so that one worked on the overnight and the other work during the day shift. Kathryn was left to manage things around the house by herself. Over the course of her childhood (ending when she entered Reed College as a 16-year-old freshman in 1953) the Weibels lived in some 45 different locales, including Skamokawa, Washington, Green River, Wyoming, and Suntrana, Alaska. Her father going to where he could find work, meant they moved around freely, and he had employment full-time rather than seasonally. Frank Weibel was considered a mechanical genius and royalty in some senses of the words by his extended family and neighbors around who looked up to him for leadership and ideas. That Kathryn grew up in this environment - seasonal mining camps - meant she had limited access to books and continuity in her formal schooling. 

Kathryn and her mother drove the Alaskan Highway to be with Frank, and in so doing probably became the first female couple to ever venture out and complete that long trek of 1200 miles. This was shortly before she entered college and there were very few books; she read what was available and was stumped by the word “empirical,” with no recourse to find its meaning. Then came the question of college. She visited the University of Oregon and was put off by her discovery that the girl who hosted her owned some 30 to 50 skirts! Kathryn was not into clothes and may have had 2 or 3 skirts, for she typically wore jeans and a miner’s shirt.

She told her father she preferred to go to Reed college in Portland, and he expressed concern for her having chosen the single most expensive college, certainly in that part of the world. It cost approximately seven hundred dollars, but she explained to him that it was the best school and that's why she wanted to go there, not because it was the most expensive. Her wardrobe distinguished her from the other students because she wore her overalls and miner’s shirts. Some 40 to 50 years afterwards, while reflecting on her experiences at Reed, she recognized that she had been in all probability the first “flower child” anywhere.

At Reed she says she discovered classical music wafting from dorm rooms and in Hum 11; traveling around in mining camps and mining towns as she had while growing up, she had only been exposed to what we then called hillbilly music, or now what we call country music. These two genres of music dominated her listening throughout the rest of her life. She also enjoyed Pete Seeger and other folk musicians, as well as country blues, especially Howling’ Wolf and Jimmy Reed, who was her favorite.

She somehow began Reed with the notion she was going to major in philosophy but quickly discovered that she had little interest in discussions of ‘being’ and similar arcane topics; besides, the readings were many and impossible to comprehend. Western civ, the interdisciplinary course which was fashionable at the time, and where one studied music, history and politics along with a little economics, sociology, and anthropology proved difficult to handle. She struggled with completing the weekly reading assignments of about 500 pages because she was a slow reader, in part because she had learned to read only after she was about age 11. The 45 moves and locations in sparsely or wholly unpopulated places provided little time and few resources to read and study. She struggled with the demanding workload at Reed but developed a clear knack for almost total recall of whatever she got read. She managed to keep up with her coursework, though struggling in the science classes somewhat. Along the way she discovered she had a remarkable talent for doing well on examinations (no doubt due to the fact that she did not scare easily). 

Kathryn was a very beautiful woman and was at the top of her class, and that got the attention of one Cliff Lloyd, whom she married at age 18. She had strong misgivings about her father having to pay the exorbitant tuition at Reed, so she and Cliff left Portland after her freshman year and relocated to Washington State College. There they had the good fortune of meeting the man who would ultimately become an eminent economist and editor of the American Economic Review, Robert W. Clower, who was there having returned from England, I believe. He was at Washington State to complete the work his recently deceased father had begun. Soon thereafter Clower got a position at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and he took Cliff and went off to do economics there.

Despite having two children by this time - Anamaria and Clifford - she found time and interest in what was the first African Studies seminar in the US, run by Melville Herskovits. Soon there came an opportunity for her to go to the Sudan, because her husband, despite being a mere 21-years old, was appointed to a Smith-Mundt professorship due to his support by Bob Clower. Mr. Clower was convinced that she would never recover from the complications of her second childbirth with her son Clifford unless she had significant household help which she could not afford in Chicago. They went off to the Sudan, where they spent a couple of years, and Kathryn read everything that was available in social anthropology about the Sudanese peoples, which would prove fortuitous. She came in contact with the external examiner from Oxford, Norman Leyland, Winston Churchill’s personal secretary during the War, who had come to the Sudan to examine the economics students, and was having a difficult time dealing with the abundant mosquitoes. Kathryn invited him to move from the hotel where he had been staying to where she and Cliff lived. As a result of the interactions in conversation while being rescued from mosquitoes, Leyland, Warden of Nuffield College, invited Cliff to Oxford to study economics. Kathryn met the faculty at Nuffield, and Margery Perham of the Institute of Social Anthropology insisted it would be a waste if she did not enroll in a program of studies.

Her knowledge and command of the studies that had been done on the Sudanese enabled her to readily demonstrate she was more than ready to do graduate work at Oxford. She was examined for admission and admitted to do a diploma in social anthropology, a graduate program which typically would be ranked somewhere above a Master’s. Two years later it was time for her to take her final exam. She said at the time she had no idea what the nature of exam was, and had she known that virtually everyone who took the exam failed she would not have taken the exam. However, she became one of the few who succeeded in passing the exam, earning her diploma in social anthropology after taking something on the order 2 days of 6 to 10 hours of exams with essentially one year of study at Reed College as a sixteen-year-old.

During their time at Oxford, they had their third child, Elisabeth (or “Lili” as she is known to most). Kathryn served as typist and editor for Cliff, who went on to become the first person to earn a Doctorate of Philosophy in economic theory at Nuffield, writing his thesis on general equilibrium theory. They were recruited to Purdue University where Kathryn would ultimately become a research associate in the Krannert School to work alongside Nobel laureate-to-be Vernon L Smith and Edward Overstreet, who was the first, and perhaps the only PhD in administrative science Purdue ever granted. After being there for several years and having another child, Ariana, Cliff took a job at State University of New York in Buffalo. Kathryn wanted to be independent of Cliff so she declined an appointment there and instead got a faculty position in sociology at Buffalo State College. Their marriage had apparently been unraveling at Purdue and it now unraveled completely so that by 1969, after 14 years of marriage, she and Cliff divorced.

Kathryn and Oscar: Activism, Travel and More

by Oscar T. Brookins 

Kathryn taught sociology at Buffalo State, but after being there for a couple of years she wanted to go back to England to pursue a doctoral degree and tried unsuccessfully to find funding. By that point in time, 1971, I, her future husband, Oscar Brookins, had fully entered her life, and I tried to help her find positions via The London Times newspaper and on a particular day in the Buffalo library she came over to my table and said, “There does not seem to be much of anything in anthropology or sociology but there seem to be a lot of jobs in economics, so why don't you apply?” I said I needed to finish my degree, but I’d think about it; anyway I did apply and got an appointment, offered to me by Max Steuer at the University of Ghana, so in January 1972 I went off to lecture in economics. Kathryn remained at Buffalo State and soon hit upon the idea of joining me by bringing a group of students to experience Africa first-hand. She would recruit students and I would develop the curriculum and work out the logistics of housing and instruction for the program.

We accomplished what I’m certain was the first time ever on that scale that any institution (let alone a lowly State College) would successfully pull off a study program in West Africa. We would be there nine weeks with 23 students in the summer of 1972. Kathryn got the college’s administration to grant academic credits and pay her a summer salary along with one for another faculty member, Karen Davidson. Together they managed to get the State College to grant students tuition so there we were the $900 programs—$100 a week inclusive of tuition In academic credit and round trip airfare because Kathryn connected with the Crossroads Africa group and they had a charter plane which was under-filled. It was flying into Accra, Ghana and then nine weeks later it was departing from Abidjan, Cȏte d’Ivoire.

Six months later Kathryn returned to Ghana and we married on March 10, 1973. She had begun to get a little bit active there on politically sensitive environmental issues related to the Tata Brewery’ plant at Achimota. In May, 1974 she gave birth to our first daughter, a healthy 9 pound 8 ounce Laura , and in so doing became the first non-black to give birth at the Kumoji Maternity Hospital in Osu Circle, Accra.

We stayed in Ghana as long as we could with the little money we had, because her first husband, though one of the highest paid faculty members in North America, was not paying child support. I had the limited funds I had accumulated in the couple of years of doing graduate studies. I was earning 3880 Ghanaian Cedis which officially was when the cedi was worth US $0.78, but the purchasing power was significantly less than that.

In 1974 I accepted a position at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana that had originally been offered to me by Dennis Dugan a few years earlier. We returned to the states and later moved to 620 W. LaSalle Ave. We made many lifelong friends, including our neighbors and Notre Dame colleagues Dennis Moran and Noreen Dean Moran and became engaged in historical restoration of homes and communities on the Near West Side, but Kathryn would eventually become particularly involved and interested in the public schools.

In 1976, at the urging of my Notre Dame colleague Kwan Kim and his wife Gloria Kim, we joined them in Tanzania, where Kwan and I taught at the University of Dar Es Salaam. Kathryn gave birth to our youngest child Julia, her sixth, in Nairobi, Kenya. She judged that the medical care there was more reliable at that time than what was available in Tanzania. We returned to South Bend in August, 1977.

I was approached by Clarence Abdul Nabaa, who was a black Muslim trying to operate a newspaper there in South Bend and needed money. I said I would give him a certain amount of money in exchange for authorizing a news columnist in the person of my wife. He agreed, so here was a black Muslim newspaper with a white, female columnist writing in its pages. That's how she got started in his journalistic activities which coalesced in 1992 with the launch of the Mission Hill News in Boston. 

She and I also worked on creating a historical district, however, in January 1980 it was announced that the South Bend public schools were going to be voluntarily desegregated. There was a very odd and unprecedented consent decree, because there was no pending lawsuit, so how do you get a consent decree? The U.S. Justice Department and the South Bend school system apparently had used this tactic to avoid having anyone intervene so they could proceed to agree on whatever plan they chose without really informing the public. I managed to get appointed to the school board, and then Kathryn, on behalf of our daughter Laura, sued claiming in part undue impact of the program, and she took it all the way up to the US Supreme Court, where the case was not heard.
Recent stories

Miss you in the first day of 2021

Shared by Xiaowei Huang on December 31, 2020
2020 has been a year of trials and tears, so many loved ones have been lost. Miss Kathyrn in the first day of 2021. I remembered clearly that day when we got ready to leave Boston in 2018. Kathyrn is super charming that day, with a long colorful skirt and red polished toenail. We had a long talk, and she told me, "Xiaowei, please remember life is so hard but it is so beautiful." 
Now, with the return of COVID-19, schools are going shut down again, we are going back to a isolated indoor life. Whenever I think of Kathyrn's words, it will encourage me a lot. To my understanding, Kathyrn's point is that life is beautiful and we should take relaxed attitude while we may have more still to endure. But better days will return. We will be with our friends. We will meet again.


Shared by Sharron Terrell on August 29, 2020
Some 39 years ago, while I was fumbling my way through my first semester as a University of Notre Dame PhD student, God blessed me by introducing me to Oscar and Kathryn Brookins.  I met Oscar first at a campus function.  Oscar and I spoke briefly and I gave him my telephone number.  Later that same day, I received a phone call from a woman who introduced herself as, “Kathryn Brookins.”  Kathryn explained that her husband had told her I was a first-year grad student in economics. We spoke for a short-time and then she invited me to join her at a local political event. I accepted the invitation, and so began Kathryn’s and my 39-year relationship.

When I think about Kathryn, I remember the early days in South Bend, Indiana,--the many times I found inspiration sitting at the dining table or on the front porch of her home talking with her, her Mother and Oscar, about local and world events.  I recall eating apple-pie with ice cream and listening to Kathryn’s polemics on various topics and, sometimes, stories about her life’s experiences.  I remember Kathryn was also an environmentalist (even then).  She loved composting and would proudly display her compost heap to all who would venture a peak.  I remember Kathryn as a person of strong conviction, impeccable character and sincere devotion and commitment to her family.  I recall the devastation I felt when I learned the Brookins family was relocating 900 or so miles away to the City of Boston.  I remember wondering how I was going to survive my last years in grad school without Kathryn (and Oscar’s) support. My anxiety was misplaced, Kathryn did not drop me simply because we no longer lived in the same city.  

For the next 37 years, we maintained the connection Kathryn initiated from that one phone call. We would speak by phone, always about substantive matters. When Lili moved to DC where I was living, too, Kathryn made certain to include me in their family gathering and encouraged Lili and I to get together.  When Oscar traveled to DC to work or for conferences, Kathryn made certain I was at the airport to meet him, drive him to his hotel and have at least one dinner with him. During times I traveled to Boston, I would visit them--Kathryn always made me feel welcome.  The last time we saw each other was at Laura's...

Last year, when Kathryn and I spoke, she didn’t remember me, but as usual, we had a  good conversation. As we were ending our call, I overheard Kathryn tell Oscar I was a “nice woman”…that was good enough for me.

I will always remember Kathryn and her generosity in unselfishly sharing herself and her family--she will remain in my heart forever! 

To Oscar, Lili, Ari, Laura and Julia, who I have known these many years, and to Clifford, AnnaMarie, the Grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I extend my heartfelt condolences.

Poem for Kathryn at 83

Shared by Elizabeth Doran on August 24, 2020

Written in October, 2019

She sleeps fully clothed.
One shoe on, one shoe off
the dog’s face on her thigh.
The bed is in the living room.

Three more dogs sleep
two on the couch
one in a dog bed.

The whir of a fan 
breaks the quiet of
the October afternoon.
The tall pine tree outside the window
being gently moved by the wind.

A clock ticking.