John Trimble Brook

June 14, 1938 - April 16, 2021

John Trimble Brook, age 82, of Newark, DE, died on Friday, April 16, 2021, from cancer. He was born on June 14, 1938, in Parkersburg, WV, across the Ohio River from his hometown of Belpre, OH, to the late Lee Scott and Irma Breetz Brook. John was the oldest of three brothers and he remained close to his brothers, Richard and David, and their families, throughout his life.

John attended Belpre High School, where he played football and basketball for the Golden Eagles. And because he was the only band member strong enough to carry it, he played the double-bell euphonium with the Belpre High band!

John graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, with a degree in history. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and Pi Gamma Mu honor society, and was on the track and field team. At Allegheny, John met his best friend and the love of his life, Katherine “Kay” Ellis. After his graduation, John and Kay were married and the couple moved to Columbus, OH, where he earned his juris doctor degree from Ohio State University. John was a member of the Ohio Bar, and was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.

John was recruited by the FBI after earning his law degree. For the next seven years, he served as an FBI special agent, investigating bank robberies, kidnappings, and other crimes. In one of his more challenging assignments, he served as the case manager for a spy from the former Soviet Union. John’s FBI assignments took him from Springfield, IL, to Rock Island, IL, Baltimore, MD and Wilmington. At every stop, John and Kay made lifelong friends with his fellow agents and their families. 

When an opportunity opened for a Director of Public Safety at the University of Delaware in 1970, John took the job. It was a time of student protests and turmoil. He was hired to provide a steady hand while building a professional security department capable of sensitively handling law enforcement issues on campus. Over the course of the next several years, John modernized the security department into a professional police force, introduced the campus bus system, installed student safety measures and built the parking garage on Main Street.

His work led to increasing responsibilities. John was named assistant to the president for special projects, then vice president of personnel and employee relations, before being named vice president of government and public relations. He became a fixture advocating for university funding in the legislative halls of Dover and Washington, D.C., until retiring in 1997, following a 27-year university career.

John’s retirement enabled him to do what he loved best: spend time with his family. He was the patriarch, whose natural charm, good nature, ability to sense what really matters, and deep love for Kay, his three children and six grandchildren, made him the true rock of the family. He was always there to help or give advice.

John was a truly wonderful grandparent. He was the kind of grandpa who took his grandchildren on month-long camping trips; who responded to knock-knock jokes with a deep, booming laugh; who volunteered to babysit at every opportunity; who always had a candy bar in his glove compartment; who everyone wanted to sit next to during Sunday family dinner; who hinted at forbidden limericks; and who loved unconditionally.

John seemed to know everyone in Delaware, and he served his adopted state well. For two years, he served as chairman of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. After retiring from the University of Delaware, John served as executive director of the Small Business Alliance of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Historic Review Board of New Castle County, the corporate Board of Directors and Management Committee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware, the Committee of 100 and the board of the Diabetes Association. John was also a long-time member of the Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church, where he sang in the choir and served as an elder. He also served as president of the Head of Christiana Church Cemetery board.

John never forgot his roots, especially his time at Allegheny. He was awarded a Blue Citation from the Allegheny College Alumni Association for his volunteer work and fundraising efforts. John served as an Allegheny Ambassador, and he and Kay were longtime members of Allegheny’s Timothy Alden Council and the William Bentley Legacy Society.

John and Kay traveled extensively, and he was never happier than when camping in the Rocky Mountains. John remained an avid follower of the University of Delaware football and basketball teams.

John is survived by his wife of 60 years, Katherine E. Brook; three children who were precious to him, Laura B. Tipton (Daniel) of Landenberg, PA; Susan Stauffer Brook and William Scott Brook (Lori), both of Newark; a source of constant joy to him were his six grandchildren, John Daniel Tipton, Sarah Brook Tipton, Michael Scott Tipton, Matthew Thomas Tipton, Megan Nicole Brook and Cara Rylee Brook. He is also survived by his brothers, Richard (Sonja) of Huntley, IL and David (Mary Ashley) of Raleigh, NC; two nieces; and two nephews.

A visitation will be held from 9 am until 10 am on Saturday, June 5, 2021, at Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church, 1100 West Church Road, Newark, DE, followed by a memorial service at 10 am. Interment will follow in Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Face masks will be required for all in attendance.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in John’s name may be made to Allegheny College, 520 North Main Street, Meadville, PA 16335, or the Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church, 1100 West Church Road, Newark, DE 19702.


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12 Condolences for John Trimble Brook

  • Will, I hope all those beautiful memories will bring you & your family some comfort at this difficult time.
    My heartfelt condolences, Kathy Politakis

  • My deepest condolences to your family on this loss. He is renewed now, healthy and I’m sure very happy. Those he left behind will miss him dearly. Mr. Brook, thank you for the rides in the back of your truck when I was a kid, the huge leaf piles you made and allowed us to jump in, messing up your hard work. Thank you for that cool shed you built in the back yard many years ago that us kids could use as a hideout. I can credit you for introducing me to HBO and MTV because we didn’t have those “modern” cable boxes in my house way back then. Thank you for raising a wonderful family, being a generous neighbor and a warm demeanor with a commanding voice. Rest In Peace Mr. Brook. Sincerely – Whit Partridge

  • My condolences to Kay and the rest of the Brook family. As you all know, John was very special. I had the opportunity to work with John many times during his tenure at UD. His administrative ability, sense of humor, his caring, were all evident in his efforts to make UD a better place. It was just a joy to drop by his office and chat about life in general and the University in particular. I also love joking with him about his “slow” workouts in the UD gym. Of all the people I met at UD John was one of my favorites. As I said, he was special!

  • What a wonderful man! I was able to be his friend since 1994. He was a gentleman and a scholar. He loved the Lord and was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I will always remember his beautiful voice. I know he is singing in a heavenly choir now. I will miss him. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • I was saddened to read of John’s passing in today’s News-Journal. He was a respected colleague at the University of Delaware, who provided strong, positive support and leadership. His strong faith coupled with a warm sense of humor made him a delightful person with whom to work. My sincere sympathy to Kay and the family as they face the difficult days ahead.

  • Dear Kaye, Laura, Susan, and Will

    Please accept sincere condolences from my wife, Margaret, and me at John’s passing. When I arrived at UD in 1985, I was asked to join the administration team in faculty bargaining. John was the leader of our team and he generously took this newbie under his wing and taught me the range of UD politics. He was a great friend, a wonderful poker buddy, and one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. I’ll miss that booming laugh and his sharp sense of humor. He’s in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Dear Brooks Family,
    I am saddened to hear of your loss. I have had the honor of serving with Mr. Brooks on the New Castle County Historic Review Board for the past several years. He was an esteemed colleague, and I will miss his words of wisdom, guidance, and virtue. With heartfelt condolences, Barbara Silber

  • Our very best wishes to Kay and John’s family.He was a friend at Allegheny and remained so for all these years, especially at college reunions where he and Kay were stalwart attendees. He was an incredibly kind and good natured man. We will miss him at future Allegheny reunions.

  • Dick and I knew John in so many ways: at the University of Delaware, as a neighbor and friend, and as members of our church. At all times in all ways he gave good advise, humor, and sincere caring.. Our sympathy and prayers go out to Kay and family,

  • I knew John through our sons as fellow Boy Scout fathers. If I remember correctly, one winter we both accompanied the troop on an overnight ski trip to Camp AKela (?) in the Poconos. While standing outside in the cold wee hours, we commiserated together, and shared a short conversation about the wonders of central heating and modern sanitation. I also had an occasional contact with John as a UD faculty member. He was always cordial and friendly with no pretenses commensurate with his significant University responsibilities. I will miss this pleasant down to earth person, and express my sincere condolances to his wonderful family. — Rick Agnello

  • Condolences to the Brook family. Unfortunately I’ll be out of town and will miss John’s service. I spent many hours with John in Legislative Hall during the years he represented UD in Dover. Over the last few years I got to talk with him at UD basketball games. John’s honesty, intelligence, straight forward approach, and most importantly his sense of humor made him one of the most liked and respected lobbyists. Bottom line John was a good and decent man. He will be missed all those who were fortunate enough to know him.

  • Kay. So sorry to read about John’s passing. Paula and I have many great memories about all our times together in Dover and the many football games we attended together. Our prayers are with you and your family.