Mae E. Brooke

Honored by:Daughters: Dorothea Barber, Jean Parson, Diane Plowman, Kay Wright
Brick location:PAVER:7  map

Born November 3, 1916 in Packwood, Iowa

Including our mother in the Plaza of Heroines, we know she would smile and gently say "You girls! I’m not a heroine." But she was--she always was. Born four years before women could vote in the United States and born several months after the death of her father, she built her own strength from the fact that there was no one else to do it.

We remember a thousand ways that Mother taught us, her four daughters, the importance of learning. Issues were debated in our home; poetry was read; algebra mastered; music practiced. Mother taught us through her own actions that all people are of equal worth and dignity. By herself she encouraged, applauded, and inspired each of us to complete our college degrees. Only then did she return to college herself, concerned that she might not be able to do what she had helped each of us to do.

In 1966 she graduated with academic honors from Northeast Missouri State University, receiving her degree with one of her daughters, Dorothea. During the next years, Mother taught literature at Albia High School. Many of her students remained life-long friends because she did more then teach them, she believed in them. A former student, Reverend Richard Grimes, officiated at her funeral in 1994. He spoke with love of this gentle woman who could quiet a class of high school students with just a look.

Mother’s service to her community included years as a regional library board trustee, a member of the Methodist Church, and a member of PEO. Her devotion, however, was not limited to human beings. Her home was always a refuge. Birds gathered at the feeders; rabbits and squirrels and deer sensed that there was nothing to fear. She scolded them and fed them and laughed at their antics. Mother searched for answers but accepted uncertainty with grace. She loved without needing to measure what was returned of that love. Each New Year’s Day she would say, "I have a feeling that this is going to be a great year for all of us!" She was the light for our darkest nights. "How far that little candle throws his beams!"

Daughters: Dorothea Barber, Jean Parson, Diane Plowman, Kay Wright


Paver Inscription:

"Mae E. Brooke
"How Far That
Little Candle
Throws His