The Passing of Crystal Brooks

To the Williams community,

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that a longtime member of our community, Crystal Brooks, passed away unexpectedly. She served for more than three decades at the college and was the director of prospect management and research in the Development Office at the time of her death.

Crystal built her career at Williams from the ground up. She joined the college in 1984, first doing temporary work in the mail room, the Conferences and External Events Office, and the Center for Environmental Studies. She also maintained alumni records and prepared course packets. The following year, she became a full-time research assistant with the Development Office. After serving for many years as a researcher, Crystal rose to the position of director for development research, a role she held from 1992 to 2012. In 2013 she was promoted to director of prospect management and research.

People who worked with Crystal remember her as a respected and experienced colleague who knew her discipline well. “Crystal will be missed by all of us here in OCR,” says Associate Vice President for Development Lew Fisher. “She brought a level of exacting discipline and expertise to her role that will be hard to replace.”

In 2015 Crystal was recognized for her 30 years of service to the college at the annual Appreciation Day. “She was always responsive to her colleagues’ needs and ready to help wherever she was needed,” says Kathy Therrien, director for the trust and estate administration. “She was a true friend to all who were lucky enough to be her friend. Her laughter filled any room she entered and gave all who witnessed it a joyful soul.”

A native of North Adams, Crystal attended Drury High School and worked at Sprague Electric and North Adams Regional Hospital in the summers during college. She attended MCLA (formerly North Adams State College) and Denison University, and graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in psychology.

“Crystal and I went to the same local high school and knew each other growing up,” says Mike Reopell, director of advancement information systems, who worked with Crystal for more than 30 years at the college. “When we met, we would often bend each other’s ear. I will miss that very much.”

Crystal enjoyed spending time with her family and friends. For many years she was a caregiver for her mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, she vacationed with her sisters and her aunts on a number of occasions, and enjoyed dining and conversations with friends.

Crystal was predeceased by her mother Dorothy Brooks in 2002. She had three sisters, Ruth, Glenda, and Marjorie, and a brother, Darryl.

Details about a memorial service are not available at this time. However, we wanted to share this news today as we mourn the sudden loss of a member of our community.

Our deepest condolences go out to Crystal’s family, colleagues, and many friends.


Maud S. Mandel
Professor of History; Program in Jewish Studies