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Kathryn Juel BROOKINS

Kathryn Juel BROOKINS

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Kathryn Juel BROOKINS

BROOKINS - Kathryn Juel 83, founder and publisher of The Mission Hill News, died July 25, 2020, finding peace at the end of a struggle with Alzheimer's disease. 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. 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, including the Tecolote Tunnel in California. She graduated from Gresham 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 graduate from Boston Latin School and recognize 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. She created The Mission Hill News in Boston in 1992. Hers was a well-respected, controversial outlet, given its irreverent pitch on politics in Boston. It focused especially on events in the Mission Hill area where she lived and on Harvard University, whose outsized influence on city politics and local development were a frequent focus of her critiques. In addition to the revelations she regularly reported, she also prosecuted pro se a number of zoning lawsuits that altered Boston's zoning and development practices. Perhaps her singular legal accomplishment is related to higher education, for over the years she pursued the idea that Harvard's endowment was sufficiently large that it should not charge tuition, or certainly its financial aid should be much more generous. She took a case up to the U.S. Supreme Court and although the writ of certiorari was never granted, she and others were convinced her suit helped motivate Harvard later to eliminate the required family contribution for families with low incomes, making Harvard accessible to more lower-income families than before. 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 lived a full life and will be missed by many as the machinations of politicians may go unchecked by her challenges. She is survived by Oscar, her husband of 47 years; her six children, Anamaria Lloyd of Seattle, Clifford Lloyd (Sally) of Hamilton, Ontario, Elizabeth Fulton of Paris, France, Ariana Packard (Michael) of Providence, Laura Brookins (Önder Demir) of DC, and Julia Brookins (Paul Foster) of Austin; 12 grandchildren; and one great grandchild. Private services were held July 28, 2020 with Brothers of Hope serving. Donations on her behalf to the Addie Travis Brookins Endowed Council Scholarship at Jackson State University via this link: Further details at: https:// and The South Bend Tribune:

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