Carol Johnson Brooks, age 76, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., passed away January 17, 2020, at DCH Regional Medical Center. Services were held Sunday, January 19, 2020, at Tuscaloosa Memorial Park with Reverend Kevin Thomas officiating.
Though her parents were the principal and school teachers at Sweet Water, Alabama, at the time, Carol Johnson Brooks was born in Montgomery, surrounded by loving members of her mother's large family who resided there. A few years later she and her family also moved there, where she grew up and attended Sidney Lanier High School.
Carol and her surviving husband of 51 years, Douglas Brooks, met at the University of Alabama and were quickly united by their common love of nature. There she became a botanist specializing in plant systematics, earned a Ph.D. degree under Dr. Joab Thomas with consultation from Prof. C. Earle Smith Jr. and others, and taught and worked in the Department of Biology Herbarium.
The fieldwork for her Ph.D. dissertation, A Revision of the Genus Forestiera (Oleaceae), was funded by a National Science Foundation grant, which made possible an important six-week collecting trip with her husband, in their Volkswagen Campmobile, over much of Mexico.
Carol enjoyed learning historical needlework and lace-making techniques. She also enjoyed mastering various art and craft techniques such as leaded stained glass work and pysanky egg painting and enjoyed growing orchids and other plants.
Later in life, she became more interested in the genealogy of her ancestors and was able to solve some stubborn mysteries with the guidance and help of her dear friend, cousin, and genealogical genius Mickey King of St. Louis. She was a strong advocate of Native American causes and the preservation of species and the planet, with a particular passion for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and their rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned elephants.
Published in Tuscaloosa News on January 22, 2020