Julia Brooks, who died at the age of 84, on Monday, September 26, 2022, was born on Dec.18, 1937 of German ancestry in Temeschburg (currently Timisoara,) Romania, the daughter of Julius and Elisabeth (Schneider) Theisz. She came to the United States as an eleven-year-old in 1949 and quickly adapted to and appreciated her new home.
She married Richard D. Brooks, a former high school friend (and future Bell Telephone Labs Research and Development engineer), during the middle of her college years, and after having two children, went to Cedar Crest College as a Portal student to complete her degree, summa cum laude, in mathematics.
While her children were still young, she taught mathematics and chemistry part-time at the Swain School, Allentown (1971–1975), and one year full-time in the mathematics department at Emmaus High School (1975–1976). She joined Air Products and Chemicals in 1976 as a computer programmer, advancing to Senior Systems Analyst and Supervisor of Administrative Accounting Services, until retiring in 1997.
Beginning in her twenties, she was active as a community volunteer, serving as a member of the East Penn Year-Round School Study Committee (1968). She subsequently became President of the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley (1970–1971), Chairman of the Board of Trustees of that church (1973–1975), President of the East Penn Band Parents (1977–1978). Trustee and President of the Board of Trustees of the Allentown YWCA (1987–1991), Chairman of the YWCA Executive Search Committee (1989), member of the Board of Directors of the now defunct Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra for more than 20 years, serving as the initial Vice President of Development (1983–1988).
Julia founded the Friends of the Emmaus Public Library, serving as president (1998–2002; and again 2012–2013) Within that time span, the Friends of the Library raised more than half a million dollars to benefit the library.
She was also a volunteer broadcaster and recorder for RADPRIN, the now defunct radio station for the visually impaired (1997– 2009,) and as President of the Lehigh Valley Duplicate Bridge association (2007–2009), instituting new programs that helped increase membership.
After the death of her husband Richard in 2016, she met one of his Bell Laboratory colleagues, Dr. Ken Haruta again and they were married at the end of 2019.
She and her husbands enjoyed traveling, sailing, reading, hiking, and playing bridge. She attained the rank of Silver Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League. She also wrote her autobiography, Uncertain Survival, about her early life in Europe.
She is survived by her husband Ken Haruta, daughter Linda Beck and her husband Jeff, son Scott Brooks and his wife Bonna, and two grandchildren, Ann and David Brooks, as well as sisters Elizabeth Tatham of Greensboro, NC, and Linda Queller of Montvale, NJ, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2 P.M. on Saturday, October 29, 2022 at the Cantelmi Long Funeral Home,, 500 Linden Street Bethlehem, PA 18018. A memory tribute may be placed at www.cantelmifuneralhome.com.
Donations in her memory may be made to The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, 1633 Elm Street, Allentown, PA 18102.