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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 82, Number 1 (Nov. 1980)

Toomey, Jeanne
Our gang,   pp. 8-9


Page 8


Our
Gang
Earle and
Rhoda
Brooks
ver since the Brookses left Ecuador
      in 1964 after two years as Peace
      Corps volunteers, they anticipated
the day they would return to live and work
in Latin America.
   In the meantime, Earle (x'55)became a
vice-president of The Pillsbury Company,
and Rhoda (Smith '57)a special education
teacher. The couple, who lives in Excelsior,
Minn., are raising four children.
   "We didn't know how or when, but
through those years, we always said that
someday we would go back," said Rhoda.
   After sixteen years, their dream has
come true. The Brookses were appointed
co-directors of the Peace Corps in Chile,
and in early September they began super-
vising about 100 volunteers there.
   They view their role as supportive. "We
look forward to working as part of a team
with the Peace Corps staff and volunteers,"
said Earle. "Our jobs will have been done
well when we make the assignments of each
volunteer in Chile as satisfying as possible."
   Among the first group of Peace Corps
volunteers to serve in Ecuador, the
Brookses helped to establish a hot school-
lunch program; a community-wide garbage
collection system; self-help classes in
dietetics, child care, carpentry and me-
chanics; and other community develop-
ment projects in Manta, a fishing port on
the country's Pacific coast.
   Upon returning home to Minnesota,
they co-authored a book, The Barrios of
Manta, on their experiences in Ecuador,
which was published in hard cover in 1965
by the New American Library, and in soft
cover in 1967 by Signet Books. It was the
first story ever written by returned Peace
Corps volunteers. They also collaborated
on an article for National Geographic Mag-
azine which appeared in the September,
1964 issue.
   In 1965, Earle joined the Dayton Hud-
son Corporation in Minneapolis as an as-
sistant to the vice-president of merchandis-
ing and became assistant personnel director
the next year. He was vice-president in
charge of public affairs and government re-
lations of The Pillsbury Company for ten
years starting in 1968. During the past two
years, he has been a private consultant in
public affairs and government relations for
business and non-profit groups in Minne-
sota and Washington, D.C.
   For the past five years, Rhoda has been
a teacher and coordinator of the Title I re-
medial math and reading program for the
Minnetonka Public School System. From
1970 until 1973, she was a coordinator and
teacher of the district's Special Learning
Disabilities Program. Previously, she was a
supplemental education instructor in Min-
netonka for two years.
   In 1967, the couple founded "Timber-
top," a non-profit summer camp near
Stevens Point for children with special
learning disabilities, one of the first organi-
zations of its kind in the country. They
closed the residential facility in 1976, after it
became a model for school districts in Wis-
consin and Minnesota which started similar
programs of their own.
   An elementary education graduate of
the University, Rhoda received a master's
degree in educational psychology and spe-
cial education from the University of Min-
nesota in 1973. Her husband majored in
geo-physics and engineering here from
1951 to 1955.
   When the Brookses headed for Chile,
they were accompanied by their four
children: a 16-year-old son, Ned; Ricardo,
20, and Carmen, 19, whom they adopted in
Ecuador; and Josie, 13, an adopted bi-
racial daughter. The couple also has two
married foster sons; Joe, 25, from Liberia,
and Phiem, 27, from Vietnam, who live in
Minneapolis.
   Rhoda is the daughter of Rev. and Mrs.
Fred M. Smith of Madison.         0
8 / THE WISCONSIN ALUMNUS


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