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Brooke Howe Laws

Obituary for Brooke Howe Laws

March 11, 1971 - August 17, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 47


Brooke Howe Laws, wife, mom, daughter, sibling, aunt and educator, passed away peacefully at home the morning of August 17, 2018 at age 47, after a courageous battle with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. Our "Brookie" as she was lovingly called by her family, "Tia," as she was called by her nieces and nephew, was a radiant, compassionate woman, leaving behind an immortal legacy that will be etched into the hearts and minds of all who knew her.

Brooke's story began in Boston, MA on March 11, 1971, the middle child to Jill and John Howe. Her early years spanned from Honolulu, HI to Holden, MA to San Antonio, TX. She had a joyful childhood, singing to her parakeet Libby Love, exploring the coastlines of Nantucket Island, reading voraciously (a love of literature passed down from her father), building lifelong friendships as both camper and counselor at Wyonegonic Camp in Maine, and joining forces with her older sister, Lindsey, to give her younger brother, Prentice, the occasional unauthorized haircut. Her mother often referred to Brookie as the "family weathervane," instinctively tuned into the emotions of those around her and always the first to lend a compassionate ear or offer up some gentle wisdom.

Brooke graduated from St. Mary's Hall in San Antonio in 1989. She went on to graduate from Baylor University, with degrees in Spanish and History, in 1993. She proudly received her Master's Degree in Spanish from Middlebury College in 1998.

She was a beloved Spanish teacher and gifted administrator during a career that spanned 24 years and two cities (San Antonio and Austin) and two countries (Spain and the U.S.). As Dean of the St. Stephen's Episcopal Middle School, she was widely recognized for creating what is now the unofficial motto of the School: "Work Hard + Be Kind." For Magnus Maccow, the Head of the Middle School: "The simplicity and power of these words sum up the genius of Brooke, because this is the way she went about her life."

She began her teaching career at St. Mary's Hall in San Antonio in 1994. She was recruited to the St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin in 1998, where she taught Spanish for 20 years. During her career, she received many honors, including the Middle School Teacher of the Year award.

Her passion as an educator is captured in her own words: "Building rapport with individual students is the key to being able to nurture and guide the student body effectively. I value the potential and dignity of each of our students."

While the classroom was her first love, she was singled out for her administrative abilities as well. She was invited to be the Upper School Dean of Students (2001-2005) and, more recently, its Middle School Dean of Students from 2011-2018.

In the words of Chris Gunnin, the Head of School, "At the very heart of every great independent school is the promise that each child will be known and loved individually, and in my twenty-year career at three great schools, I have never met anyone who demonstrates that unique commitment to each student better than Brooke."

Brooke's husband and two daughters were her heart and joy. Her love of practical jokes set the tone for a household filled with laughter. Of course, her passion for language and travel did, too. She leaves behind two strong young women that, thanks to their mother, will grow up to become bilingual world citizens and fearless adventurers. Never straying too far from home will be the family's Golden Retriever, Maddy, who adoringly spent the final weeks of Brooke's life by her side.

Loved ones that will miss Brooke until they meet again are her husband Daniel Laws and two daughters, Carter (12) and Emory (7) of Austin; her mother Jill O. Howe of San Antonio; her father John P. Howe III, M.D. and stepmother Tyrrell E. Flawn of Washington, D.C.; her sister Lindsey Howe Parham and brother-in-law Robert Parham of Austin; her brother John Prentice Howe IV and sister-in-law Natalie Howe of Austin; brother-in-law Edward Gaynor Laws III and sister-in-law Bobbie Laws of Houston; step-brother John Graham Hill, step-sister-in-law Maria Hill, son Jackson Hill (9) and daughter Cecelia Hill (7) of Santa Monica, CA; her step-brother Peter C. Hill, step-sister-in-law Kelly Hill and son Peter Ryan Hill (5) of Irvine, CA. Carrying on Brooke's legacy of laughter and love for decades to come are nephew Bo Parham (15) and nieces Bradley Parham (13), Cameron Howe (10) and Mars Howe (8).

Dan and the family express eternal gratitude for the care, love and support provided by the St. Stephen's Episcopal School community, Team Brooke, Hospice Austin, Dr. Mateo Ziu, Dr. John de Groot, Dr. Caroline Chung, Dr. Mark Gilbert and the neuro-oncology teams at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and the NIH.

A Memorial Service will be held at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin, TX 78703 at 10:30 A.M. on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

A special endowment will be established in Brooke's honor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Stephen's Endowment in memory of Brooke Howe Laws to St. Stephen's Episcopal School, 6500 St. Stephen's Drive, Austin, TX 78746.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Stephen's Endowment in memory of Brooke Howe Laws to St. Stephen's Episcopal School, 6500 St. Stephen's Drive, Austin, TX 78746.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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