Brooke R. Whitted Memorial


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We are terribly saddened to report that our friend and colleague, Brooke Whitted, passed away Sunday, July 27, 2014.

Brooke started his life’s journey of making thousands of lives better at an early age, after graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1968 with a psychology degree and working as a probation officer for the Juvenile Court of Cook County in 1969. During his years as a probation officer between 1969 and 1980, Brooke received additional training on family and group therapies from the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Juvenile Research, and also held a part-time position as an adolescent group therapy leader at a local mental health clinic.

After the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) was first enacted in 1977, Brooke realized a greater potential by graduating from John Marshall Law School in 1978 and becoming an attorney specializing in special education law, child welfare, and mental health laws.  Brooke practiced as a managing partner of his own firm beginning in 1980, and throughout the next 34 years, he spent his life using his creative mind and positive energy to help parents, professionals and institutions enrich the lives of their children, patients and students.

Brooke’s passion for developing and implementing child-focused educational practices continued on within his service as a Board member, and later Board President, for the Leslie Shankman School Corporation (“LSSC”), a not-for-profit organization which operates the Hyde Park Day School (a special education day school specializing in gifted, learning disabled students) and the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School (a special education residential facility dedicated to serving children with emotional disabilities).

Brooke also shared his expertise over the years by serving as board member for numerous other education and mental health boards, including the National Runaway Switchboard, the Marx Memorial Fund, the Community and Residential Services Authority, National-Louis University, the ISBE Bullying and Prevention of Sexual Abuse Task Forces, Glenview/Northbrook Youth Services, Heartspring, Glenkirk, Shelter, Inc., and the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation.   He also taught special education and mental health law classes for a variety of Illinois universities, including the University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University, and the University of Chicago.

Brooke was one of the most caring individuals we have known – he dedicated his life and service to those around him. He saved children’s lives by getting them the services they needed and helped school districts develop and implement child-focused educational practices. Brooke helped plan and create schools that have helped multitudes, and that will continue to help children and their families far into the future.

His legacy is immense. He was a wonderful, warm and powerful force, who helped families in some of their darkest times.

He will be deeply missed.

Online Memorials for Brooke

Chicago Tribune (article)

Chicago Tribune (obituary)

Soaring Eagle Academy

Harold and Rosemarie Marx Fund

Illinois State Bar Association

Evanston High School Class of 1964







“Heartbreaking news. Brooke was my dear colleague, friend, and mentor. A man with incomparable expertise and integrity – the world lost a true champion for children.” –  Dr. Shana E.

 “An incredible person who dedicated his life advocating for children & one of the finest people I’ve ever met. I’m deeply saddened to hear of his passing.” – Michelle W.

 “Brooke was a gentleman, a champion, and a fierce advocate. My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. Brooke touched my son’s life in a way he is too young to understand.” – Cindy D.

“I am so very saddened by this news. If it wasn’t for Brooke taking a chance on us and putting us with you, I am certain we would have had a completely different outcome with Jordan’s case… As I have always said, he and you, well all of you over there, are truly angels. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. I am so very sorry. So, very, very sorry.” – Molly O.

“…I am shocked and saddened to hear this news. We will always be so grateful to you and Brooke for all that you did to help our daughter Fiona C. get the services that she needs. We couldn’t have done it without you both. My husband Gavin and I were stressed during the whole ordeal we went through with the school district. Brooke was so professional while still being friendly. He put us at ease during a hard time. We’ll never forget him leaning over to my husband (during the big meeting with the school team, principal and lawyers for the district), after they went on and on with their data about why our daughter supposedly didn’t need assistance, and he said “I’m bored!” He was so wonderful to work with and we knew that he really cared…”  – Bridget and Gavin C.

“…This is so sad to hear, and we offer our sincere sympathy to all. Brooke was a wonderful human being, and so passionate about his work. He helped our daughter, Sydney get the education to which she was entitled… Truly a remarkable man. We were so very stunned and deeply saddened by this shocking news[.] Our paths crossed at a troubling and difficult time on our lives and Brooke was a calming voice of reason, reassurance and knowledgeable advice. He made a difference in our lives and the life of our daughter. I cannot imagine the loss being felt by his wife, family , friend and colleagues. We are so very sorry to hear this.” – Jamie and Eddie C.

“I’m sure you’ll be hearing from many people like me, but I am so deeply saddened to learn of Brooke’s passing. As my son with Asperger’s will be packing his bags in two weeks to start at Emerson College in Boston with an academic scholarship, I know it is only because of the able counsel and work of Brooke and his colleagues that the opportunity to attend Emerson exists for my son. After years of being put through a wringer… Brooke took on our matter. We got our son the IEP he should have had years earlier and that was the key to his high school success. The doors that Brooke helped to open up for our son were immense and life-changing. We are, and will always remain, truly grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Brooke, and more importantly, come to know him as a person.”  – Peggy and Randy T.

“Annette and I were deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Brooke Whitted, of blessed memory. He was a kind, compassionate, and caring advocate with a deep passion for what he did.” – Thomas M.

“A measure of the deep respect that he had from his colleagues is that we were referred to him by the counsel for a school district in which a close friend is the director of special education (Steven[s]on High School). Although we interviewed several attorneys, Brooke was the only one who insisted on meeting our son, the subject of our dispute with his school district, before allowing us to hire him. Brooke freely gave of his time before he even knew whether we would hire him: spending two and a half hours with us on a Sunday morning at our initial consultation. While we ultimately paid for the time, it is only because we hired him; he had no way of knowing when he met with us that he would win our confidence. It is easy to understand why Brooke was so successful: he was passionate about his work and he was passionate about his young clients. After only a short while he “got” our son, even as the trained professionals, our son’s teachers, who were supposed to understand our son’s needs, failed miserably. He understood what he needed and he understood what we were up against. As an attorney, myself, it was suggested by some that I could handle my own son’s case. But, education law is not my field and I know enough to know not to dabble in areas in which I have no experience. Brooke made it look easy, but that is only because he was so good at what he did. Brooke’s passing is not only a loss to his family and his firm, but to the entire community of children with special needs. There may be other competent and capable attorneys in this field, but Brooke had a special mix of skill, passion, and appreciation for the potential of his young clients that was rare…” – Avi and Annette S.

“Brooke was at the Juvenile Court when I worked there. After he left to pursue law, he stayed in touch with his friends and colleagues at the Court. He worked on behalf of children in need of special education and demonstrated a respect and a faith in probation officers to do the right thing no matter who he represented. Brooke will be remembered and missed by many including myself. My sincere condolences to the Whitted family.” –  Peggy B.

“I am terribly saddened to hear of Brooke’s sudden passing. I will always cherish the years I was blessed to work with Brooke. While he was the cooperative attorney, I considered Brooke much more. He was a wonderful mentor, instructor and partner in the area of students with special needs and their families. I learned so much from him and considered him a friend. I can only imagine the loss you and his family must be experiencing at this time…” –  Gina E.

“My heartfelt condolences to the entire staff at that firm. Brooke has been a tremendous friends to Heartspring, and had been a board member in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when we were still known as the Institute of Logopedics. He has helped hundreds [of] families receive the services their children needed. I was shocked by the news and am grief stricken. God bless you all in this time of great sorrow.” – Paul F.

“Our deepest heart-felt condolences to Brooke’s family and friends. He was a pillar of support during a very dark time in our lives and he gave us hope when we were literally at our wits end. [H]e was a man of great strength and compassion and he is undoubtedly being richly rewarded.”  –  Sally and Jim T.

“In my 34 years of working as a TV journalist I’ve only invited a handful of people [I]’ve interviewed to my home. Brooke was one of them. I was impressed and touched by [B]rooke’s sincere desire to help children and [I] just wanted to be in his presence. I will miss him.” –  Dorothy T.

“Brooke was an activist, helping others especially students with special needs. He helped me professionally when I… began [a school in Kansas City]… serving students with learning disabilities. Brooke flew to [K]ansas [C]ity, at his expense, to talk with our newly formed board of directors and got the school off to a great start. Brooke’s unselfish acts, to help others and especially the special needs population, will long be remembered. He was an inspiration to all of us and his presence will be greatly missed.” –  Sharyl K.

“We have truly lost a fighter for the rights of our youth. Brooke and I met in the middle of a battle to remove a horrible judge from the bench. [H]e was relentless in his pursuit of justice and Justice was served. I will sorely miss His sense of humor, his friendship and his ability to build connections between people. Descanse en paz Compa[ñ]ero.” – Carlos R.

“We were very sorry to learn that your founding partner is no longer with us. Brooke’s death will leave a void in the education law community in northern Illinois. He was a passionate advocate for children and their families, and there aren’t enough of those around. We will miss him, and send you sympathies as you carry on the work which meant so much to him.” –  Heidi K.

“I am so sorry about the loss of Brooke. In the short time I knew him, Brooke was far more than our school attorney; he became a confidant and mentor, and friend. Thinking of you all during this difficult time.” – Tim C.

“We cannot express our shock at the news of Brooke’s passing. He was always there for us…so willing to listen, problem solve and give us his all no matter what else he had going on in the rest of his day. We know he was that same person for everyone. He will be greatly missed by many. Please know we are keeping all of you & his family in our thoughts and prayers.” –  Four Rivers Special Education District Staff

 In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to:

The HIGASHI HONGANJI Buddhist temple

505 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013


The Leslie Shankman School Corporation

6254 S. Ellis Avenue; Chicago, Illinois 60637

A Brooke Whitted Memorial Fund donation button is on both home pages below

http://hydeparkday.org  Or   www.oschool.org