Remembering Our Friend Brooke R. Whitted
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.
1946 - 2014
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.
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:
Online Memorials for Brooke
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.