Terry H. Brooks Sr., postal superintendent

December 25, 2012

Terry H. Brooks Sr., 97, a retired superintendent at the D.C. Central Post Office who served as an Army officer during World War II, died Dec.­ 2 at his home in Washington.

He had diabetes and heart disease, his daughter, Marsha Henderson, said.

During World War II, his daughter said, Mr. Brooks trained as a liaison pilot with the famed Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black flying unit. Later in the war, he was stationed in the Philippines and reached the rank of first lieutenant.

After the war, Mr. Brooks settled in Washington and became a postal clerk. He battled elements of Jim Crow in order to gain promotions. He retired in the late 1970s as superintendent of mailing requirements.

Terry Howard Brooks was born in Houston and was the first member of his family to complete high school or college. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Wilberforce University in Ohio in 1937 and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He later sent his children to prestigious universities.

Mr. Brooks was among the few African American Army ROTC officers in the 1930s and managed a federal Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Texas.

He was a 60-year member of Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ in the District, where he taught Sunday school and led a capital campaign to build a new sanctuary. He was also a Boy Scout leader, gardener, golfer and jazz fan.

His first wife, the former Evalyn Mike — who was known as “Mike” — died in 1967 after 26 years of marriage.

His second wife, Johnnie Upshaw, died in 2010 after 35 years of marriage.

Survivors include two children from his first marriage, Terry H. Brooks Jr. and Marsha Henderson, both of the District; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

— Matt Schudel