By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 31, 2009
Two brothers, Stone Weeks, 24, and Holt Weeks, 20, died July 23 in a multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 81 near Interstate 66 in Warren County, Va., as they were on their way back to their parents' home in Rockville from Rice University in Houston. The chain-reaction crash started when a tractor-trailer struck their car as they waited in a traffic jam.
Stone Weeks was an assistant and researcher for historian Douglas Brinkley and had worked with him on Brinkley's just-published "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America." He had planned to attend a party for the new book in Washington last Sunday.
"He was an angel of the future," Brinkley said Thursday. "He cared deeply about the downtrodden, the poor, the disinherited. . . . I had a feeling he was going to do great things. The red carpet had been unrolled and he was on his way."
Holt Weeks, who transferred this summer to Rice from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., was a research assistant to Christopher Bronk, a fellow in technology, society and public policy at Rice's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. It was to be his second summer working for Bronk. The younger Mr. Weeks, who would have been a college junior in the fall, had already done research that was used to create a graduate-level environmental technology course.
"Three things about him," Bronk said. "He was unflappable. I would . . . be the typical research adviser ogre, but he always came back and kept a very positive attitude. The second thing was his character -- he didn't take things at face value, he would really think things through. And then his personality. Everybody's smart at Rice, but there was this genuineness in what he did. He was able to strike up friendships very easily and had no problems befriending people older or younger."
The young men were inseparable friends, said their parents. Holt Weeks transferred to Rice in part to be near his brother, and together they shared a love of nature, played basketball and racquetball and volunteered on Sundays to serve food to the homeless.
Stone Taylor Weeks was born in Savannah, Ga., and grew up in North Bethesda. He graduated from St. Andrews Episcopal School in Potomac, where he played varsity tennis and basketball and, as a senior, was named captain and most valuable player of the basketball team.
He was a leader of community service projects such as a Muscular Dystrophy Association camp in Chicago and a Habitat for Humanity program in Tennessee. He was the news editor and the editorial editor of the school newspaper. At St. Columba's Episcopal Church in Washington, he was an acolyte and involved in the STEP program, which helps impoverished youth.
At the University of Delaware, Stone was a teaching assistant in the history department. He helped make a documentary on the My Lai massacre and spent two summers working at the Thompson O'Donnell law firm in Washington and another as an intern to the director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Delaware. He graduated in 2007 and went to work for Brinkley.
William Holt Weeks was born in Little Rock, Ark., and also grew up in North Bethesda. At Walter Johnson High School, he played basketball and then varsity tennis. As a senior, he was named the tennis team's most valuable player. He was a school representative to the Montgomery County Student Government Association Conference.
As a senior, he helped create a fundraising project, now a school tradition, that benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He also was an acolyte at St. Columba's, as well as being involved in charity building projects, including Rebuilding DC, Habitat for Humanity International and the St. Columba's Appalachia Project. He, too, was active in the STEP program.
Holt Weeks spent two years at Eckerd College, where he focused on history, studied in London for a semester and played varsity tennis. As a sophomore he was chosen by his teammates to receive the team's spirit award.
Most recently, the brothers reveled in their twinned futures, as Stone was working on the history of the American environmental movement and Holt was working on its future.
Survivors include their parents, Linton Weeks, a former staff writer at The Washington Post and now a national correspondent for National Public Radio's Digital News, and Jan Taylor Weeks, a Washington artist and teacher of art. Both live in Rockville. They are also survived by their grandmother, Mary Hunt Weeks of Franklin, Tenn.