Virginia B. Brooks, 89, worked at SSA, active in church

November 10, 2005

Virginia B. Brooks, a retired Social Security Administration worker who was active in church and community affairs, died in her sleep Saturday at Brinton Woods Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sykesville. She was 89.

She was born Virginia Bertha Lewis on East 28th Street, and in 1917 moved to the Carroll Street rowhouse in Pigtown, where she would live for the remainder of her life.

Mrs. Brooks studied dressmaking and barbering at Carver Vocational Technical High School, from which she graduated in 1933. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, she worked at Swindell Brothers, a South Baltimore glass manufacturing company.

In 1943, she began her Social Security career as a file clerk at its headquarters, then in downtown Baltimore. In the early 1960s, she moved to the agency's new headquarters in Woodlawn and at her 1973 retirement was a section chief in the bureau of data processing and accounting.

She sang with the Social Security Administration Chorus and was an active member of the SSA alumni organization.

Mrs. Brooks was a communicant for many years of the old St. Monica Roman Catholic Church, and after it closed in 1959, she became a member of St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church, at Scott and Hamburg streets, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today.

Mrs. Brooks was a lector and Eucharistic minister at her church, and an active member of the church seniors club and Sodality of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. She had been a Sunday school teacher and principal and served on the parish council and planning committee.

Her community activism included memberships in Communities Organized to Improve Life, Southwest Senior Center and Tri-Parish Housing Inc. In her childhood, she learned to play piano from her mother, who was a piano, organ and violin teacher. She enjoyed playing the piano and organ and singing, family members said.

In 1941, she married Lorraine James Brooks, a longshoreman. He was killed in an accident at the Locust Point piers in 1952.

Surviving are a brother, Lawrence W. Lewis of Philadelphia; a sister, Ellamae M. Creek of Baltimore; three nieces; and six nephews.

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