site image


Maria Z. Brooks

January 11, 1933 ~ May 29, 2018 (age 85)

Maria Z. Brooks, 85, of Phoenicia passed away Tuesday, May 29, 2018, at the Northern Dutchess Hospital due to complications from a prolonged heart condition. Her final days were calm and restful and she passed away peacefully in her sleep with family by her side.

Maria was born Jan. 11, 1933 in Warsaw Poland, daughter of the late Karol and Irena Jablkowska Zagorski. Her childhood was marked by the incredible ordeal of surviving in Warsaw during World War II and many years of her early education were done at home by her grandmother while schools were shut down. Upon returning to school once some normalcy returned after the War stopped both Maria and her brother excelled rapidly in their studies and respective fields. Maria went on to study linguistics and received a Master's degree in English from the University of Warsaw. During this time she was invited by the Ford Foundation on scholarship to study in the United States, where she earned three more degrees: M.A. in Linguistics, University of Michigan, M.A. in Russian, University of Pennsylvania, and finally a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. At this time she was also accepted as an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania and advanced in due time to full professorship. She is the author of a research book titled the "Polish Reference Grammar".

In her spare time Maria was an adventurous traveler, exploring the far corners of the globe, sometimes together with a friend or family member, sometimes fearlessly alone. She studied various religions, incorporating this interest with her travels, and had a tremendous love for animals. She wouldn't hesitate to pull the car off the road on a scorching hot day to give water to an Ostrich in the desert in the Middle East or a turtle by the roadside in Turkey. In her personal research she wrote about animal symbolism in religion and reincarnation. She made regular donations to many area charities.

Maria engendered a sense of love and respect among those who got to know her closely. In retirement more than ever she truly lived by her own rules.

Maria is survived by her brother Stanislaw Zagorski and son James S. Brooks. She was predeceased by her son Christopher C. Brooks.

Friends will be received on Saturday from 4pm to 6pm at the E. B. Gormley Funeral Home 87 Main St. Phoenicia. Burial at the Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd,PA. on Friday June 8 at 11am. You may share a condolence on Maria's Memorial Page at www.gormleyfuneralhome.com.

  • Visitation

    Saturday, June 02
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM


    E. B. Gormley Funeral Home

    87 Main Street
    Phoenicia, NY


© 2019 E. B. Gormley Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS