Remembering Don Brooks

Donald A. Brooks
Don Brooks
July 16, 1941 – February 21, 2021

Donald A. Brooks grew up in Wenham, MA with his two sisters. He attended Beverly High School, and then attended Lowell Technical Institute (now UMass Lowell), graduating with a degree in Nuclear Engineering and a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

Donald A. Brooks USAF

Don spent his first two years (1962-64) at Wright-Patterson Air Force base where he attended the Air Force Institute of Technology earning his MS in Nuclear Engineering. His next tour of duty was at Kirkland Air Force base in Albuquerque, NM where he worked as a Nuclear Research Officer from 1964-66. His last tour of duty was in Washington DC as a technical project officer and program manager for the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC). Don resigned his commission as a captain to begin his career at McCrone Associates (MA) on September 1, 1968.

Don started at MA as a senior research physicist with the expectation of operating one of the electron microscopes and continuing his career as an analyst. However, a year later, Dr. Walter McCrone promoted him to vice president and thus began his career in management. A year after that, Don was named executive vice president. Don became president and CEO on December 1, 1975, and continued to successfully lead the company.

Donald A. Brooks, McCrone Associates

In early 1986, when Dr. McCrone had a penchant to teach full time and move away from day-to-day analytical work, Don purchased The McCrone Group: McCrone Associates (MA), McCrone Microscopes & Accessories (MMA), and McCrone Environmental Services, which closed in 1996.

In January 1987, Don moved the companies to the newly-built, one-story building which now houses MA.

Don founded Hooke College of Applied Sciences (formerly the College of Microscopy) in 2004, and in 2005, broke ground to expand the Westmont building to house classrooms and MMA’s sales facilities.

Today, celebrating 65 years in business, The McCrone Group combines the talents and skills of its staff in the areas of materials analysis, instrument sales, and education. The McCrone Group is internationally regarded as “The Premier Microscopy Resource” and recognized as a world leader in microscopy, microanalysis, materials characterization, and the solving of tough materials problems.

Don was instrumental in the development of the communities he has lived in by being a volunteer, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and philanthropist. When he was not dedicating his time and efforts to his employees at McCrone or his family, he could be found scuba diving across the world, tearing up the roads on his motorcycle, or buying the next coolest techie gadget.

The McCrone Group team profoundly misses Don’s daily presence.

Don Brooks with First Edition of Micrographia in the Brooks Collection
Don’s Brooks Collection Museum, with his first edition of Robert Hooke’s Micrographia.


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