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In memoriam

John Henry Brookes spoke of his desire to educate students for "lives of consequence." We are proud of the contributions made by members of the Brookes community, whose presence made the world a better place. We celebrate their lives below.

If there is someone that you would like to see commemorated here, whether former student, member of staff or friend of the institution, please contact us at

  • Flower bouquet

    Dorothy Evans

    Former lecturer in Mathematics at the Lady Spencer-Churchill College passed away 2016.

    • Flower bouquet

      Betty Barnard

      Betty worked firstly as a secretary and then as an administrator for the Polytechnic library and latterly to the Oxford Brookes Library.

      • Flower bouquet

        David Whitham

        Former member of the Joint Centre for Urban Design and Architecture.

        • Flower bouquet

          Professor James Cox

          It is with great sadness to announce the death of Jimmie Cox, former student and founding father of the Oxford School of Architecture as well as long standing secretary to the Doric club.

          • Flower bouquet

            Howard Colley

            Professor Howard Colley passed away on 4th November 2015. Professor Colley was a Pro-Vice Chancellor at Brookes for over twenty years (1980-2004) and, following his retirement from the University, served as the Director of Institutions at the Higher Education Academy, Birmingham.

            • Flower bouquet

              Lucy Cupples

              Lucy worked from in the Oxford Polytechnic's Inter Library Loans Unit from 1983-4 and continued running the service for many years.

              • David Turner, passed away in July 2015

                David Turner

                David came from the Ford Motor Company in the late 1960s, joining the Department of Engineering at what was then the Oxford College of Technology. Fulfilling varying lectureship roles, David eventually took on the role as Head of Department for Mechanical Engineering, prior to retiring in 2003. David passed away on 27th July 2015.

                • Cath Bowler, passed away in June 2015

                  Cath Bowler

                  Cath was the University’s Payroll Manager from 1993 to 2010, and was a respected and much valued colleague. In 2010, she took a career break due to ill health, and left the University in 2011. Cath passed away mid-June 2015.

                  • Peter Morris

                    Peter Morris

                    Dr Peter Morris, who died in 2015, was a long-serving member of the School of Biological and Molecular Sciences until his retirement in 1997.

                  • Jill Brazil

                    Jill Brazil

                    Jill arrived at Oxford Polytechnic in 1989 to take on the role of leading the administrative support team for the School of Education, which in those days was located at Wheatley campus. Jill worked for the School of Education throughout the 1990s. She died on 30th March 2015.

                  • Flower bouquet

                    Olive Gibbs

                    Olive Gibbs, twice Lord Mayor of Oxford and a governor and long-standing supporter of our institution, was in 1986 the recipient of the first honorary degree awarded by Oxford Polytechnic. Although Mrs Gibbs died in 1995 her name lives on in OBU's Gibbs Building, and on 11 April 2015, a blue plaque was unveiled at her childhood home, Christ Church Old Buildings.

                  • Flower bouquet

                    Bernard Caswell

                    Bernard Caswell came to the Oxford College of Technology in the late 1960s to teach Work Study. He retired some twenty years later as Senior Lecturer at the School of Business. He died on 19 March 2015 aged 88.

                  • Flower bouquet

                    Renate Barber

                    Dr Barber was appointed Lecturer, Principal lecturer, and Head of Department of Social Sciences at Oxford Polytechnic.

                  • David Watson

                    Professor Sir David Watson

                    Professor Watson was Dean and Director of Oxford Polytechnic 1981-1990, as well as a prominent and much respected member of the wider Higher Education community.

                  • Flower bouquet

                    Tom Hall

                    Tom Hall was a Senior Lecturer in Computing from 1978 to 1993.

                  • Flower bouquet

                    Andrzej Galan

                    Andrzej was both an alumnus and a former member of staff of Oxford Brookes, having studied Visual Studies and Publishing whilst the University was still a Polytechnic (1986 - 1989) and later working as a Design Officer in the Communications Office.

                  • Flower bouquet

                    Mary Hodges

                    Miss Mary Hodges, former head of the School of Education, passed away in September 2014.

                  • Flower bouquet

                    Mike Pixton

                    Mike was a member of staff in Computing Services for some 25 years, and was an active member of the Brookes Society for Retired Staff.

                  • Flower bouquet

                    Vivienne Satur

                    Viv Satur, a much loved member of the shops team and Brookes Alumna, passed away suddenly in August 2014.

                  • Patrick Charles Osbourne

                    John O'Connor

                    Professor John O'Connor was a former Head of School (Hospitality) and a founding member of the Brookes Society for Retired Staff

                  • Patrick Charles Osbourne

                    Guy Taylor

                    Guy was a highly respected architect, founder of Guy Taylor Associates and an alumnus of the Oxford Polytechnic School of Architecture.

                  • Patrick Charles Osbourne

                    Professor Sir David Yardley

                    Professor Yardley passed away on 3rd June 2014. He was a well respected Lecturer in Law.

                  • Patrick Charles Osbourne

                    Anthea Rogers

                    Anthea died in November 2013. She was a well-known senior staff member of the Business School.

                  • Patrick Charles Osbourne

                    Jack Simms

                    Jack studied at the Oxford College of Technology, Art and Commerce between 1935-40 while working as an apprentice at Pressed Steel in Cowley. He was a gifted mechanical engineer and was married to 'the love of his life' Doris for 71 years.

                  • Michael Howes

                    Michael Howes

                    An honorary citizen of Chipping Norton and former senior accountancy lecturer at the Oxford Polytechnic has died, aged 76.

                  • Ivor Robinson MBE

                    Ivor Robinson MBE

                    Ivor Robinson, master bookbinder, and respected teacher at Oxford Polytechnic, has died in Oxford aged 89.

                  • Geoffrey Smedley-Stevenson

                    Geoffrey Smedley-Stevenson

                    Geoffrey taught in the Department of History from 1970 up until his retirement. He died on 9th August 2013 in Brighton, where he had lived since his retirement.

                  • Zoia Beresford

                    Zoia Beresford

                    Zoia studied and taught architecture and conservation at the Oxford Polytechnic in the late 1960’s and was an active member of the DORIC club. She died on 5th December 2013 at the age of 82.

                  • Professor John Geake

                    Professor John Geake

                    Professor of Education from 2000 – 2008, he contributed to teaching on the undergraduate, post-graduate and higher degree courses in Education as well as leading the doctoral programme at the Westminster Institute. He died in 2011 at the age of 62.

                  • Greta Josephy '87

                    Greta Josephy '87

                    Greta had lived in Divinity Road since 1977. She trained at Oxford Brookes to be a community nurse in 1987 and since then she visited, treated and supported hundreds of patients in and around Oxford. She died on 3rd November 2012.

                  • Patrick Charles Osbourne

                    Patrick Charles Osbourne

                    Patrick taught for many years in the Printmaking department at Oxford Polytechnic. He was a talented artist, printmaker, sculptor and ceramicist as well as a keen hockey and cricket player. Patrick died on 30 May 2013. He was much loved and is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

                  • Robert Dyer

                    Robert Dyer

                    Robert was a lecturer in Corporate Strategy and Business Policy at the Oxford Polytechnic between 1987- 1996. He died on 1st September 2013 at the age of 82.

                  • Mary Tibbetts

                    Mary Tibbetts

                    Mary died peacefully, aged 96, on 10 June 2013. She was secretary to John Henry Brookes the Principal of the College of Technology in the 1950s.

                  • Nigel Heard

                    Nigel Heard

                    Nigel, formerly Head of Humanities, died peacefully in his sleep on 31st December 2012.

                  • Andrew Hutton

                    Andrew Hutton ‘71

                    Andrew studied Urban Planning at the Oxford Polytechnic in the 1970s and went on to become a Planning Consultant in York. He died at the age of 63 and is survived by his wife Bev.

                  • Michael Stanley

                    Michael Stanley

                    The innovative Director of Modern Art Oxford, Michael died tragically early at the age of 38. He was a friend of the University as well as being a member of Court. He is survived by his wife and 3 children.

                  • Cliff Wright

                    Cliff Wright

                    Cliff, a former member of staff, died in September 2012.

                  • Gordon Nelson

                    Gordon Nelson

                    Gordon worked as a lecturer in the architecture department between 1969 and 1988. On his retirement he was made an Honorary Fellow. He died at the age of 82 and is survived by his wife and two children.

                  • Don Morrison

                    Don Morrison

                    Don worked in the School of Architecture. He died peacefully at Ryder Nettlebed Hospice at the age of 83. His Funeral was held on Saturday 26 May, at Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester on Thames.

                  • Clive Robertson

                    Clive Robertson

                    Clive Robertson, who until recently was the Director of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Network of the Higher Education Academy at Oxford Brookes University passed away unexpectedly on March 30th 2012.

                  • Theodora Oduro

                    Theodora Oduro '11

                    A qualified nurse from Ghana, Theodora studied Children's Nursing in 2007 and then went on to complete her MSc in Public Health in 2011. Described as 'an inspiration to others for many years to come'.

                  • Peter Saunders

                    Peter Saunders

                    Described as 'an artist who was inspired by London and the characters of Soho'. He lectured in Art at the Oxford Polytechnic until 1982, after which he moved onto a teaching post at the Sir John Cass Faculty of Arts at London's Guildhall.

                  • Ken Trueman

                    Ken Trueman

                    The former Bursar of Lady Spencer Churchill College passed away on 7 December aged 87. Ken became the Bursar on 1 May 1964 and his wife Gwen was Head of Housekeeping.

                  • Dr Joe Weston

                    Dr Joe Weston '09

                    Senior Lecturer and Subject coordinator for MSc in Spatial Planning died recently. 'He was totally unique and will be always present in our hearts and in our minds’ said Georgina Butina-Watson.

                  • Susan Goldby

                    Susan Goldby '05

                    Susan was an alumna of the Business School graduating in 2005 with a degree in Business and Marketing. She died in 29 May 2010 peacefully at home.

                  • Richard Hamilton

                    Richard Hamilton

                    Influential artist Richard Hamilton has died at the age of 89. He was known internationally as the father of British Pop Art and had strong connections with Arts at Oxford Brookes. Read Alison Honour, the Head of the School of Arts'.

                  • Peter Westropp

                    Peter Westropp '07

                    Peter was an alumnus of the School of the Built Environment, having joined Oxford Brookes University to undertake a MSc Real Estate Management. He graduated with merit in 2007.  Peter died on 10 August 2011.

                  • Bob Hoyle

                    Bob Hoyle

                    Bob Hoyle was a lecturer and research fellow at Oxford Polytechnic as well as being an alumnus of the graduate diploma in law at Oxford Brookes. He is also remembered as an Oxford City Councillor. Bob died on 13 March 2011.

                  • Jill Gibbons

                    Jill Gibbons

                    Jill Gibbons, a long-standing member of the Registry at Oxford Polytechnic and Oxford Brookes, died at home suddenly on 5 March 2011.

                  • Joan Brookes

                    Joan Brookes

                    Joan Brookes, daughter of John Henry Brookes and long-time friend of the University that was named after him, died aged 90. Her death is announced in the week that the University is to celebrate the unveiling of a Blue Plaque at the Brookes family home.

                  • Betty Hill

                    Betty Hill

                    A long-time member of the Oxford School of Architecture and prominent member of the Doric Club, Betty Hill died on 11 October 2010. Read the obituary by Byron Mikellides for further information.

                  • Claire Rayner

                    Claire Rayner

                    Perhaps best known as Britain's leading agony aunt, Claire Rayner OBE was also a journalist, broadcaster and author. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2000. The many obituaries that followed her death on 11 October 2010 included the following from The BBC, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

                  • Brian Lloyd

                    Brian Lloyd

                    Brian Lloyd, founding Director of Oxford Polytechnic from 1970 to 1980, died on 28 June 2010. The recently demolished Lloyd building was named in his honour. Click to read a compilation of the readings and tributes given at his memorial service, an obituary in our magazine, Observe and an obituary in The Oxford Mail.

                  • Mike Skipper

                    Mike Skipper

                    Mike Skipper, for many years the Photography Technical Specialist for the Department of Arts, lost his brave fight against illness on 8 May 2010. A memorial fund has been set up to celebrate his life.

                  • Tom Porter

                    Tom Porter

                    Tom Porter lectured in architecture, with a particular interest in colour and graphics, and published several books on the subject. He died on 3 April 2010. An obituary can be read in The Oxford Mail.
                  • John Stevens

                    John Stevens, '62

                    John Stevens studied at the Oxford School of Architecture and subsequently returned there to teach, being promoted to senior lecturer in 1970. He died peacefully on 22 September 2009. An account of his life provides further details, including a stint carrying cement for the new Abercrombie Building.

                  • Mark Evison

                    Mark Evison, '06

                    Lieutenant Mark Evison of the 1st Battalion, The Welsh Guards, was shot while on patrol in Afghanistan and died of his wounds on 12 May 2009. Mark graduated in Real Estate Management in 2006 then trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

                  • John Henry Brookes

                    John Henry Brookes

                    John Brookes started his connection with the institution that would ultimately bear his name in 1922 when he took up a post teaching stone carving at the Oxford City School of Arts and Crafts in St Ebbes. Under his guidance it became the College of Technology and its first buildings on Headington Hill opened in 1956, the year he retired. He died in September 1975. A short biography is available on the BBC Oxford website. Bryan Brown, '66, is writing a full-length autobiography. An initial presentation of Bryan Brown's research can be read on the University website.