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Saturday November 11, 2017

Vernon Brooks Born 1923, Berlin, as Werner Bruck; died 4 October 2017, Victoria BC.

Charming and inquisitive until the end, Vernon's life was spent in pursuit of knowledge. At 17, along with other refugees from Nazi Germany, he was interned at Farnham, Quebec, where he considered himself lucky to have had the opportunity to matriculate grade 12 under the guidance of wonderful teachers, who were also internees. Release from the camp in 1942 was followed by a Biology degree in 1946 at University of Toronto's Victoria College, at which time he also became a Canadian citizen and changed his name. Vernon's 1952 PhD thesis in Neurophysiology at McGill and U of T on the effect of botulinum toxin on the nervous system revealed the principle of Botox. While a graduate student in Toronto, Vernon met the Frasers: Donald, Frieda, Donald Jr, Ian and finally Nancy, with whom he fell in love. Together with their young family, Nancy and Vernon moved just north of New York City on the Hudson River in 1956. Vernon researched the motor cortex and cerebellum at Rockefeller Institute and New York Medical College, eventually moving to University of Western Ontario, where he had a long career as Professor of Physiology, becoming Professor Emeritus in 1988. For Vernon and Nancy, life in London was rich with family, friends, garden and the Unitarian Fellowship. Summers at Go Home Bay brought many happy times with Nancy's far-flung extended family, and later with their grandchildren. In retirement Vernon researched his and Nancy's families, writing a 1500-file website and a book. His final passion was to tell the story of Nancy's cousin, Canada's little-known war hero Beverley Shenstone, designer of the Spitfire wing. Vernon and Nancy (d. 2013) are greatly missed by their children Martin (Susan), Janet (Kent), and Nora, grandchildren Kyla, Zachary, Frieda-Raye, Bennett and Eliot, as well as family and friends in London, Toronto and Victoria.

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