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Joseph E. Brooks of Greenwich, Retail Executive

GREENWICH, Conn. – Greenwich resident Joseph E. Brooks, former chairman of Ann Taylor stores and Lord & Taylor, died recently. He was 84 years old.

Brooks was born Nov. 2, 1927. He was famous for taking over retail stores and making their sales increase dramatically, including Filene’s, Rike’s Burdines, Lord & Taylor and Ann Taylor stores.

Brooks was chairman and chief executive officer of Ann Taylor Stores Corp. and Ann Taylor Inc. He acquired the company in February 1989 with Merrill Lynch Capital Partners. Brooks was chairman and chief executive officer of Lord & Taylor from 1975 through 1986. He was elected to the board of directors of May Co. Department Stores in 1986 and was senior executive vice president and a member of the board of directors of Associated Dry Goods Corp. from 1975 through 1986. Brooks headed Filene’s and Rike’s and was associated with Burdines, all divisions of Federated Department Stores.

Brooks and his wife, Alice K. Brooks, launched the International Symposium on the Neurosciences at Harvard Medical School, established a faculty scholar position at the Center for Blood Diseases at the University of Miami's School of Medicine, and were Third Century Fellows at Harvard Medical School. Most recently, he served on the advisory board of New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, the board of directors of the Michael Wolk Heart Foundation Inc., the board of directors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the international advisory board for the Harvard AIDS Institute.

Brooks is survived by his wife of 61 years, Alice K. Brooks; his son, Thomas H.K. Brooks and daughter-in-law Judith M. Brooks; two daughters, Elizabeth B. Rains and her husband, C. Eric Rains, and Victoria B. Stafford; and five grandchildren.

His memorial service was private. Memorial contributions may be made in memory of Joseph E. Brooks to: The Harvard AIDS Initiative, 651 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115.

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