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Early in the morning on Jan 18, 2021, our beloved friend, and the co-director emeritus of AWI, Leola Brooks, left this earth plane and crossed the rainbow bridge to heaven. She was 90 years old.

Indeed, if as we believe, there is a heaven, then heaven is a better place for her presence.

And, in our imagination, and knowing Leola, after the all the hugs and kisses and exclamations of welcome, and tears of joy that she surely received upon arrival, from loved ones who have gone before, then our dear friend would surely turn an eye towards us and vow to watch over us with the same dedicated care she gave us in life, only now as a guardian angel. For Leola’s heart was as big as the sky, and her love for Dr. Ann and for our students and staff is only matched by our love for her. She frequently said: “Love is all there is.” We shall miss her always.

Leola was a bright light, a shining star, and everyone wanted to spend time with her. She had an inner strength that allowed so many to find understanding, emotional comfort, and words of wisdom to help them find their peace. To be in her presence was to feel totally accepted and loved just as you were. Leola was a lady of the first degree, with a natural elegance that was so gracious and welcoming. Never formal, she was so much fun, and how she loved to laugh.

She was highly intelligent, and a natural diplomat, and Dr. Ann Wigmore hand-picked her to come and play an important part in her newly created institute in Puerto Rico. Leola was living in San Francisco, and ran a raw foods support group there for many years. When Dr. Ann visited there in 1991 to lecture, and found out that Leola was about to retire from her job as a supervisor at the San Francisco Post Office, she could not rest until Leola promised to come, and come right away! The planned vacation had to be postponed about 30 years, for once she came- just as an experiment, or so she thought, Leola fell in love with it – and the rest is history.

How right Dr. Ann was in her choice. Leola became an essential pillar supporting the mission of Dr. Ann’s Living Food Lifestyle. On countless mornings Leola sat with Ann Wigmore learning directly from her and taking detailed notes -so that she could preserve the teachings just as Dr. Ann would teach them. Everything Leola did was done with love, attention, and dedication.

leola

Leola’s deep interest in wellness stemmed from the early deaths of her mother. She died while still in their 30’s of heart and blood pressure related ailments. Leola was determined to break the family pattern, and how well she did! She credited the Living Food Lifestyle to her three times longer lifespan.

Dr. Ann let it be known that there was no one in the world she trusted more than Leola Brooks and Lalita Salas, both as her friends and to carry on her work. They inherited the care and guiding of the institute upon Dr. Ann’s death in 1994 and these two soul mates acted as co-directors for almost 25 years.

Our hearts go out to Lalita who has lost a sister. a partner, a friend, and her nephew Kevin, her loving partner of the last years, and to her Nephew (name?) who treated her like a mom. Leola’s daughter, Anita, pre-deceased her by three years and was surely waiting to be the first to embrace her on the other side.

Leola would have been proud and deeply touched to die on Martin Luther King Day. She was a passionate supporter of Dr. King and she herself, quietly and by her excellence, consistently broke racial barriers, becoming one of the first black women to become the director of a major healing institute.

Again, we will miss her always, may her spirit soar.

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