Longtime Maricopa historian and school teacher Pat Brock dies

Pat Brock, whose books traced the history of Maricopa, passes away.

EDITOR’s NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect funeral arrangements. 

Pat Brock, who documented the history of Maricopa in her books “Reflections of a Desert Town” and “Images of America: Maricopa,” has passed away.

Brock’s “Images of America: Maricopa” followed and celebrated Maricopa’s rich heritage—from the early Hohokam digging canals with sticks to the residents of the city in the 21st century.

The 127-page 2010 book combined archival photographs with stories from the past, revealing the people and events that helped shape the character of what Maricopa is today.

“The material came from the files of the Maricopa Historical Society’s oral and written history projects—newspapers, magazines and even faded handwritten letters saved in someone’s old trunks,” Brock said at the time.

She also chronicled the early history of Maricopa and profiled some of its residents in her previous book, “Reflections of a Desert Town.”

In 1973 Brock, with a degree from Arizona State University, began her 25-year elementary teaching career in Maricopa.

Longtime friend Brent Murphree, a former Maricopa vice mayor, who now lives in Nashville, Tenn., wrote on his Facebook page: “Pat saved Maricopa history. She compiled boxes of stories and Maricopa artifacts.”

Beyond her documenting the history of Maricopa as a resource, Murphree recalls a personal anecdote.

“I remember her best for hauling us rowdy kids to swim practice in Chandler,” he wrote. “She was the best teacher, and her demeanor was evenly paced.”

Brock was raised in Maricopa with 11 siblings. Her father, Jewell Spurlock, came to Scottsdale from the Midwest in 1921 to check out the Wild West, eventually building and operating a Tempe dairy. In 1952, the family moved from their farm east of Maricopa to the town itself. The children, including Pat, were not excited, but “kids did not get a vote in the 1950s,” she recalled.

Maricopa moved at a slower pace then.

“Families never locked their houses, and they left their keys in their cars,” Brock said in a 2011 interview. “Everyone knew your name, and business agreements were sealed with a handshake. On special occasions we would drive to Casa Grande to see a dime movie.”

Graduating from Maricopa High School in 1961, one of 12 graduates in her class, Brock married her husband, Harry, later that year.

“In Maricopa you just knew everyone. You weren’t formally introduced. I was interested in seeing Maricopa Wells, and he was the only one who knew where it was,” she once said.

Harry and Pat raised three sons, Samuel, Barry and Rex, who all graduated from Maricopa High.

Visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 1 at Bueler Funeral Home in Chandler. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 2 at Bueler Funeral Home, followed by the burial at Valley of the Sun Cemetery in Chandler.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Maricopa Historical Society