US (TX): Duchess of the Rose Growers continues family legacy

When Emily Ann Milton is presented as Duchess of the Rose Growers, she will be carrying on a tradition that for decades has been part of her family. “It’s a great honor,” Milton said. “I think it’s more special because it’s been in my family for so many years and that I get to serve in this role 30 years after my mom. That makes it even more special to me.”

Her mother, Lori Brooks Carver, served as the Duchess of the Rose Growers in 1991 and has been by her daughter’s side throughout her tenure. “She’s been there with me through all of it,” Milton said. “She gave me advice on how to do the bow. She’s been there, helping me navigate all of it.”

Milton’s family has a long history in both Tyler’s rose-growing industry and in the Texas Rose Festival. Her great-grandfather, the late M. L. Brooks, and her great-grandmother, the late Mary Emily Brooks, were rose growers in Tyler for many years.

Her grandfather, Robert L. Brooks, was a rose grower and processor in Tyler and an active member of the Texas Rose Research Foundation. He was the rose procurement chairman of the Texas Rose Festival’s 1983 Rose Show. Her grandmother, Carolyn Brooks, was a founding member of Friends of the Rose and continues to organize annual events.

In addition to her mother, many other family members also have served as Duchess of the Rose Growers. Her aunt, Angie Brooks Applegate, held the title in 1994, her great-aunt, Jill Brooks Howard, served in the role in 1968, and her cousins, Amy Dunwoody Solberg and Leah Walters Weikel, served in the role in 2002 and in 1988, respectively.

Since being named Duchess of the Rose Growers in 2019, Milton will serve for two years in the position since the Texas Rose Festival was delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic.

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