Reception of Associate Members: Lawrence V. Brookes & Nina P. Dodonova

Nina P. Dodonova

Nina was born April 16, 1951, in Holm Russia, a very small town about half way between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Her father and mother were both soldiers in the Red Army during The Great Patriotic War, to Americans World War II. Her father was a nomenclatura, a Communist Party official, and he served in various communities around western Russia before settling in Pskov in 1972.

Nina was raised as an atheist. She attended the St. Petersburg Pharmacy Academy and graduated in 1974. Afterwards, she worked for the Ministry of Interior as a chemist and was an officer, with rank of Lieutenant Colonel when she retired in 2003.

She met Larry in Pskov June 1, 1999 and they were married April 2, 2005. While with Larry she was baptized and has become a practicing Christian. She attended and was a member of the First Congregational Church Berkeley, where they were married, and has decided with Larry to transfer to Arlington Community Church, where she has found a warm and comforting community.

Nina has one daughter, Nadya Nikolenko, she is married to Nikita Nikolenko, and they live in Irkutsk, Siberia, but plan to move to Pskov next year. Nadya, who is 33, is now in the US on a tour visiting National and regional parks around the country, furthering her career in Russia as an administrator of Russian National Parks. Nina and Larry will pick up Nadya tonight and she will stay with them for ten days before returning to Russia.


Lawrence V. Brookes

Larry was born March 30, 1942, in the darkest days of World War II, at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. He lived his first three years in Washington, DC, where his father worked for the federal government. He grew up in Orinda, California, at a time where there were more cows than people. His father was agnostic and mother an atheist, so he did not attend Church while young, but when 12 he and his sister made a secret visit to the closest Protestant Church to be baptized.

Larry attended Menlo School, then the California Institute of Technology but transferred to UC Berkeley from which he graduated in 1964, and from it law school Boalt Hall in 1967. He remembers wandering down to Sproul Plaza in 1964 to see Mario Savio perched on top of a police car at the beginning of the Free Speech Movement.

While in Law School Larry married Katherine Thomas and over the subsequent ten years had three children, Gwendolyn, James and Amy. Larry practiced law for 36 years in Los Angeles and then San Francisco, and has lived in the same house in Berkeley since 1973.

Larry and katherine parted ways and Larry met Nina in Pskov, Russia, on June 1, 1999. The two pursued a romantic relationship that culminated in their marriage April 2, 2005. They both are members of First  Congregational Church, Berkeley, where they were married but find that Arlington Community Church is more compatible with their spiritual and social life. Larry and Nina spend part of each year in Pskov, Russia, where he has his other family, that of Nina's family.