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.

Milton was at her grandparents’ home during Thanksgiving break in 2019 when she learned she would serve as the next Duchess of the Rose Growers.

“I was at my grandparents’, Robert and Carolyn Brooks, home for Thanksgiving. They were hosting a big Thanksgiving dinner for the family,” she recalled. “Afterward, they gave me a huge bouquet of roses and a card that everyone had signed. The card said I was the next Duchess of the Rose Growers. It was a very sweet moment because I was surrounded by my family. I was definitely surprised.”

Milton said she is excited and honored to carry on the family tradition.

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. 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 has been honored to serve for two years in the position since the Texas Rose Festival was delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Milton attends Baylor University in Waco, where she volunteered at a middle school as part of an after school program in which she helped tutor children. She plans to volunteer with a hospice program in Waco as well.

Volunteering has always been important to Milton. A native of Tulsa, Okla., Milton volunteered with South Tulsa Baptist Church when she was younger. Today, she also volunteers through her church, Highland Baptist, in Waco.

As Duchess of the Rose Growers, Milton said she is in awe of her dress. When the dress designs were first revealed, she was in Waco and saw her design via a phone screen.

“Seeing it come to life, it was incredible and more than I ever expected,” she said. “I love it. It’s very heavy but it’s really beautiful and I think they did it perfectly.”

Milton said she is honored to serve in this year’s Texas Rose Festival. Her family’s legacy makes it even more special.

“I know how special this is to my grandmother and to our family,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed being able to this with my grandmother and with my mom.”


Duchess of the Rose Growers Emily Ann Milton

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Emily Ann Milton is Duchess of the Rose Growers of the 2021 Texas Rose Festival. (Photo Courtesy James French Photography)

Emily Ann Milton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Carver and Dr. and Mrs. Mark Milton of Tulsa, Okla., attends Baylor University where she is majoring in Medical Humanities on the pre-med track in the Baylor Honors College and is a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority.

She is active in the Baylor Religious Hour Choir, Baylor Medical Service Organization and Highland Baptist Church where she serves as a Community Group Leader.

She is a member of Friends of the Rose and has attended Texas Rose Festival activities for many years.

Her mother, Lori Brooks Carver, served as the 1991 Duchess of the Rose Growers and is a member of Friends of the Rose.

Other family members who have participated in the festival include Angie Brooks Applegate, aunt, 1994 Duchess of the Rose Growers; Jill Brooks Howard, great-aunt, 1968 Duchess of the Rose Growers; Amy Dunwoody Solberg, cousin, 2002 Duchess of the Rose Growers; Leah Walters Weikel, cousin, 1988 Duchess of the Rose Growers; Samuel Wallace Dunwoody IV, cousin, 1998 escort; and Janie Cagle Stewart, cousin, Friends of the Rose.

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. She also started a dried rosebud and potpourri business with their rose blooms, and gave those as gifts to court members each year. Robert and Carolyn Brooks have been members of the Texas Rose Festival Association for many years. Her cousins, Mark Walters and the late Sandra Walters, were also rose growers in the Tyler area.

Other family members include Alice Elizabeth Milton, sister; Samuel Allen Milton, brother; Hailey Haloka Carver, sister; Braden Pierce Carver, brother; Ethan Maxwell Church, brother; Luke Anderson Church, brother; and Johnny and Janie Stewart, cousins.

 
 

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