William Eugene Brooks, age 80, of Brewster passed away Saturday, October 13, 2018 at the Community Hospital of McCook, NE.
He was born August 15, 1938, at home in Steele, MO, to Carl Thomas (C.T.) and Georgia Thomas-Brooks. He was blessed to be raised by Sylvester “Gene” and Eunice “Uni” Johnson. Bill was influenced by many adults in his childhood days. His Christian education was given by Ann Marie “Ma” Brooks. Bill learned farming and a strong work ethic from Sylvester “Pa” Brooks. After high school, Bill learned the tool & die trade from his Uncle Hubert Hale. Bill worked in this industry for several years in Mississippi, Indiana, Tennessee, and Colorado. He made crowns for a dental company, name plates for telephone poles, and even identification badges for NASA using a camera from an old Airforce bomber. He also loved horses and the cowboy way. He spent his spare time in Colorado working with race horses.
On October 1, 1966, Bill married Cecelia Anne Hamilton in Denver, Colorado. Bill and Cee lived in Aurora, Colorado while he continued working in the tool & die industry, and Cee worked as a lab technician in Denver. They moved to Lochbuie, Colorado in 1968 where they began farming and ranching together for many years. On February 17, 1973, they were thrilled with the birth of their only child, Ann Marie Brooks. To hear them tell it, this child was so perfect, they never wanted any others. They continued farming and ranching for a few years in Keenesburg, Colorado, where Bill served on the local fair board. He was known for his shenanigans, including riding his horse into the local pool hall, the “Town Talk”, and ordering a drink from the bar! Said horse was also the first one Ann was bucked off (fell off, don’t worry folks) at the age of 3!
Bill and Cee spent their married years in Lochbuie, Keenesburg, and Wray Colorado. They spent countless hours teaching Ann about life on the farm. Bill was especially fond of horses, and he instilled that love into his daughter. He and Cee hauled Ann to every 4-H show and county fair around, so she could show her horses……and goats….and pigs…..and sheep. He was probably a little irritated with Ann wanting to show every animal possible. However, Ann’s love of animals, and dedication to hard work, was a direct reflection of Bill. He was most proud of his daughter for this.
Bill returned to Missouri in 1991 to farm with his brother-in-law Jimmie Lee, Jr. Bill was so proud of his cotton crop. In 1992, Bill was blessed to gain a son, Randall Rath, when he married Ann in St. Francis, Kansas. Bill loved Randall like he was his own flesh and blood. Even when Bill was hurting so badly, he would never tell anyone except Randall. The bond the two men shared is noteworthy.
In 1998, Bill moved to Brewster, Kansas, to be closer to the little girls he never knew could make his heart feel so full, Taylor, Kaylen, and Marlee. “Grandpa Bill” was instantly in love with these three. Slumber parties and breakfast at Stuckey’s was always a highlight for all of them. Grandpa continued his shenanigans with them, letting them drive his brown, Ford Ranger pick-up (aka the rolling turd) when they couldn’t even reach the pedals, decorating his roof with Santa in the chimney just to see them laugh, cruising in his 1948 restored Chevy pick-up when the front wheel fell off, and teaching them all his one-liners, even though they weren’t always politically correct!
In all seriousness, he loved nothing more than his granddaughters, and watching them grow up into beautiful, talented, and thoughtful young women.
In Bill’s “retirement years” he worked for Mitchek Farms. Bill was never happy just sitting still. He had to be working on something. He especially loved being on the ranch in Strasburg, Colorado, and felt at home there. He loved giving us tours of the countryside. He also loved spending time “at the farm” with the Rath family, which he considered his family as well.
There are far too many memories and stories to share of the life Bill lived. Surely, he will be remembered for his zest for life, incredible work ethic, silly sayings, and his extreme love of his family, friends, and animals (cats excluded).
Bill was preceded in death by his biological parents Carl Thomas (C.T.) Brooks and Georgia Thomas-Brooks, his Dad and Mother, Sylvester and Eunice Johnson, his half-brother Carl Thomas (Brooks, Jr.) Koehler, and half-sister Donna June (Brooks) Koehler-Smith.
Survivors include his Daughter, Ann (Randall) Rath of Trenton, NE; granddaughters: Taylor (Andrew) Willis of Aurora, NE; Kaylen Rath of Aurora, NE; and Marlee Rath of Manhattan, KS. Sister, Marita Jo (Jimmie) Lee of Hornersville, MO; Great grandchildren, Austyn and Ledger.
A memorial service will be Friday, October 19, 2018, at 2 p.m. MT at Bateman Funeral Home, 211 East 11th Street in Goodland. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be designated to Bill Brooks Memorial Fund and may be left at the service or mailed to Bateman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 278, Goodland, KS 67735. For condolences or information visit www.batemanfuneral.com