My maternal grandfather passed away last Friday morning, the day before Owen turned four-years-old. My Aunt Michelle wrote a really nice obituary:
Jesse Eugene Brooks, 89, passed away on July 3, 2009 in Southern Pines, North Carolina. He was born May 6, 1920 in Hartford, Alabama to Marvin and Allie Brooks. Raised in Dothan, AL, he attended University of Alabama, Auburn University, and graduated from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, GA.
After graduating from Riverside, he entered active duty in the US Army Air Corps and served as a B-24 lead combat bombardier in the 8th Air Force, 467th Bomb Group assigned to Rackheath Air Base in Norfolk, England. While there he participated in 30 combat missions including two sorties over the Normandy beaches on D-Day in Operation Overlord. He received two Distinguished Flying Crosses, four Air Medals, and many other decorations and citations.
While stationed at Rackheath, he met Edna Head of Birmingham, England who was a radar operator for the British Forces. They married after the war in Dothan, Alabama and were married for 63 years. Mr. Brooks left active duty in 1947, continued his service in the reserves, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 23 years in the US Air Force.
In 1947, he returned to Dothan to work for Hub City Supply before moving to Enterprise, Alabama to work for Sessions Peanut Oil Company. In 1952, he began his career in the industrial supply business by managing and naming Pensacola Mill Supply Company and later he worked for Industrial Marine Supply. He was then asked to open and manage Bearings and Transmission Supply which eventually became Motion Industries. He retired from Motion Industries in 1981 to enjoy simple things like playing more golf and growing food for wildlife on “Gene’s Acres” in Alabama. In 2000, after residing in Gulf Breeze for 38 years, he and his wife moved to Southern Pines, North Carolina where she still resides.
Survivors include his wife Edna; two daughters - Eugenia May and husband Wesley who live in Pinehurst, NC; and, Michelle DeFrange and husband Gary, who live in Winter Park, CO; two grandchildren – Michael Brooks Hinson in Sion, Switzerland and Kristen Myklebust in Beaverton, Oregon; and, three great-grandchildren: Margaret Hinson, Owen and Maya Myklebust.
Graveside services with full military honors will be held at Barrancas National Cemetery at the Pensacola Naval Air Station on Friday, July 10, 2009 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, PO Box 1092, Pensacola, FL 32591-1092 or the charity of your choice. Arrangements by Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines and Bayview Fisher-Pou Funeral Home of Pensacola, FL.
My reference list is a little lacking re: diversity of sources (most hyperlinks head straight to wikipedia) but since I'm not in grad school anymore I'm sure no one minds.
I didn't see him very much as I was growing up but what I always remember is that he was a really great storyteller, especially about his teenage years w/ his buddies and his years in the war (WWII). (Posting all these hyperlinks I learned more about that time in his life. I'm glad for that).
He could also fry a mean grouper--the BEST! And he taught me how to be a very discerning and scrupulous shopper @ the supermarket. For example, he showed me how to check the fresh OJ labels to make sure they said 'NOT from concentrate' (it's not easy to locate that info!; and why waste the $$?); he also showed me how to pick out the freshest loaf of bread by looking @ the bag tie/closers that would indicate what day each loaf got to the store. It was a science for him:)
Tomorrow he will be buried @ Barrancas National Cemetary in Pensacola, Florida, the city I was born in. Part of being buried with full military honors means that a bugler sounds "Taps" which is pretty devastating to hear and basically breaks your heart in two. I mean, it's a beautiful piece of music but it's tough.
The link below is to an audio of Taps. If you have a few moments, listen to it.
Think of someone you've lost or miss and try to connect. Believe me, the song will take you there. Here it is: the audio of taps.
I love you Grandaddy, rest in peace...