Life Story Service
Saturday, January 27, 2024
12:30 PM EST
Oak Grove Cemetery
1128 E 2nd St
Lawton, MI 49065
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Seeds of Life
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of John Brooks, it is easy to see both his unwavering strength and his unconditional love for his family. He faced challenges head-on with a fierce spirit of determination. Nothing brought John greater joy than spending time with his loved ones, no matter how simple the moments. His faith formed the solid foundation of his life, and he was well known for his solid work ethic and his desire to provide for his family. Forever loved, John will be deeply missed by those who knew him best.
It was so exciting to be an American during the decade we now know as the Roaring 20s. Motion pictures became available in both color and sound, ballroom dancing was the latest rage, and the world of flight soared to new heights with Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. It was during this influential time that John and Thelma (Peterman) Brooks of Covert, Michigan, were eagerly anticipating the arrival of their child. On December 20, 1928, their wait was over, and they welcomed their son into the world.
Growing up, John was a typical young man of his generation. He was raised in Covert, near Lake Michigan, alongside his eight siblings. John’s father supported the family by working at a paper mill in Watervliet and at Malibu Foundry in Benton Harbor while his mother, along with John and his siblings, sold fish that they caught from Lake Michigan themselves. Throughout his childhood, John grew to be very close with his siblings, Laura, Jean, Robert, Shirley, Harold, Richard, Franc, and Wanda. Living in the rural Van Buren area meant catching what you wanted to eat, so he and his siblings learned to hunt and fish. John especially enjoyed playing basketball and seine fishing with a net out of the “Big Lake.” He loved being the oldest brother and teaching his younger siblings, which likely helped contribute to his passion for teaching later on in life.
As a young man, John and his best friend enjoyed spending their summers together, even though they didn’t have a penny between them. They hitchhiked to New Orleans and California three times. A traveling salesman once put the two of them up in a hotel room, then drove them to their destination. John attended local schools and graduated from Covert High School in 1947. Following his graduation, his Aunt Maude, encouraged him to pursue teaching. She had been his mentor throughout his childhood, and as a teacher herself, she saw the potential for greatness in him and paid his way through college. John went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Western Michigan University in 1951.
All who knew John can surely agree that, of all the things he loved in life, he treasured his family above all else. He met a beautiful young woman named Jean at a college dance after a basketball game, and there was an instant spark between them. John immediately fell for Jean and her kind, gentle spirit. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, John and Jean were married in the presence of family and friends. Over the years, they were overjoyed to welcome their beloved children, LaMarr, LaMont, LaVonne, and Loren, into their hearts and home. John thrived in his role as a father and was his children’s biggest supporter. He instilled in them the value of hard work and generosity, and he encouraged them to participate in sports in order to build character. Later in life, John was thrilled to watch his family grow to include many grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. He adored their company and doted on them whenever he could. John always considered himself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Over the years, John’s career became so much more than a job. He was truly passionate about teaching, and he poured his heart and soul into his students. John spent many years teaching, and he made a lasting impact on all those who learned from him. Even after his retirement, he continued to work to provide for himself and his loved ones. John began another career in carpentry, and he built cabinets in order to put all of his children through college. He was always willing to do whatever he had to in order to support his family.
Never one to sit still for long, John pursued many hobbies to stay busy in his free time. He was an avid fan of the Detroit Lions, and he loved camping and traveling with his family. John was a master pistol shooter. He used his carpentry skills to build pulpits, credenzas, and gazebos for his church and Miracle Camp. John and his family often volunteered with the Red Cross Disaster Services. He and Jean traveled to the Dominican Republic for 15 years to serve there. In their later years, they loved bicycling in New Zealand and the Florida Keys. John loved to travel the world and experience the great outdoors. Most notably was John’s love for Scrabble, which extended to most of the family as well. There was always a board setup and ready to play. The games grew quite competitive as they all played to win!
As family and friends can certainly attest, John truly understood the secret to a life well lived. He was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times, and he was always encouraging of those around him. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, John was a friend to many and beloved by all he met. He was dedicated to his faith and his family. Though he will be dearly missed, John leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on in his footsteps.
John Brooks of Schoolcraft, age 95, died on January 22, 2024. He is preceded in death by his wife, Jean; siblings: Laura Meader, Jean Connell, Robert Brooks, Shirley Berham, Harold Brooks, and daughter-in-law, Kathy Brooks. Surviving are his children: LaMarr Brooks, LaMont (Jan) Brooks, LaVonne (Ron) March, Loren (Linda) Brooks; 10 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; siblings: Richard (LaRue) Brooks, Franc (Betty) Brooks, and Wanda Story; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held Saturday, January 27th from 10-11 AM at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Homes, 60900 M40, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870. A Life Story Service will begin at 11 AM. Burial at Oak Grove Cemetery. Visit John’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Henry Community Health Hospice, 798 N 16th St., New Castle, IN 47362 or seedsoflife.com.