Gerald Arliss Brooks

Published 12:25 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mr. Gerald Arliss Brooks, born April 9, 1932, in Bath to Pearl Kilby Brooks and John Thorne Brooks, passed away at Oak Bend Hospital, Richmond, Tex., on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, after a courageous battle with cancer. Mr. Brooks was 79 years old.

Growing up in the small historic town of Bath, Mr. Brooks was an outstanding athlete at Bath High School in basketball, baseball and football. His love for the game of baseball combined with his athletic ability allowed him to go on and play in college and even on to play baseball with the likes of Catfish Hunter and Gaylord Perry before an arm injury ended his baseball career. Mr. Brooks served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953 during the Korean War. While attending Louisburg College in North Carolina, he met and married Sara Ann Sholar of Greensboro. He received his formal education and bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from High Point College in North Carolina and was a member of the Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity. His first coaching job was in Ocala, Fla., and then on to Rockledge, Fla., where he was physical education teacher at Kennedy Middle School for over 20 years. In addition, on the side he started and ran a very successful moving and storage business for 20 years, Brooks Moving and Storage. In his later years, Mr. Brooks worked at Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the Move Coordinator for McDonnell Douglas, receiving many awards, as well as the prestigious Silver Eagle Award.

Mr. Brooks loved the outdoors, being out on the water, watching sports (especially ACC basketball) and his hometown of Bath. He had a sharp wit and was quick to joke, laugh and make fun with others. He could tell a story like no one else and would have you leaning in to hear and completely engaged in his tales. His family remembers that he was always helping those in need and taught all of his children to drive before they could even see over the steering wheel, on dirt roads where they lived in Florida. He could dance like Fred Astaire and was astounding to watch and dance with. He was not happy sitting still and was most at peace while driving around town, or on old back roads leading to nowhere. He most especially loved exploring old cemeteries.

Gerald is preceded in death by his wife, Sara; sister, Helen Thorne Brooks Boyd; and brother, Jimmy Brooks. He is survived by his son Samuel Brooks, Sam’s wife Suzie, and grandchildren Aaron and Jonathon Brooks. Samuel and family reside in Fulshear, Tex., where Mr. Brooks had been undergoing cancer treatment for the past year. He is also survived by another son, Gerry Brooks, wife Kelly and grandchildren Jared, Molly and Jonah who all reside in Lexington, Ky.; a daughter, Kilby Holt, and her husband John who reside in Gainesville, Va. He is also survived by brothers Dan Brooks and wife Tessie, and Ted Brooks and wife Sandra; and sisters, Betty Everette and Audrey-Dare Schill, Jackie Mullen and husband Ed, Brenda Humphrey and husband Dwight, and Polly Gurganus and husband Louis. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews and loving family members and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Bath Christian Church, 107 Harding St., Bath. Burial will immediately follow the service at Belhaven Community Cemetery, West Main St., Belhaven. Family and out of town guests are invited to Bath Christian Church for a memorial luncheon and to share their favorite stories about Gerald.

In lieu of flowers, Mr. Brooks’ youngest son is asking for copies of old photos of his father to display at the service. Or if you would prefer, a donation may be made to the American Cancer Society to help further research to eliminate this horrible disease.

Online condolences may be directed to the family by visiting

Hillside Funeral Service & Cremations, 4500 U.S. Highway 264 East, Washington, has been given the honor of being entrusted with serving the Brooks family.