SMSgt. Willie "Bill" Brooks (Ret.)
Willie, known as Bill, ascended into Heaven and the arms of our Lord, on the evening of September 4, 2020 at the Sierra Providence Hospital in El Paso, TX.
Bill, Billy, or our beloved Papa Brooks was born in Belton, TX on March 20, 1941, the son of Senie Russell-Catley and Isaiah Brooks. He spent his youth in Youngstown, Ohio and Belton, where he would graduate from T.B. Harris High School and soon after enlist in the US Navy. Once he completed boot camp at San Diego Naval Training Center, he was assigned aboard the USS Philip DDE498, home port of Pearl Harbor. While in the Navy, he found himself at Midway Island, Okinawa, Hong Kong, and the Philippine Islands.
After Bill left the Navy, he enlisted into the US Air Force. He trained as a ground radio equipment technician and later as a forward air controller. Eventually he would be assigned to Fort Hood, TX alongside the Army. Soon he was sent to Vietnam with the Colorado 9th Infantry Division. For that service, he earned a Bronze Star. Bill would go on to assignments in Arizona, Korea, Ohio, New Mexico, Germany, and Missouri. He retired at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant after more than 25 years of service to his country.
In between his military duties, Bill earned his AA in management. Upon his retirement, he achieved his Bachelor's degree (in management) and gained employment with Lockheed at HELSTF and earned his Master's degree in business. For a little while he held a management position with Auto Zone and worked at Allsup's.
Bill was extremely proud to be a member of the Kiwanis Club of Alamogordo. He had been a member for over 30 years and served as their chapter's president in 2000-2001. He felt great joy serving his community in multiple programs, events and long-term friendships associated with Kiwanis. Bill was also a member of the Amateur Radio Club and known by his call sign N5JVK, and a member of Singles of Otero County. His other passions included the history of Native American Culture, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Buffalo Soldiers, reading magazines like Popular Science, or dabbling in photography.
Bill was previously married to Geneva (Hampton) Brooks, with whom he was very close until her death in 2014. The couple had three sons during their union: Greg, Darren and Eric.
Bill's sweet soft spoken voice was perfectly matched by his huge beautiful smile and chipmunk cheeks. One could always count on him for a solid ear to listen, the best in-depth personal advice, a shoulder to cry on, and the shirt off his back for those in need. Papa Brooks was an honorable man, whose character displayed his faithful beliefs and proved to be the epitome of what a man and father should be.
Bill is proceeded in death by his parents, Senie Russell-Catley and Isaiah Brooks; his aunt who raised him like a mother, Mildred Russell-Holcombe and her husband, Eddie Holcombe Sr.; and his brother, Sterling "Bubba" Russell.
Mr. Brooks is survived by his sons, Greg Brooks (Erika) of Tallahassee, FL, Darren Brooks and Eric Brooks (Tina) of Alamogordo, NM; four grandsons, Breland and Christopher Brooks, Daniel "DJ" and Jacob Frasier; five granddaughters, Kiara Lang, Breanna and Bethany Brooks, Elizabeth "Iz" Frasier, and Julia Strother; four great-granddaughters, Sanaya, Jayla, Alia, and Ryleigh; and five great-grandsons, Bryson, Kaden, Kye, Ares, and Nolan; siblings, Eddie Holcombe Jr., Pamela Harrison and Damita Wilkinson with whom he shared a cherished bond; and numerous extended family and friends.
The Brooks' family has chosen, out of pandemic safety, to have a private family memorial on Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 11 AM at Scenic Chapel, Alamogordo, NM.
The Brooks family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the services.
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