Surrounded by his loving and attentive family, John Madison Brooks, Jr., MD died peacefully at his home in Greenville, Mississippi on March 15, 2022. Dr. Brooks practiced Surgery in Greenville for 35 years with the Gamble Brothers and Archer Clinic group. He had expressed gratitude for his life in Greenville, for his professional colleagues, his patients, his friends, his family and for being able to share in the rich natural bounty of the Mississippi Delta.
Born in Ruston, Louisiana in 1939, Dr. Brooks was the son of the late Nelda Nobles and John Madison Brooks, both Louisiana natives. It was in his early years in Louisiana that Dr. Brooks developed a life-long passion for hunting that led him to settle with his wife and family in Greenville, located in the Mississippi Waterfowl Flyway. He developed broad knowledge of nature and wildlife and excelled in hunting skills, including winning the Mississippi Duck Calling Contest in 1973. He was a founding member and past president of the Black Bayou Hunting Club.
In 1948, Dr. Brooks moved to Johnson City, Tennessee along with his family when his father was hired as a coach and teacher by East Tennessee State College. There Dr. Brooks attended the ETSC Training School, where he excelled in academics and athletics, and where he met his future wife of 62 years, Emily Easterly. While a high school senior in 1957, he set a state record in the 220-Yard Dash in the East Tennessee Regional Track Meet that stood for 30 years. He was a scholarship basketball player at ETSC and at Louisiana Tech University. His medical training was completed at the University of Tennessee Medical School, where he specialized in Surgery; he later achieved one of the highest scores in the nation on his Surgery Board evaluations.
To fulfill his required service to the United States, Dr. Brooks chose to join the Public Health Service. He and the family were sent to Ft. Yates, ND to a Public Health Service Indian Hospital, serving the Hunkpapa Band of the Sioux Tribe. During his 2 1/2 years of service to the Sioux people as Chief Medical Officer of the Hospital, he was given the rare honor of being adopted into the Tribe. He was honored for his service, for his shared values with the Sioux people regarding nature and the arc of life, and for endearing himself by learning sufficient Sioux language to communicate functionally. He was given the Sioux name of “Rain in the Face”.
Dr. Brooks was well-read and had a deep knowledge of and appreciation for history, literature and poetry. He was a gifted writer and enjoyed sharing his observations on nature and human nature. His favored mode of writing was poetry, often with a humorous twist. He was frequently asked by friends, community members and family for copies of his works and urged to have them published.
A person of faith, a Christian, Dr. Brooks was a life-long Baptist and a student of the Bible, having read the Bible cover-to-the-cover at least 45 times. Dr. and Mrs. Brooks joined and raised their family in the First Baptist Church of Greenville. Especially since his retirement, he enjoyed his participation in the life of the church as a choir member, Sunday School teacher and as a Deacon. He expressed gratitude that their children are baptized Christians who are active in their churches.
Family was an important aspect of Dr. Brooks’s life. He enjoyed the study of his ancestors and the dissemination of Brooks Family genealogy. He also enjoyed the company, stories and traditions of the generations of both of his parents’ families who lived during his lifetime. He was a faithful supporter and the host of the last two Brooks Family Reunions, which until the intervention of the Pandemic, had drawn scores of attendees annually for 73 years.
Dr. Brooks is survived by his devoted wife, Emily Easterly Brooks, his sister Sally Brooks Meadows (William), children John Madison (Matt) Brooks, III (Vivian), Richard Lee Brooks, and Sally Elizabeth Brooks Maxwell (Emory) and treasured grandchildren, Caroline Kirk Brooks, John Madison Brooks, IV, Howard Emory Maxwell, Jr., Elizabeth Scott Maxwell, and Richard Logan Brooks.
Dr. Brooks desired to express special appreciation to Dr. Stephen Swisher, Chief of Surgery at MD Anderson, Dr. Maroun Hayek, Dr. Bob Corkern, Dr. Gregg Dickerson and Dr. Pradeep Thakare for their outstanding care during his illness. In addition,he was especially appreciative of the care given by Hospice nurses directed by Trudy Giesbrecth and by night nurse Virginia Fulton.
Dr. Brooks also wished to honor the exemplary service of the nursing staff surrounding him during his years of practice, Velma Payne, Willie Mae Williams, Martha Jean Wallace, Kathy Sullivan and his trusted surgical nurse, Mary Whittington Tackett.
The support of Dr. Matt Alexander and Brother Charles Fisher as well as many friends who visited, called and ministered has been greatly appreciated by all of the family.
Memorial gifts may be directed to Arms of Mercy, Inc., 1341 Beauchamp Road, Greenville, MS 38704, First Baptist Church Greenville, or to American Cancer Society.
The funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Greenville Mississippi, with the visitation taking place from 12:00 until 2:00 p.m. in the First Baptist Sanctuary. Those who are unable to attend the service may join virtually by way of the First Baptist Church Facebook Page or on You Tube at fbcgreenville.net/live. Interment will follow at the Greenville Cemetery, located at 1000 South Main Street. Arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home.