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Richard Brooks

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Richard Brooks

February 12, 1931 - May 2, 2017


With deep sorrow, we announce the passing of Richard Carl Lincoln Brooks on May 2, 2017 at the age of 86 years after a blessedly brief struggle with cancer.  A native of Wembley, Alberta, Richard was born Feb. 12, 1931.

His grandparents on both sides were pioneers in the Peace River Country of Alberta. His father, Carl Chandler Brooks, immigrated to the Pipestone Creek area near Wembley in 1918 with his family from Twin Falls (Filer), Idaho, at the age of 17.  Carl’s father was Flavus Brooks, mother Henrietta Kilmer Brooks, and sisters Marie, Crystal, and Ethylyn. Richard was the first grandchild for this family and his unmarried aunts showered him with affection and lifelong caring.

Richard’s mother, Agnes Watson Brooks Campbell, came as a two-year-old to the Wembley area from County Down, Ireland. The Watson family had nine children and Agnes was the youngest.  Agnes’ family was John Watson, Jane Morrow Watson, and the children John Finlay, William George, Jane (Jean), James Sydney,  Violet, Emily, Margaret, Sid, and Agnes.  The many first cousins were lifelong companions for Richard.

Richard was predeceased by his wife, Zena Anne Luciak Brooks, of Vegreville, Alberta.  They were married Oct. 27, 1953 and were together 61 years, receiving a congratulatory note from Queen Elizabeth II for their diamond anniversary.

After a short time as a bank trainee as a young man, he knew it was not for him.  He started working in the oilfields with Cascade Drilling, and the oil industry was in his life from then on.  After marrying, Zena and Richard were part of the early years of the oil patch, moving constantly with their trailer as work required.

Richard is survived by four children, born during the nomadic years.  Susan Marie Lange, Catherine Jane Jenkins, Edith Mae Shackleton, and David Richard Brooks.

After finding some stability with a permanent home in Sherwood Park, Alberta, the family moved once more to Port Colborne, Ontario in 1969.  Although the sting of moving far from family and friends in Alberta was great, the family did find many happy times on Lake Erie with a sailboat and speedboat. There were many many visitors through the years so contacts were never lost.  Richard found success with his career, becoming the General Manager for Underwater Gas Developers.  After retirement, Richard and Zena had a year with a grand tour throughout Canada and the U.S. in a motor home, doing what they loved most, visiting with friends, old and new.

Richard and Zena settled in Oliver, B.C. in 1989 where they remained to the end. Richard was an active member of the community, serving with the Senior Curling Club as President, in the Senior Center as videographer of Saturday morning dances, in the Alliance Church also as videographer to broadcast services for a local TV station, as a volunteer with the Gleaners, and as an longtime volunteer with the Kiwanis Club in Oliver where he found great joy working in the electronics corner.

Richard’s father was a big-game outfitter and guide in the Peace River area which meant that Richard grew up on horses and had a deep appreciation of the wilderness.  He was able to reconnect with this love by making many trail rides in his retirement into the wilderness he knew and loved in the Grande Cache area of Alberta.  He found a kindred spirit in Norm Drysdale.  There were many trail rides with Richard’s brothers and their children, and with the Drysdale clan.

Richard’s father died tragically in a plane crash (a CF-BTX Barkley-Grow) in the wilderness when Richard was 14 years old.   Richard and his brothers were able to place a commemorative plaque at the site of the crash on Kakwa Lake during one of the trail rides.  As well, they placed a plaque near Brooks Falls on the Monkman River in Monkman Provincial Park, which commemorated the naming of the falls after Richard’s father.

Richard was predeceased by his brother Cecil Brooks of Melville, Saskatchewan and wife Gladys Alexander Brooks. The children of Cecil are Dennis, Larry, Curtis, Brian (predeceased), and Todd.  He is survived by two brothers, Dennis Brooks and his wife Emma Miller Brooks, and by Stanley Brooks and his wife Lori Wideman Brooks. Stanley’s children are Duane, Shane, and Jason.  Although Richard and his brothers grew up without a father, there was never a bitter word and all brothers have faced life with humor and strength.

Richard also served as president of the Mutual Admiration Society he formed with his eight grandchildren – Emily Kalda of Reston, Virginia, Katie Kalda of Panama City Beach, Florida, Courtney Vahrmeyer and husband Aaron of Thornhill, Ontario,  Ashton Wright and husband Adam of Toronto, Quentin Carl Kenneth Brooks of Redwood City, California, Scott Shackleton of Calgary, Alberta, Sophie Brooks Lange of Elk Grove, California, and Sarah Lange of Elk Grove, California. No matter the distance he had to travel, he was close to all his grandchildren.

A viewing will be held May 7, 2107 at the Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Home.  A Memorial Service will be held in the summer of 2017 in Grande Prairie.  Richard’s ashes will be placed beside those of his wife, Zena, at the Lake Saskatoon Cemetery where many of his beloved ancestors are also buried.

Condolences and tributes may be directed to the family by visiting

Arrangements entrusted to Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service & Crematorium, Oliver & Osoyoos, BC.



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From: Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service & Crematorium

Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Ken and Judy Richardson
Relation: Friends

We really got a shock to see your Dad’s Obituary in the paper Susan, Catherine, Edith and David. We met your parents on the Queen Charlotte Islands 1958. Our thoughts and love are with you at this time and your parents will be greatly missed. We would appreciate it if you could let us know that you received our Condolences.

From: Charles Helm
Relation: we shared a love of the history of the Monkman Pass area

So sorry to hear of the passing of a great man. I knew Richard through my interest in the history of the Tumbler Ridge area, and the heroic exploits of the Monkman Pass expedition of the late 1930s. Richard’s father Carl was one of those heroes, and Richard did everything possible to keep his Dad’s memory alive and celebrated. During Richard’s many visits to Tumbler Ridge provided immense support to our museum and contributed to our exhibits. I was so inspired by his example that I submitted a proposal to the BC Geographical Names Unit for the naming of Brooks Falls for the highest of The Cascades in Monkman Provincial Park. Thankfully, the proposal was successful and enabled the creation of a plaque overlooking the falls installed by the family. There is a wonderful photo of Richard and Cecil in Monkman Lake in our community centre in Tumbler Ridge. I will miss him dearly as a friend and mentor, and extend condolences to his family on behalf of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation.

From: Curtis Watson Vagt and Sadie Vagt
Relation: Curt's cousin.

To Richard’s Family, Siblings and Friends,
We were sad to hear of Richard’s passing on May 2, 2017.
Richard was a loved and respected man for sure and his cousin Curt Vagt was just one of many who admired and looked up to him. Richard lived an interesting, full and good life full of adventure. We saw Richard last on April 18 as we visited around his kitchen table with him, Betty Mae, Susan, Cathy and Shirley. He updated us on his health and things and he asked about us and various family members. He was so grateful for all he had in life and grateful for his care givers Betty Mae, Susan and Cathy and made reference to them as his angels. Losing a loved one is never easy and you/we will miss him. He lives on through his family, the life he lead and the memories he made. Our memories are all good ones and that last visit with him was a gift and left a lasting memory of the special person he was. When we left that day we knew Richard would be alright and that he was in good hands. Rest now Richard and God Bless!
Please know our thoughts are with all of you.
With Care and Sympathy,
Curt and Sadie Vagt

Service Schedule

  Funeral Service

Date & Time:
May 6, 2017
Beginning at 3:00pm

Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Chapel
5855 Hemlock Street
Oliver, BC Canada V0H 1T0

5855 Hemlock Street
Oliver, BC Canada V0H 1T0

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

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