Walter Allen Brooks
My father's brother, Walter, was born on March 29, 1924. They always loved how that was exactly 5 years and 5 days before my father was born. Walter is the son of Walter Caswell Brooks and Ruth Autry who I wrote about just a few weeks ago here. Walter was born in Russellville, Pope, Arkansas. Though the son of a farmer, his family also prized education. His parents were older (Ruth was 32 and Walter C 50) and naturally so were his playmates. Ruth home-schooled him so he could start second grade at age 6. He continued on this accelerated path, graduating from Russellville High as valedictorian at age 17.
World War II was on but Walter was deferred to attend college at Arkansas Tech. Through a specialized Army training program, he did his medical training in three years, graduating in 1946 from the University of Arkansas medical school. The following year another important event occurred with his marriage to Marilyn Rose Gulley of Quanah Texas on July 12, 1947. Walter then served in the Army and was stationed in Arabia, bringing him many mementos.
This photo is his medical school graduation pose.
After returning to civilian life, Walter did a residency in surgery and then opened a practice in Marilyn's hometown of Quanah in 1955. Walter was very active in both the medical and civic communities and was a well-known presence in both Quanah and the Texas medical association. But I'm sure he would agree that his greatest accomplishment was his two daughters, Rebecca Ann and Mariruth. Walter loved family and always seemed happy and full of life to me. In fact, he seemed larger than life. I knew my father looked up to him as a mentor and friend. I loved to visit Quanah and travel in the truck with my uncle. He was in the car as we drove to my wedding and gave me the greatest smile and hug.
Walter Allen died peacefully on 20 April 1997 in Quanah. It was unexpected but I remember that he just took a nap and didn't wake up. He is buried there with his wife, Marilyn, who passed in 2011. We miss his twinkling blue eyes and big smile.
Walter's baby pictures are filled with family. I have a letter his father wrote him in 1929 telling him to be a good boy. Though his father died when he was only 17, I'm sure he would agree that his namesake did just that. I will try to put some of these up next week after my tech support son comes to visit. But here's a last look at a beautiful baby who grew up to serve so many in a special part of Texas.