“Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23
Jim Brooks received his crown of righteousness on Sunday, May 14, 2023.
Three words that describe the life Jim lived are faith, family and friends. All of these traits were lived with decades of commitment. A memorial service will be May 25, in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Waco. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by the service at 11 a.m., officiated by Dr. Matt Snowden.
Jim was born in Jena, Louisiana, to James Dargan Brooks, Sr. and Narine Peterson Brooks. He was the oldest of four sons. Jim’s father was the local high school principal for many years, so the boys knew every family and house in town. Jim had a great childhood playing sports, including football for the Jena Giants; hunting and fishing with his grandfather, Dada Peterson; and running and horsing around with his brothers and his best friend, Terry Copeland. He always treasured time with his brothers, even into adulthood. When he was a senior in high school, his family moved to Waco, and he became a lifetime Baylor Bear. During his undergraduate studies, he met the love of his life, Shelley, in Spanish class. On November 11, 1972, they married, and this past November celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
After their marriage, Jim and Shelley settled in Waco where both continued to pursue their education at Baylor University. Always inquisitive and eager to learn, Jim pursued a Bachelor in Education majoring in History, received his Masters of Business Administration in 1975, and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1976, passing all four parts of the exam on his first sitting. Beginning in 1972, while serving for six years in a military intelligence unit of the Army Reserve, he met another lifelong friend, Vince Marino.
Jim began each day with the sports page and a devotional (and in that order). He loved sports of all kinds, but his passion was college football. This was a constant source of discussion and bonding among Jim, his friends from all stages of life, and his family. For many years he enjoyed running and often entered local races, played whatever sport was in season with his boys, enjoyed yard work, and was a close observer of the natural world around him. He traveled a great deal with his family, including summer trips around the country, hunting trips to family places in West Texas, as well as hiking and skiing trips.
Jim loved people and found meaning in his career as a calling of service. He was employed for twelve years in the finance department of Central Texas Iron Works. After being the CFO for Ray Perryman and Central Freight Lines, he moved into banking where he served his customers for seventeen years as Vice President and Branch Manager with Community Bank and Trust. His numerous colleagues and customers over the years appreciated Jim’s friendly demeanor and sense of humor.
Jim’s greatest privilege was raising their two sons, Marcus James Brooks and Wesley Morriss Brooks. Jim was an attentive and devoted father and spent a great deal of time with his sons – coaching or watching them play whatever sport was in season, taking them to ballgames, and teaching them the joys of hunting and fishing.
Jim had time for everyone, but the choices of where and with whom to spend his time transformed into lifetime commitments and lifetime friends. His devotion to relationships created an abundance of memories as Jim and several of his friends made annual backpacking trips to a wide variety of scenic trails including the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Trail. A group of them, the Lunch Bunch, ate together weekly for 42 years (Dan Davis, Bill Ramer, Spencer Moore, Dick Belf, Glenn Hanna and Larry Gurley); never repeating the same location for several years, gathering up enough notoriety to make the cover of the Waco Tribune Herald at one point.
Jim was dedicated and loyal to his friends, and they have remained dedicated to him; especially for the duration of and regardless of his decades long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He faced Parkinson’s proactively, with self-discipline, courage, and without complaint. Battling Parkinson’s affects everyone and requires group support. Jim had no better partner to navigate this disease with than Shelley.
Jim and Shelley experienced many travels together including visits to Australia, New Zealand, Czech Republic, and Switzerland. Cruises became a favorite mode of touring for seeing Alaska, the Baltic Sea, Canada and the St. Lawrence River. Of course, Jim worked several out-of-state Baylor Bear football games into his itinerary. Those trips were frequently made with Jeter and Claudette Basden.
While he came from a long family line of faithful, Gospel ministers, Jim’s faith was genuinely his own. He was truly a reflection of God’s generous love through his relationships and service. One only had to hear him pray to know the depth, sincerity, and devotion of his love for Jesus Christ. He humbly modeled consistent spiritual disciplines which bore the kind of fruit that would go on to bless everyone around him - especially those in his church family.
Jim was a member of First Baptist Church of Waco for over 50 years, serving his Lord and Church in many ministries. He understood the noble calling of discipleship, and he became a mentor to many, serving as the church’s youngest deacon at age 27 and teaching 4th grade Sunday School for 10 years as well as various children’s and youth programs. From the invisible care for the most vulnerable in his community to the adventure of international mission trips, Jim faithfully served and sought to grow God’s Kingdom in a variety of ways for the entirety of his life.
His loved ones left to honor and cherish his memory are wife, Shelley Louise Morriss Brooks; sons and their wives, Marcus & Jenna Brooks and Wesley & Paige Brooks; grandchildren: Kathryn, Hannah, Josie, Caleb and James Brooks; brothers and their wives, Jeff & Teresa Brooks, Joey & Paula Brooks, John & Donna Brooks; sisters-in-law, Molly Morriss and Lucy & Jim Dingel; as well as numerous nephews and one niece. Sincere thank you to Teresa Gingles, Geneva Graves, and Dustin Brooks for the tender, loving care they gave to Jim.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to First Baptist Church of Waco Missions Fund or the charity of your choice.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7