An Appreciation of Tom Brooks

He was my grandfather, and he was a fine and good man—a pillar of the community. When he died, all of Wharton mourned. But six months later, it seemed he was forgotten just like anyone else.

ON THE FIFTH OF MARCH, 1925, MY GRANDFATHER Brooks died. I was nine years old.

A few days earlier he had been examined by a doctor for an increase in life insurance, and when it was discovered that he had a weak heart, he was turned down by the insurance company. He didn’t tell any of this to his family.

He was taking a walk past Jack Crawford’s filling station, at the far end of the downtown business section, when he collapsed on the sidewalk. He was dead by the time Dr. Davidson, the family doctor, could reach him. This was shortly after one o’clock in the afternoon. My grandmother was called, of course, and all the children then in Wharton were found and told the news. My uncle Billy, fifteen, and the youngest son, was still in high school, and he was sent for immediately. I however was told nothing and, when school was dismissed, took my usual route home past the Sante Fe tracks down Burleson Street, past the Crawford house and the Baptist church and down the dirt road (unnamed at the time) to our house.

The day was a typical March Texas day, fair, not too hot, with a slight breeze from

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