Al Brooks, 83, Albert Lea

Published 7:00 am Sunday, March 23, 2014

Memorial services for Al W. Brooks of Albert Lea will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the Bonnerup Funeral Service in Albert Lea. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Bonnerup Funeral Service in Albert Lea and one hour prior to the service at the chapel. Interment will be in Hillcrest Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by the Albert Lea Area Veterans Groups.

Al passed away suddenly on Jan. 6, 2014, at Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz. He was 83.

Al Brooks

Al Brooks

He was born  on Oct. 1, 1930, the son of Al and Genevieve Brooks in Rapid City, S.D. He attended schools in Michigan and Iowa. After graduating from high school in Coon Rapids, Iowa, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to Korea, where he was with a forward observer squad when the Chinese swarmed into North Korea and was captured and held prisoner as a POW from November 1950 to August 1953 in Camp No. 5.

Email newsletter signup

That is where he learned the true meaning of survival and helping his fellow POWs to survive. Al received several honors for his service which included the Honorable Service Medal while POW, National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and Korean Service Medal. He always looked forward to the annual reunion with his fellow POW survivors.

After returning home, he was united in marriage to Patricia Jones  on Feb. 8, 1955 in Iowa, making that their home until moving to Albert Lea in 1959. Al worked at the Albert Lea Tribune from 1959 to 1972, when he started his own business, Brooks Safety Equipment, until his retirement in 1993. His son, Al (Minnow), took over the business. Al and Pat enjoyed 15 years of traveling and spending the winters in California and Arizona.

Al was a life member of the VFW, Ex-Prisoners of War and a member of the American Legion. He also served on the VFW Honor Guard.He loved all sports. He played fast pitch softball and was inducted into the Freeborn County Softball Hall of Fame. He also was a bowler and golfer. In addition to participating in sports, he enjoyed watching all of his grandchildren’s activities, as well as following Albert Lea sports and spending time with his children and grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Brooks, two sons, Al (Brenda) of Albert Lea and Robert (Diann) of Eagle Lake; five grandchildren, Al Brooks II (Mandy) of Albert Lea, Tami (Brandon) Schaefer of Austin, Matt Brooks of Albert Lea, Cory Brooks of Garden City and Kimberly Brooks of Belle Plaine; six great-grandchildren, Mariah, Lucas, Nolan, Koby, Brezlyn and Isabel. Sisters Beverly (Jim) Braden of Dubuque, Iowa, and Shirley (Cleo) Weeks of Des Moines; brother-in-law, Don Hofbauer of Rochester; sister-in-law, Lois Bowman of Coon Rapids, Iowa; brother-in-law Robert Jones of Escondido, Calif.; one step-brother and four step-sisters all living in California; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Don Brooks, and sisters Sally Hofbauer and Glenda Motzinger, his mother- and father-in- law and many brothers and sisters-in-law. He loved his family dearly and will never be forgotten.

He was well known and loved by many, many friends everywhere he went. Al was very patriotic and surely is still saying “God Bless the USA” in heaven. He will be greatly missed by his family, relatives and many friends.