Roger Nagle Brooks, 81, a longtime resident of Richmond, died on Saturday, May 4, 2019. He passed peacefully in the comfort of his home surrounded by his wife and five children.
He was born the son of the late Ella (Murray) Brooks Pease and George C. Brooks on March 30, 1938, in Binghamton, New York. He graduated from Binghamton Central High School in the class of 1956. The first in his family to attend college, Roger pursued a B.A. in English and graduated from Rutgers University class of 1960. He was a member of Chi Psi fraternity.
Following college, Roger was commissioned an officer in the United States Marine Corps. As an infantry officer, he led the 3rd platoon “C” company, 1st battalion, 8th Marines. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, he was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, and later served as an aerial observer. At the rank of Captain, he was honorably discharged in January, 1965.
In 1961, in the middle of a blizzard, he married his college sweetheart, Phyllis Anne Humphrey, at the Nichols Methodist Church in Trumbull, CT. In December 2018, they celebrated their fifty-seventh wedding anniversary.
Roger prided himself on his strong work ethic and commitment to his professional life. He was employed by Union Camp Corporation in the sales division and worked for the company for thirty-four years, retiring in 1999. Until his death, he retained strong friendships with former colleagues and associates with whom he had developed personal relationships.
In his 30s, Roger embraced a spiritual path and was drawn increasingly to a life of service to God and community. While still working full-time, he became a pastor of the Westport Methodist Church. In 1993, he founded the Village Church in West Swanzey. On top of that, he held a weekly Bible study at the Cheshire County Jail for many years. A highlight of his ministry was a trip to Africa as part of a church leadership training conference in 2001. Through their work in the church, Roger and Phyllis touched countless lives with their compassion, guidance, and charity. He stepped down as Senior Pastor of the Village Church in 2010.
He had many interests in life. He was a voracious reader and eloquent writer. He loved sharing his knowledge and insight with all who were interested – and a few who were not. He played music with great enthusiasm (in lieu of mastery) on the guitar and banjo. He enjoyed running, riding his BMW motorcycle, and putting the top down on his Corvette. He also served as a volunteer fireman and member of the Planning Board in Richmond.
Roger was a family man who took great pride in the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. A man who possessed great wit and a unique sense of humor, he also was a kind, considerate, and soulful friend who welcomed all into his home: published author, sanitation worker, itinerant artist, or wayward traveler looking for a dry night’s rest (all true stories.) Frugal and modest in lifestyle, he gave generously of himself to help others.
Roger is survived by his wife, Phyllis A. Brooks of Richmond; his children: Stacey A. Brooks and her husband, Rafi Landau, of Rye, NH; George C. Brooks and his wife, Mary Kay, of Roswell, GA; Eric E. Brooks and his wife, Diane, of South Weymouth, MA; Kelley L. Brooks of Somerville, MA; Heather E. Brooks and her husband, Thomas Driscoll, of Portsmouth, NH. He is also mourned by a man he considered a son, Philip Sherrick of Jacksonville, FL. He leaves thirteen grandchildren, cousins, extended family, and friends. Roger is pre-deceased by his parents as well as his beloved dogs, Shadow, Randall, and Skeleton von Friendly Giant, who famously received several votes for Richmond Selectman.
Calling hours will be held at the Village Church, 121 Cobble Hill Road, West Swanzey, NH, on Saturday, May 18, 2019 from 10:00 to 11:00am with a Celebration of Life service to follow. Burial with military honors will be held privately in the family lot, at the Earl Howard Cemetery in Richmond.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Roger and Phyllis Brooks Scholarship fund for graduating MRHS seniors. Donations can be made online at https://brooksscholarship.givingfuel.com/donate or via check payable to:
Trustees of Trust Funds
Swanzey Town Hall
620 Old Homestead Highway
P.O. Box 10009,
Swanzey, NH 03446-0009
Please include “Roger and Phyllis Brooks Scholarship fund” in the memo line.
All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Home and Crematories, 46 South Winchester St., Swanzey, NH, 03446. www.cheshirefamilyfh.com