Roy A. Brooks

October 19, 1919 - November 8, 2005

Baby Roy Brooks

Roy A. Brooks, age 86 passed away November 8, 2005 in Hospice Care at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, Texas.

Roy Brooks when training pilots during WW II
He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Barbara, daughter of Lee and Mickey Riggs. Brooks is also survived by his sister Nancy Wiese of Tucson, Arizona. He was preceded in death by his parents, Creed F. And Catherine Brooks, and his brothers James Brooks, Buster Brooks and two sisters, Cathryn and Teddy.

He is survived by his son Sterling Brooks of Winters, Texas and Karen Cohan of San Angelo, Texas, both who were born in Fort Stockton.

Brooks was a flight instructor at Gibbs Field during World War 2. He came to Fort Stockton from El Paso with his good friend Don Kerley who was also a flight instructor at Gibbs Field.

Brooks and Kerley would meet and eventually marry sisters Barbara and Cherrye Ann Riggs.

Roy Brooks and his wife Barbara were married on December 2, 1943 at First United Methodist Church in Fort Stockton.

Brooks would learn at Gibbs Field that he would be teaching young men from all over the United States how to fly airplanes, but his greatest challenge was in teaching young men from New York City, who at the time, did not know how to drive cars.

After his assignment at Gibbs Field, Brooks became an Advanced Instrument Flight Instructor at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. At Avenger Field, he taught women pilots (WASPs) and Brooks was known to have remarked that the WASPs were some of the finest pilots he had the privilege of teaching.

After the war, Brooks was a crop duster and a pilot for Trans Texas Airways. In the late 1950s, he became a pilot for El Paso Natural Gas Company (EPNG) and was based in El Paso and Salt Lake City. During the early years flying for EPNG, Brooks flew twin engine airplanes extensively across the United States, with most of the flying over the western region and flights into Canada and Mexico. In the 1960s, EPNG expanded their operations and became a global company. Brooks earned five type-ratings on various corporate jet aircraft, and flew company executives on trips to Ireland, Switzerland, Algeria, Spain, Italy and other foreign locations.

Brooks and his wife Barbara retired in El Paso in the early 1980s and returned to Fort Stockton to be close to Mickey Riggs, their daughter Karen, son-in-law Ron Cohan and three grandsons, Mark, David and Stephen.

They later moved to Abilene, Texas in 1999 to be close to their son, Sterling and daughter in-law Mary Lee.

Brooks accumulated nearly 30,000 hours flying airplanes and instructed hundreds of people how to fly during his career. He also held an A&P license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration and on his son’s 54th birthday (October 21, 2004) finished building a 1942 Continental aircraft engine his son will install in a 1933 Pietenpol.

Shortly after World War 2 while living in Fort Stockton, Brooks purchased two damaged PT-19 airplanes that were used as trainers for cadets at Gibbs Field. He salvaged parts from both airplanes to build one airplane in his backyard. After Brooks was satisfied the end-product was airworthy, he took the airplane from his backyard, taxied it out onto what is now State Highway 194 and took off for a flight to Gibbs Field, where the airplane would be based.

Brooks also helped his son Sterling build an airplane that was successfully flown in 1992 from Avenger Field in Sweetwater, from the same runways where the elder Brooks had flown from during his time as a WASP instructor. Roy Brooks and an engine "A-80"

The funeral will be conducted Saturday, November 12 at 10 a.m., Fort Stockton Funeral Home under the direction of Steve Hampton, Jr. with Dr. Larry Krueger of Carlsbad, New Mexico officiating.