Cover photo for William Brooks, Jr.'s Obituary
William Brooks, Jr. Profile Photo
1922 William 2015

William Brooks, Jr.

January 1, 1922 — October 27, 2015

William (Bill) Emmett Brooks, Jr. of Gulf Breeze, FL died peacefully at the age of 93 on October 27, 2015. Born in Brewton, AL on January 1, 1922, Bill was the eldest of three children born to William Emmett and Catherine Ryan Brooks. Bill began a long and distinguished career in journalism at an early age, working for his father at the weekly paper, The Brewton Standard. At the University of Alabama, Bill met his future wife Edward (Ed) Archibald and majored in journalism. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honors fraternity, Phi DeltaTheta social fraternity, and was named a member of Who's Who among students in American universities and colleges (1943). Bill and Ed graduated from Bama in 1943 at which point he joined the U. S. Navy. He was commissioned as an Ensign, USNR following Officer Candidate School at Columbia University in NYC. He served in the Atlantic theater aboard the USS DuPont (DD-152) and later in the Pacific at the end of the war aboard the USS O'Brien (DD-725). Bill remained "on duty" as a U. S. Navy Reserve Officer and retired with the rank of Commander. He never lost his love or interest in our Nation's Naval Services and the contribution they make to our security and freedom. Ed and Bill married in Birmingham, AL in 1943 then moved to Brewton where they started a family, Bill continued his journalism career and started the first radio station, WEBJ. During this time, he successfully ran for the office of President of the Alabama Press Association and was active in the local Rotary Club. In 1958, Bill accepted the position of editorial writer for the daily newspaper, The Indianapolis Star in Indianapolis, IN. While in Indianapolis, Bill served as President of the Indianapolis Press Club. In 1964, he accepted the promotion of managing editor at The Vincennes Sun-Commercial in Vincennes, IN. In the 1960's and '70's, the Sun-Commercial was the first offset press in Indiana, a pioneer is publishing deadline color, the smallest newspaper in the country with a color scanner, and the first newspaper in the country to paginate on personal computers. As a result, he was the keynote speaker at the Seybold Symposium on the use of computers in journalism. Bill took the lead in naming a new Ticonderoga class cruiser - USS Vincennes (CG-49), the fourth Navy ship honoring the city of Vincennes, dating back to 1826. He received the William Henry Harrison Citation from Vincennes University for his work on the Board of Directors for the Good Samaritan Hospital, Past President and District Governor of Rotary, Past President of the Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society, President of the Hoosier State Press Association, Indiana Associated Press Managing Editor, the development of the Visitors' Center at the George Rogers Clark Historical Park, tirelessly pushed for building the new public High School for Vincennes, President of the Indianapolis Press Club and President of the Alabama Press association. Under the Indiana governorship of Robert Orr, Bill was made a Chieftan of the Sagamores of the Wabash, an honor awarded to citizens of Indiana of exceptional civic service. Retiring as publisher from the Sun-Commercial in 1990, Ed and Bill moved to Gulf Breeze, FL where they lived for the remainder of their lives. Bill was active in Rotary and taught Sunday School at the Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church at Fairpoint until he was physically unable, just prior to his death. His parents precede Bill in death and did his sister Kitty Champlain of Pensacola, FL, his brother Bolling Brooks of Graceville, FL and his wife, Ed Brooks. He is survived by his son William Emmett Brooks, III (wife Linda Brooks and their son William Emmett Brooks, IV) of Annapolis, MD, daughters Priscilla Brooks Long (husband Vincent J Long and children Georgia Priscilla and Vincent Jordan) of Gulf Breeze, FL and Rebecca Brooks Watson (husband Gregory James Watson and their sons Benjamin David Watson of Portland, OR and Duncan William Watson) of New Orleans and son Jordan Edward Brooks (wife Lisa and daughter India Joy Brooks and daughter Sarah Brooks Bingham, husband Jon and their son, Ed and Bill's only great-grandchild, Alexander Brooks Bingham, of Martinsville, IN) of Ft. Myers, FL. A time of visitation will begin at 10:00 AM followed by a Memorial Service at 10:30 AM on Thursday, November 12, 2015 in the little chapel of Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church with a reception afterwards. A Committal Service in Barrancas National Cemetery at 2:00 PM will follow the services.

Visitation


Visitation

Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church
75 Fairpoint Drive
Gulf Breeze, FL  32561
Thursday, November 12, 2015
10:00 AM

Service


Graveside Commital

Barrancas National Cemetery
One Cemetery Road
Pensacola, FL
Thursday, November 12, 2015
2:00 PM

Memorial Service

Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church
75 Fairpoint Drive
Gulf Breeze, FL  32561
Thursday, November 12, 2015

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