On October 10, 1937, Herbert Ell Brooks was welcomed to his loving parents Herbert Ell and Georgeanna Newman Brooks of Montross, Virginia. He was called by his middle name “Ell”given by his parents and his siblings. Herbert Ell was introduced to Christ as a child at the Siloam Baptist Church in Montross, Virginia. He received his primary and secondary education in the Westmoreland County School System.
After completing his education, Herbert Ell received training and licensure as a tractor trailer driver and began his professional career with the Allen Yateman Company where he performed as an OTR Commercial Truck Driver for five years. He was then hired by the Potomac Supply Corporation in Kinsale, Virginia where he continued his professional driving career, eventually achieving promotion a traner and later supervisor. His loyalty and commitment to his job was exemplified in his volunteering to work additional shifts on Saturdays to ensure that all the required deliveries were made, and deadlines reached. This love for his job lead to a fifty-eight-year career with Potomac Supply. Herbert Ell’s dedication to his profession and loyalty to the company earned him great respect with the owner of the company, Robert Carden and his sons, Bill and Herb and granddaughter, Stacey. He even continued to volunteer and worked, even after his retirement.
Leading by example, Herbert Ell inspired a sense of integrity and encouraged his son Herbert Jr. (deceased) and his nephew Frankie by taking them to work with him, often. By equipping them with the tools of the profession and instilling in them a strong work ethic, Herbert Ell and his brother Clarence (deceased) started their own company, Brooks Brothers Trucking, which operated many years. An avid car enthusiast, Herbert Ell, had a passion for car racing. He and his best friend William “Mutt” Dixon were pioneers in their community, establishing themselves as the one of the first black race car drivers in the area. The two of them established a racing club called The Mutt Dixon Drag Racing Team of which Herbert Ell was a co-founder and active member.
Herbert Ell’s philanthropy is well documented as he was known for providing financial assistance and consistent contributions in support of the dreams of his favorite nephew, Lonnie White, and Rudolph Thomas, who he recognizes as his son, in rebuilding race cars for racing.
He was instrumental in helping his sons & nephews in purchasing their first vehicles. He often accompany his sons & nephews to car racing events on weekends at Colonial Beach Raceway, Colonial Beach, Virginia, Maryland International Raceway, Budd’s Creek Raceway, Mechanicsville, Maryland, Daytona Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, and the Indiana International Raceway.
His keen interest in sports also included football and basketball on the professional, collegiate, and high school levels. His favorite NFL team, which he referred to as the Flying Eagles, was the Philadelphia Eagles. Herbert Ell strongly gave his support to the football and basketball teams of A.T. Johnson, Washington and Lee High Schools of Montross, Virginia where he attended games to witness the play of his sons, grandsons, nephews, and other young men from the neighborhood.
As was customary, at A.T. Johnson High School, the doors were locked after tip-off. Herbert Ell’s schedule made it impossible to arrive on time for all games. Instead of missing these events, he would view the games from the outside window while standing on top upside down trash cans. His loyalty was noticed by then Principal Joseph Tompkins who would personally unlock the doors so that Herbert Ell could witness the games in person. His allegiance to Virginia State University sports was in support of his nephew Jeffrey White and in honor of his grandparents, Elmond, and Maria Brooks, who invested time, finances and supported the development and opening of Virginia State University.
As a servant of his community, Herbert Ell provided attention and assistance to the elderly, the sick and those in need. He would use his annual bonuses earned from his employer to provide the financial help for the impoverished in our neighborhood. He believed his job was to bless those less fortunate and it was his duty to share what God had given him.
Herbert Ell contributed to the education of his sons, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, confirming his belief that family must support each other. As one of the Brooks’ family patriarchs, he made generous contributions to the Annual Brooks Family Reunion, ensuring its occurrence and that there was always enough funding to cover all expenses. Kind and very humble, he had a gentle soul, showing love by visiting his sisters daily.
Herbert Ell Brooks transitioned from this life to eternal glory on Monday, February 27, 2023, at his residence with his wife Barbara, and daughter Debora by his side to be reunited with his loved ones, parents, Herbert and Georgianna, son, Herbert Ell Brooks, Jr. (Nina), sisters, Mary White, Louise White, Eunice Lee, and Susie Gant. His brothers, Robert, Johnnie, Eddie, Clarence, and James Brooks.
He was united in matrimony to Louise Hortense Lee and their union was blessed with three children, Bonnie Harris Lee (David), Herbert Ell Brooks, Jr. deceased (Nina) and Debora Brooks.
His marital union with Barbara Lee, lasted fifty-eight years and yielded a blessing of four sons, Gerald “Jerry” Brooks (Monica), Kevin Brooks, John Brooks (Tonita), Daniel “Danny” Brooks (Nicole).
The legacy of Herbert Ell Brooks is also celebrated by his son & daughters: Vecelia Gaskins Tate, Yolanda Molly Winchester, Bridgette Gaskins, Yolanda Yvette Brooks, Cindy Ingram, and James Howard Slater.
His transition is mourned by his sister, Annie Turner; brothers-in-law, Archie White and Reverend Wilbur Dameon (Ada); sisters-in-law: Barbara Brooks, Peggy Samuel (Frank), and Ireland Rowell; his loving and supportive grandchildren: Dameon Brooks (Quyne), Bobbie Wilson (Dre), Brandon Brooks, Corey Williams, Tamera Brooks, Erica Brooks (Byron), Kevin Brooks, Jr., Ashton Brooks, Jaylen Brooks, Kennedy Brooks, Kyle Brooks, Brianna Brooks, Daniel Brooks, Jr. (Shauryce), Breshaunda Brooks (Curtis), Daries Brooks, Mynik Stanback (deceased), Charvez Brooks, Tantanea Ashton, and Shamire Teasley; twenty-one great-grandchildren; and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, and close friends.
We are blessed to have the testimony that someone as loved and respected as Herbert Ell Brooks personally impacted our lives. He is a father, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a leader, a mentor and most of all a FRIEND. Though he no longer walks this earth with us, we are secure in knowing that because of his legacy, he will live FOREVER in our hearts.
Funeral Services for Herbert E. Brooks, Sr., will be held on Friday, March 10 at12 Noon in the sanctuary of the Little Zion Baptist Church, 7748 Leedstown Road, Oak Grove, Virginia.
Interment will follow in the Brooks-Newman Family Cemetery, Grainery Road, Montross, Virginia.
His remains may be viewed from 4PM until 6PM on Thursday, March 9 in the chapel of the WELDON-FISHER FUNERAL HOME and from 10 AM until service time on Friday at Little Zion Baptist Church.
***MANDATORY mask will be required ***
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