Tom Brooks: A class act
No offense, but not much grass grows under the feet of most city managers. That’s not a reflection on their abilities. It’s the nature of the job.
Tom? He almost got stuck in the sands of Port Aransas.
He maintained the friendships he made here even after he retired and moved away. He kept in touch. He came back for funerals and parties (in some cases, the terms were interchangeable – think Marie Stiewig. She would have loved it!).
He never dropped his subscription to the South Jetty.
The only reason he left, really, was because he couldn’t sort the oxygen from the moisture when he took a breath of our island air.
Well, OK. There was another reason. Moving to Goldthwaite put him right in the thick of six-man football. Prior to the move, Tom and Barbara would drive four to six hours to follow their favorite teams.
You can read the front-page story about his death to find out about the impact Tom made on Port Aransas. Here, I’m going to tell you that Tom’s love of Port Aransas and its people ran deep.
We kept up a pretty regular e-mail correspondence since he left. Free of our once more formal journalistsource relationship, we could both speak our minds, and, boy, did he! That’s when I began to understand the depth of his commitment to this little town.
At one point, I think Tom tried to put some distance between himself and Port Aransas. My guess is that it was stressing him not to be able to make a difference. The effort was short-lived. He was back in full force before long, caring as much as ever.
Our last correspondence was about a month ago. He wasn’t getting his South Jetty on time. Why did he care?
Because he cared about Port Aransas.
That was Tom Brooks.
Rest in peace, my friend.
Mary Henkel Judson is editor and copublisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at email@example.com, (361) 749-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas, TX 78373.