William L. Brooks

Age 64: Contractor at Goddard center taught martial arts, aided disabled vets.

June 30, 2008|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,Sun reporter

William L. Brooks, a retired contractor with the Raytheon Service Co. at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, died of lung cancer June 21 at the Veterans Administration Rehabilitation and Extended Care Center in Baltimore. The Annapolis resident was 64.

In his position at Raytheon, Mr. Brooks managed the vehicle fleet and ensured that supplies got to NASA stations around the world, according to his wife, Sara Jensen Brooks. He traveled extensively to Guam, Hawaii, Bermuda and elsewhere, she said.

Mr. Brooks attended high school at City College, where he was a starter on the basketball team, and earned an associate's degree in logistics from Baltimore City Community College.

He served in the Army in Vietnam from 1963 to 1969 as a sharpshooter with the 101st Airborne Division, leaving the service with the rank of sergeant.

Mrs. Brooks said her husband was an avid card player and dancer and would do imitations of Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. She said that he and his sister, Carole, used to arrange and compete in hip-hop dance contests in the city.

He also taught martial arts to children and, when he began treatments for cancer in 2000, became involved doing volunteer work at the VA hospital.

"He would take disabled veterans to the ball games or on other outings," Mrs. Brooks said. "He would push the wheelchairs. He felt it was important to raise their spirits and give them hope."

Mrs. Brooks said she and her husband were a couple for the past 15 years and had been married for the past four.

Funeral services were Friday.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Michael Brooks and Erik Brooks, both of Baltimore; a daughter, Tanisha Olin of Baltimore; an adopted daughter, Lillian Jensen of Annapolis; three stepchildren, Jonathan Frazier of Baltimore and Kate Jensen and Carl Jensen, both of Annapolis; six sisters, Beatrice Riley, Frances Quarterman, Mary Anderson, Carole Miles, Rita Consad and Nina Dennard, all of Baltimore; and eight grandchildren. A marriage to the former Estelle Ford ended in divorce.

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