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William W. Brooks

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William W. Brooks Obituary

William W. "Bill" Brooks

90, of Fishers, died on March 20 at Prairie Lakes Health Campus with family at his side. Bill was born on July 24, 1922 in Meriden, Conn., to William Conrad Brooks and Jeane Wilson Brooks. His family later moved to Niagara Falls, NY, where Bill began his intense love of golf at 11 years, caddying and playing with his father. He won the Junior Golf Championship of the city in 1938 and 1939. Afterward, Bill decided never to compete again with anyone, but only to enjoy the pleasure of golfing through his own play. Bill believed that the color green was his favorite due to the richness of golf courses. Highlights of playing over the years included the Augusta "Masters" Course, the St. Andrews "Old" Course in Scotland, and a remarkable course which lay amid the sand in front of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. When not on the golf course, Bill enjoyed classical music, theater, opera, movies, books, museums and three crossword puzzles a day. Another facet of his personality is revealed by his founding three optimist clubs in different cities he lived in in Indiana.

Bill attended the University of Michigan for two years majoring in Languages: Latin, French, German, and Greek. Building on this knowledge he could also speak some Italian and Dutch. Bill was always intrigued with words as a bridge between people in different cultures. While at Michigan, Bill joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) Fraternity.

After the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, Bill wanted to enlist, but he was underage and his parents would not sign permission for their only child. When he was old enough he enlisted in the Army Air Corp (forerunner of the U.S. Air Force), serving as a Bomber Pilot 1943-45. Upon discharge, Bill changed course and attended the University of Indiana, returning to the state where his parents were born, met and married. He graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor's Degree in English and Journalism. Bill began his journalistic career working in Public Relations companies in Chicago and Indiana, and then for four Indiana newspapers. The last paper was the Indianapolis Star, where he won awards for cleverly-worded headlines.

In 1976, Bill changed course again, and in 1977 began training and education as an Alcohol/Drug Counselor. He attained the credential of Certified Alcohol Counselor at the highest level authorized by the state, CAC II, and at the national level, NCAC II. He began his work in an early employee assistance program, which allowed him to help people at all socioeconomic levels. It became evident that Bill was a man who could connect easily and sincerely with all types of clients and their families.

Over the next 30+ years, Bill worked in several inpatient and outpatient programs, both in public relations and counseling. He especially liked working with jail and probation groups. His honesty and humility, and his ability to communicate profound concepts in easily understandable words endeared him to his clients and their families and earned him the respect and affection of his peer professionals. His quiet spirituality and wholesomeness, balanced by a priceless sense of humor had a way of reaching into the hearts of others.Bill continued to counsel into his early 80s with all his enthusiasm and commitment intact.

Bill was dedicated to carrying the message that alcohol and drug addiction is a treatable disease. In that light, while working at a treatment center, Bill wrote a column entitled "Battle of the Bottle" for seven years, which was carried by 40 newspapers. He received countless letters of inquiry and gratitude not only from Americans, but South America and England. Each letter was answered personally. Bill maintained a large correspondence with readers and other professionals, although he knew the power of the press, he always believed that the personal touch is the greatest way to help those afflicted and affected by addiction, and also advocating for the counselors who labor in the front lines against the power of addiction. Bill appeared over the years on numerous TV shows or spoke to various clergy, educational, medical, legal, labor and management organizations. He was gifted in his ability to explain, educate, and inspire compassion and action to help alcoholics and addicts get treatment.

Bill was especially active in community work and his own professional organizations. He was a founding member of the Indianapolis affiliate of the National Council on Alcoholism (NCA), a lay group committed to education about alcohol problems to the public. He served on the NCA executive board for five years doing public relations work and was untiring in fundraising activities. Bill was an early member of the Indiana Counselors Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ICAADA). For nine years he served as chairman of the selection committee for that organizations "Counselor of the Year" award. Although affiliated with a treatment center, he was lauded for his maintenance of professionalism and his ability to refrain from bias, handling the yearly award with discretion and impartiality. Fittingly, in 1990, Bill was recognized at the national level for his many professional and personal qualities by receiving the prestigious "Professional of the Year" award from the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).

Bill is survived by his wife of 36 years, Kay, who he called "D.W." (Dream Wife), and his four children: daughters Fagan Golden (Michael) and Kate Palmer (Randy); sons Chris (Donna) and Drew (Sondra). He leaves behind seven grandchildren: Gemma, Meredith, Heath and Maggie Brooks; Jasmyne Monroe; and Ben and Luke Luster. Predeceasing Bill were his beloved canine buddies Sparky Brooks and Barcus Aurelius Brooks.

Arrangements entrusted to Indiana Funeral Care and Crematory of Indianapolis. No services will be held. A private family burial will take place in June at Greenlawn Cemetery in Franklin, IN. Online condolences can be submitted at Memorial contributions in Bill's name may be made to: Progress House 201 S. Shelby Indianapolis, IN 46202.

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on Mar. 24, 2013
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