We speak often of the Greatest Generation, and not all of these great role models were soldiers in World War II. This was the generation that believed hardship could be endured and overcome with hard work and without complaint, and they demonstrated that as fact. Laulie Brooks of Tacoma, WA bore all the characteristics of that often praised generation. After difficult younger years, she forged on with indomitable spirit rebuilt her life. I consider hers a life worth sharing, and I share her with you through the following obituary written by her family for the Tacoma News:
LAULIE L. BROOKS passed away on April 15, 2013, after a brief illness. Born in Miami, FL on March 26, 1927, she was raised in Jacksonville.
During the Depression she obtained an 8th grade education before being abandoned at age 15 in Miami by her mother and step-father while on a trip. She then began her road to self-preservation and a career. She lived at the YWCA, working at a dime-store, then a dress shop. She supported herself through WWII, and at the end of the war, met and married Frank Brooks who was in the Navy.
After the war, Frank transferred to the Army. They had two children. Following Frank to many locations throughout the U.S. and 3 trips to Germany ( 8 years total), Laulie was responsible for turning their ever-changing residences into comfortable homes, usually without assistance and during many separations.
She was sometimes employed outside the home during these deployments, but most times not as it was difficult to obtain employment for transient military dependants, or it wasn't permitted. When employment was obtained, it was usually at minimum wage or below. Laulie persevered, becoming a wonderful cook, and assuring that her family and home was always clean and comfortable.
She instilled great values and work ethics in each of us. We never knew we were doing without because she made our lives wonderful and full of laughter. She maintained that any job or task should be given our best efforts. She created an environment where our friends felt very welcome and enjoyed congregating. She made the holidays memorable even when Dad was absent, which was often.
Following Frank's retirement from the military in 1963, they settled in Tacoma, WA. Laulie worked clerical at a door company on the Tideflats, and then went to work in the Real Estate Dept. at Puget Sound National Bank. In 1970 Frank had a debilitating stroke, making him unable to work and requiring a lot of care and assistance.
Laulie continued at the bank, caring for Frank in her off hours without complaint. He passed away in 1988, and Laulie moved in with her daughter, Fran, and her husband, Ben, whom she considered a 2nd son. Laulie retired from PSNB as an Assistant Vice President in 1992.
She lived with Fran and Ben for 25 years. It was a true partnership. She was insistent on doing "her part" and she truly did. She was a wonderful resource of love and support to all of her loved ones, always making her grandchildren and great-grandchildren feel very special! She was very loved and leaves a big hole in all our hearts. She was little but mighty.
(AFTER-NOTE FROM ROSE ABOUT TOWN: My husband and I knew Laulie. We had never heard of her early years, and it seems she didn't speak about those years, preferring instead to focus on the present tense and the people around her. She was generous of heart and spirit and always fun to be with. She was a woman of character, and she was a joyful, loving and steady influence on her two children, 7 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. She has left her special mark on their lives and their hearts. Rest in peace, Laulie. You will not be forgotten).