John Hayes Brooks

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, December 29, 2018

John Hayes Brooks, 74, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Vicksburg, on Dec. 26, 2018. He was born Jan. 2, 1944, to Marion Hayes Brooks and Shirley Peck Brooks in Vicksburg. On June 5, 1974, John married Sandra Jo Mashburn. The couple had one son, Robert Hayes Brooks (1979), and one daughter, Lara Whittington Brooks (1983).

John was preceded in death by his father Marion, mother Shirley, maternal aunt Ruth Peck Byrd and husband James, and maternal aunt Allie Peck Barnes and husband CJ. John is survived by his wife Sandra, son Hayes Brooks and wife Susanna, daughter Lara Brooks Biggers and husband Matt, and grandchildren Simmons Brooks, Taylor Biggers, and Fletcher Brooks. He is also survived by his sister Marion Neubert and her husband Hunter, nephews Eugene Neubert and Chris Neubert, and cousin Ronald Robinson and wife Virginia.

John graduated H.V. Cooper High School in Vicksburg in 1961. He attended Hinds Community College for two years and then attended Mississippi State University, from which he graduated with a degree in Industrial Technology in 1965. While at Mississippi State, John was a member of Acacia Fraternity. After graduation, John taught drafting at Warren Central High School and coached the golf team.

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John enlisted in the United States Navy on May 16, 1966. He was called to active duty as a radarman, third class, aboard the USS Intrepid on February 28, 1967. He served aboard the Intrepid during its deployment in the Tonkin Gulf during the Vietnam War. John was honorably released from active duty on Feb. 9, 1969, and served in the United States Naval Reserve until Oct. 29, 1971.  His service only strengthened his love for his country.

After his discharge from the United States Navy, John was a civilian employee of the United States Army Corps of Engineers for 33 years, 14 years with the Mississippi Valley Division and 19 years with the Mississippi River Commission. He retired in 2008.

John was a long-time member of First Presbyterian Church in Vicksburg, which he served for many years as an Elder on the church’s Session. He was a friend to all and enjoyed visiting with old friends and making new ones, cup of coffee in hand. John had a life-long love-hate relationship with Mississippi State sports. He enjoyed the outdoors, whether hunting, fishing, golfing, or simply watching birds.

John had a spirit and desire for service, coaching youth sports (even soccer, which he knew nothing about), working with the youth of First Presbyterian, and volunteering his time and efforts in the renovation and construction of Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center, the immersive school for mentally challenged adolescents where his wife Sandra taught. During his retirement, John spent his time traveling with Sandra and friends, visiting his grandchildren, and crafting in his woodworking shop, We-Pop Originals. He also enjoyed volunteering with Meals on Wheels.

Funeral services will take place at First Presbyterian Church, located at 1501 Cherry Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi, on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be held at First Presbyterian Church prior to the service from 9-11 a.m. A family graveside service will occur at Bolton Cemetery in Bolton, Mississippi. Pallbearers will be Dale McClung, Dan Hall, Bobby Mashburn, Richard Mellon, Eugene Neubert and Chris Neubert.  Honorary pallbearers will be George Rutledge, George Cronia, Jesse Oldham, Martin Pace, James Biggers, Taylor Mellon and Robert Mashburn.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center.