Charles K. Brooks

March 24, 2014

Charles K. Brooks (BS Civ Egr '49), a decorated World War II veteran and retired civil engineer who supervised construction of more than 100 Michigan bridges, died March 17, 2014, at his Plainfield Township, Mich., home. He was 89.

He was born on May 11, 1924, in Martin, Tenn., to Charles and Helen (Crockett) Brooks. The family eventually moved to the Lansing area, where Brooks attended Everett High School and met his future wife, Lydia Tomek, on a blind date.

He was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and served as a corporal gunner in the 63rd Infantry Regiment of the Red Star 6th Infantry Division. His regiment participated in 306 consecutive days of combat in New Guinea and the Philippine islands, including three beach landings. He received the Bronze Star Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Medal with three Bronze Battle Stars and three Bronze Arrow Heads, the Philippine Liberation Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, a Combat Infantry Badge, a Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Korean Occupation Medal and four overseas service bars. He was honorably discharged in December 1945.

Brooks attended Michigan State University on the GI bill and graduated in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. During his 35-year career with the Michigan Department of Transportation, Brooks directed construction of highway projects and facilities in West and Central Michigan and served as senior district engineer for 11 counties.

Early in his career, he was named head engineer for the Grand Haven drawbridge, a project he described as his greatest professional accomplishment and a source of ongoing pride. He retired in 1985 as senior district engineer for West Michigan.

He is survived by daughter Sally Brooks of Grand Rapids; son-in-law Randy Hollemans of Grand Rapids; grandchildren Brooks Hollemans, Derek Hollemans and Shannon Woznicki of Grand Rapids; great-grandson Sawyer Hollemans of Grand Rapids; sister Lela Doll of Grand Ledge; and several nieces and nephews.

Services will be at a later date.