Whitehall-On Friday, September 18th around 9:15am, Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company Second Assistant Chief, James P. Brooks. Jr, began his exit of this life as dramatically as he had entered it 45 years before.
Jim lived his life on his own terms and was as stubborn as they came. He loved to be in charge and made that clear from the start when on July 1st, 1975, he determined it was time to start his life and was born on the bathroom floor of a small Williams Street apartment in Whitehall, NY to his parents, Maura A. Lafayette and James P. Brooks Sr.
His strong will and determination were only paled by his amazing sense of humor and quick wit. Jim enjoyed being with friends and family while doing things he loved, such as Kayaking, Golfing, Shooting, Fishing, playing Texas Hold ‘em, Camping, and watching the 49’ers; being in his presence you were assured constant laughter and stories. His harmless pranks and witty remarks will forever be remembered and missed.
James joins his paternal grandparents, Conservation Officer John A. Brooks and his wife Rosalie K. Brooks, maternal grandparents, D&H Railroad Retiree, Oscar E. Lafayette and Cecilia M. Lafayette, and Uncle Richard “Dick” Lafayette. His family celebrates the reunion of Jim with his Cousin and first best friend, Daniel (Danny) Lafayette. They are once again back together laughing, telling stories, and for sure causing shenanigans with Jim’s first rescue dog and best friend Jake at their side. Grandpa and Grandma Brooks are sharing heavenly smiles seeing his baby sister Jessica Mary in her big brothers arms once again.
Growing up, many of Jim’s summers were spent traveling with his mother Maura and seeing the country through the window of an 18-wheeler. Jim and his Mother had a strong and loving relationship and enjoyed spending time riding horses, shooting guns, family dinners and relaxing quality time. Jim loved to spend time fishing with his Father James (Jim) Sr., taking long rides and reminiscing over breakfasts together; the love between the two was evident.
Jim joined the Whitehall Fire Explorers program while still in high school and became an official member of the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company in 1993. Jim has been honored as a Life Member for his years of dedicated service. Jim earned many certifications and held several positions including Lieutenant, Captain, Deputy Chief, and his current position as 2nd Assistant Chief. Jim’s professional careers followed his service to his community; he worked as an EMT for Fairhaven Regional Ambulance, Rutland Town Fire Department, as a lab technician at St Peters Hospital and Rutland Regional Medical Center, and as a 911 dispatcher at Washington County. Most recently he was employed by the Village of Whitehall at the water treatment facility.
Besides his parents, Jim leaves behind his beloved rescue dog, Chance, his sisters, Kathleen A. Brooks and Johnna Lynn Brooks. His nieces and nephews, Brenna, Trevor, Logan and Autumn. He also leaves his aunts and uncles, John Brooks, James F. Lafayette (Maureen), Mary Jean Inglee (Harold), Brian Brooks (Audrey), Kevin Brooks (Lisa), Colleen Brooks and several cousins and extended family. The number of close friends who are left behind share the broken hearts of his family.
His smile, sense of humor and sarcasm were the foundation of every relationship he formed all while being stubborn and hardheaded every step of the way. He was dedicated to his family, friends, and his dogs while selflessly serving his community. Jim was the organizer of many events in his community, from blood drives to pep rallies, he often escorted school sports teams by firetruck before and after a big win. He loved his friends and would rally them to go on kayaking trips down the Mettowee River. We learned so much more about him and his passion for life over the last few months.
The family would like to thank the Whitehall Fire Volunteer Company for their endless amount of support, especially Chief Bryan Brooks, 1st Assistant Chief, Steve Brock, Deputy Chief Brian Brooks, Administrative Assistant Rachel McNamara and all of his Fire Department Brothers and Sisters for all of the support over the past 5 months. We are eternally grateful to you and to all the community members, and friends from near and far who have reached out and supported Jim through all of this journey.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Volunteer & Exempt Firefighters Benevolent Association of Whitehall Inc. P.O. Box 188 Whitehall, NY 12887 or Adirondack Save A Stray P.O. Box 185 Corinth, NY 12822.
Friends and family can pay their respects from 3pm to 8pm on Friday, September 25th at the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company in Whitehall, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at 11am on Saturday, September 26th at Our Lady of Hope (very limited seating) in Whitehall, with the Rev. Rendell Torres officiating. Immediately followed by a procession/burial at Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Whitehall, NY. His services will be live streamed outside for those not able to be in the church. Those in attendance will be asked to follow all Covid precautions including wearing a mask.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James P. Brooks Jr., please visit our floral store.