John Gary BrooksSeptember 7, 1935 ~ January 7, 2018 (age 82)
John Gary Brooks passed away Sunday January 7, 2018. John was born into a loving, hard-working family on September 7, 1935. He was the last of 14 children born to Mary (Anderson) and William Brooks. He lived on a farm in the small town of Englewood, Kansas. John was born during the Depression and his sisters would cover the crib with tea towels to keep the dust away from him. He was raised with a tremendous work ethic, as his dad or his brothers always had a job for him. He worked on the XIT ranch with his brother Blondie, (the only job he was ever fired from), a grocery store with his brother, Bill, (where he learned to make the best potato salad), and helped to build a grain elevator in Western Kansas (where he decided that college was a better option than manual labor). He attended Ft Hays State University where he played basketball and received his Bachelor’s degree in 1956. He then went to Wichita State University where he did course work at the Institute of Logopedics and met the love of his life, Norma Simons. They were married on August 10, 1959. He then completed his Master’s Degree at the University of Kansas in 1960 and moved to Kansas City after he accepted a job in the former Linwood School District as a Speech and Language Pathologist. After several districts merged to form the Shawnee Mission School District in 1969 he accepted an administrative position in the Special Education Department. He remained in that position until he retired. After retiring he consulted with numerous small districts for the next several years, helping with any of their special education needs. He loved being around children, they were such a joy to him and were always attracted to him.
John and Norma had three daughters: Lea VanderVelde (Matt) of Linwood, KS, Lynne Schonacher (Bill) of Oklahoma City; and Leslie Cyphers (Scott) of LaQuinta,CA. He was extremely proud of them and never missed an opportunity to watch them and cheer them on in any endeavor they chose; he was their biggest cheerleader. He was also proud and so happy to be a Grampa to Joel VanderVelde (Katie), Jon VanderVelde, Katie VanderVelde, Brooks Schonacher, Conrad Schonacher, Reed Schonacher and Claire Schonacher. He also mourned the loss of his infant grandson, Christopher VanderVelde. In 2016, he was overjoyed at the birth of his great-granddaughter, Anna VanderVelde. He will be missed by all. A visitation will be held Thursday January 11th at Cure of Ars Catholic Church, 9401 Mission Road, from 6-8:00pm. A funeral mass will be held at the church at 11:00am Friday January 12th. Burial will be in Johnson County Memorial Gardens