James Russell Brook
- June 14, 2021
James R. Brook, beloved husband, son, brother, and uncle, passed away on June 7, 2021, at Oak Grove Manor. He was 73 years old.
James Russell Brook, who was “Jim” to colleagues and acquaintances, and “Jimmy” to family and friends, was born in Mansfield on June 13, 1947, the fourth and youngest child of Roger Piper Brook, Sr. and Janie Weuthrich Brook. His roots in Richland County were deep, as several of his ancestors were early pioneers who were landowners in the county by 1815. Jim attended Madison Schools through his sophomore year; two work-related transfers for his father took him to Upper Arlington High School for his junior year and then back to Mansfield for his senior year. He graduated from Malabar High School in 1965 and then attended Ashland College (later Ashland University), graduating in 1971 with a degree in social studies. He was first employed as a teacher in the Mansfield City Schools. While teaching at Sherman Junior High School in 1972-1973, he met a young music teacher named Beverly Marie Grever who was a recent graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Their first date was November 8, 1972; Jim took her to a concert by the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra (he wanted to impress her). They married on June 28, 1975 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky, and remained sweethearts and best friends during their 45-year marriage.
Jim always had a special place in his heart for those who were weaker or who needed special help, which led him to his life’s work. He taught children with special needs both in the Mansfield City Schools and Clear Fork Valley Schools, where he also served as Dean of Students at Butler. Outside the classroom, he was involved in coaching several sports, including football, basketball, track, and golf. For several years he worked with developmentally disabled adults at Richland Newhope. In 1988 he became the Director of D-R Services in Ashland, continuing his work with developmentally disabled adults in a sheltered workshop setting. He remained at D-R Services for over 23 years, retiring in 2011. After his retirement, he assumed the position of CEO of the D-R Services Board, serving in that capacity until a stroke forced his permanent retirement in November 2015.
Jim loved the game of golf and played almost every Saturday morning during the golfing season with a special group of friends. The group also went fishing, played cards, and took golfing trips out of state over the years. It was a sharp disappointment to Jim and his friends when he had to give up golf due to his ill health.
Jim was beloved “Uncle Jimmy” to his nephews, Jeff, Troy and Jason and his nieces, Molly and Sabrina. He was also a loving uncle to Danielle, Nicholas, and Michael in his extended family. Visiting and staying with Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Boo was a special event for the nieces and nephews in their childhood years because their uncle was always ready to play, listen, and have fun. Jim was delighted in recent years to welcome the next generation of two great-nephews and three great-nieces.
Jim’s personality was a sunny one; he was always friendly and hospitable to all. As a family member and friend, he was supportive, steadfast, and true. During the last six years of his life, he was challenged with one medical issue after another, including open heart surgery, a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, major back surgery, a broken hip, a broken upper arm, and several serious infections. He battled back every time, always cheerful, optimistic, courageous, and determined, in spite of ongoing pain and disability. His positive attitude was an inspiration to all who knew him, and that positivity remained a defining aspect of his character until his final illness.
Jim is survived by his wife of 45 years, Beverly (Grever) Brook; his sister, Rev. Marilou Brook; sisters-in-law, Patty Brook, Joyce Binegar and her husband Scott Binegar, and Trisha Weigand and her husband Dr. John Weigand; brother-in-law in his extended family, Dr. Fred Weigand and his wife Pam; nephews, Jeffrey Brook, Troy Binegar and his wife Codi, Jason Weigand and his wife Ashley, Nicholas Weigand, and Michael Weigand; nieces, Molly Weigand, Dr. Sabrina Pope and her husband Dr. Nicolas Pope, and Danielle Miller and her husband Ben Miller; cousins, Peggy Eyerly, Mary Jane Getts, Barbara Wendland, James Mueller, and Sarah Mueller. Jim is also survived by great-nephews, Camden Binegar and Henry Miller and great-nieces, Tori Weigand, Margot Weigand, and Sophia Miller.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Janie Brook; his brother, Robert P. Brook, Jr. and infant brother, John David Brook; several aunts, uncles, and cousins, especially Cindy Mueller and her husband Fred Mueller.
A private burial service, conducted by Rev. Richard Beal, was held for the family at Mansfield Cemetery, where Jim was laid to rest next to his parents. A memorial service is planned for a later date.
The Ontario Home of Wappner Funeral Directors is honored to serve the family.