Lewis Patrick Brooks

Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Juneau resident Lewis Patrick Brooks died of pancreatic cancer on Jan. 8, 2010, at Wildflower Court. Family and friends were at his side through his last days. He was 57.

He was born March 17, 1952, in Fairbanks, and moved with his parents to Juneau when he was 6 years old. He was a 1970 graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School.

Of Inupiaq descent, he was a shareholder of Goldbelt Inc. and Sealaska Corp. Lewis was given the name of his Inupiaq grandmother, Saqulun.

He worked in many positions throughout Alaska: as an apprentice electrician on the Alyeska Pipeline, and as a building maintenance worker in Kotzebue, where he also lived for a time in the wilderness working a trapline.

He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the early 1970s, then returned to school in the late 1980s, graduating with a bachelor of science in public administration and law from the University of Alaska Southeast in 1996.

He worked in positions with Goldbelt Inc., during which time he was instrumental in planning and opening the Mount Roberts Tramway retail sales store, then with the state of Alaska Division of Insurance until his retirement in 2007.

He was a competitive bicyclist and tennis player, and was a volunteer with the Juneau Tennis Association and the JDHS tennis team. He is remembered by his friends as an exceptional hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman. Once, when hunting for caribou miles from Kotzebue, he downed a charging grizzly bear with a single shot when it was just a second or two from reaching him.

His family and friends also appreciated his quick intelligence, wicked good sense of humor and companionship.

After being diagnosed with cancer in January 2008, he chose to forego treatment and make the most of the time he had left. A sports car and motorcycle enthusiast, Lewis bought two mega horsepower motorcycles and two Corvettes, which he used in Juneau and the Lower 48 until his health began to seriously decline four months ago.

He was preceded in death by his parents, James W. Brooks and Bertha Schaeffer Brooks.

He is survived by his longtime friend and end-of-life caregiver, Georgia Sepel; cousin, Peter Schaeffer and wife, Polly, also caregivers; step-sister, Dr. Beatrice Brooks and husband, Joe Lilly; adopted granddaughter, Kara Sepel; many cousins in Kotzebue as well as cousins in Michigan and Los Angeles; and friends, Joe Craig, Tom Daugherty, Greg Dostal, Skip Gray, Ron Hakala, Pete Lind, Peter and Sandy Metcalfe, Dennis and Sue Salveson, Terri Schmidt, Andy Smoker, Gina Vose, Terry Ward and Mona Yarnall, among many others.

His family and friends wish to acknowledge the care and support he received from Dr. Anne Standerwick, CCS Hospice & Home Care and the staff of Wildflower Court.

A celebration of his life will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Juneau Yacht Club. For more information, e-mail metcom@gci.net or phone 586-1166.

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