Bill J. Brooks
Memorial services for Bill J. Brooks, 84, will be at 2:00 p.m. Monday, March 16 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1245 New Hampshire Street, Lawrence, Kansas.
Mr. Brooks was born on August 16, 1930 in Ottawa, Kansas, the son of Bill and Alice Brooks. He graduated from Ottawa High School in 1948, and from the University of Kansas in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He served in the United States Army in the Korean action in 1951 and was honorably discharged in 1954.
He married Grace L. Endacott of Lawrence, another K.U. graduate, on June 12, 1954 at Trinity Lutheran Church. They moved to Abilene, Texas, where Bill worked for three companies as an oil and gas subsurface geologist. He soon found that he was his own best boss, working independently in 1962 and for the next 40 years, forming Brooks Exploration Company in 1970. He made many large (and some small) oil and gas discoveries in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and North Dakota, and owned many oil and gas lease blocks in Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, and Nebraska. He especially enjoyed the excitement of discovery, as well as working with investors whom he considered partners. The last 32 years of business activity were conducted from Denver, Colorado, discovering deposits such as Wagon Mound, Sheep Mountain (an extremely large CO2 entrapment in the Colorado Raton Basin), La Poudre, and Stanley fields. In the last 10 years before retiring in 2002, he bought and sold oil and gas well interests in the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana. Every day he searched for oil and gas was a day of fun and enjoyment.
Bill was a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for 60 years, a charter member (#555) of the American Institute of Professional Geologists, a longtime member of the Independent Producers Association of America, the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and the Abilene Texas Geological Society.
Bill played tennis for 30 years, primarily in Vail, Colorado and on the Oilman’s Tennis Circuit in Texas and Oklahoma. He served on the board of the Vail Racquet Club where he and Grace had a second home. He was an avid quail hunter in Texas, a pheasant hunter in Nebraska, and owned many English Setter bird dogs from the Duffield line. He and Grace traveled to Montana and Idaho annually for trout fly fishing. They retired to the 18th fairway at the Lawrence Country Club, where Bill won the “Q” golf tournament several times and celebrated a hole in one with his sports friends. In his spare time, he enjoyed cultivating tomatoes, watching birds, winning at gin rummy, and balancing rocks.
His successful marriage lasted over 60 years, which Bill was certain to convey “was not a record but a good average”.
Bill left this life for new discoveries on March 11, 2015, and is survived by his wife Grace, daughters Karen Rhea (Scott) of Pueblo, Colorado and Sara Czapinski of Lawrence, Kansas, four grandchildren (John Rhea of New York, NY, Stephen Rhea of Denver, CO, Alexis and Erik Czapinksi of Lawrence), and one sister Phyllis Rea of Colorado Springs, CO.
In recognition of Bill’s interests, and in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in his name will be made to the University of Kansas School of Geology and the KU Tennis team/facilities. Memorials may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.