Rev. James Allen Brooks
March 16, 2020
The Reverend Mr. James Allen Brooks has received the desire of his heart, joining the Lord he loved and served as a United Methodist pastor in the South Georgia Conference for 35 years. He passed on from his home outside Nashville to his eternal home early on Saturday morning, March 7, 2020, after a brief illness, while in the care of his loving family. He was 23 days shy of his 90th birthday. He served part of his ministry as an Air Force chaplain, and retired from active ministry in 1995, when the Lord told him, “go home and take care of your disabled wife and son.” He was a devoted husband and father.
Allen was born in Bowling Green, Florida on, as he enjoyed saying, “three, thirty, thirty.” The son of James Floyd Brooks and Estella Thornton Brooks, Allen’s early years were spent on his grandparents’ farm in central Florida, where he enjoyed “the feel of sand between my toes.” In 1940 at age 10, his family moved to another family farm near Alapaha where the clay soil didn’t suit his bare feet so well, and where he learned carpentry and how to plow with a mule. He felt the call to ministry at age 16, but had to finish his schooling before answering that call. After high school, he attended South Georgia College in Douglas for two years. He then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and served four memorable years in Great Britain and Germany, doing security work he was not allowed to speak about until the 1990s: analyzing intercepted Soviet communications.
Allen graduated from Valdosta State College in 1957, married his college sweetheart, Emma Dell (Hendley) Brooks in 1958, and then attended the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Atlanta. He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 1960. He pastored and preached for the next 35 years. He followed the wise advice given to him by Bishop Cannon: “Preach the Word, and visit your people.” If you ever spoke to Allen for more than five minutes, you learned of his love for our Lord Jesus Christ and his belief in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Allen served as pastor of the Chula Charge, the Whigham Charge, then became an Air Force chaplain in 1963. He was stationed at Sewart AFB, Tennessee; Beale AFB, California; RAF Mildenhall, England; and Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. He also spent 18 months serving the isolated Air Force posts in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, from which he returned with many interesting stories. He achieved the rank of major.
After leaving the USAF, Allen returned to the South Georgia Conference, where he served as senior pastor of Palmyra Road UMC, Albany; Shurlington UMC, Macon; Epworth UMC, Columbus; Lynmore UMC, Macon; and Northview UMC, Warner Robins.
His wife Emma and son Zachary Allen Brooks preceded him in death, in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
He is survived by his son, Scott Brooks (Karen) of Atlanta; two grandchildren, Connor Brooks of Seattle, Washington and Holly Brooks of Charlottesville, Virginia; two younger brothers, David Brooks (Irmgard) of Leesburg and Walter Brooks (Annette) of Fitzgerald; and several nieces and nephews.