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Gary L. Brooks ’72

September 2, 2018, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, of cancer.

The son of an air force officer, Gary grew up in Europe, Asia, and many places from the east to the west coast of the United States. After graduating from high school in Virginia, he came to Reed, but, unnerved by the Portland rain, he transferred to the University of Oklahoma. He majored in letters and religion, paying his way through college by buying, remodeling, and flipping houses. Upon graduating from law school in 1975, Gary put up a shingle on Main Street in Norman, Oklahoma, and began practicing law. He devoted much of his career to representing those harmed by the negligence of others and helping ordinary people take on corporations and powerful interests. He made a difference in the lives of countless clients who could not afford to hire a lawyer by the hour and was always willing to use his time and resources to improve the lives of those around him, even when the caller did not have a viable case but just needed to talk with someone who cared.

Gary began a mission of promoting board certification for attorneys and hoped that one day lawyers, like doctors, would be certified specialists. He founded the American College of Board Certified Attorneys, served as the president of the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association, and was appointed to the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure by Governor Brad Henry.

In his later years, Gary traded in the designer suits and custom cowboy boots he wore as a successful attorney for jeans and loafers. Most days he could be found walking his Westies in the parks of Nichols Hills. He was at peace with his destiny after being diagnosed with cancer and shared with his family that he had accomplished all he had set out to do. Gary was pleased that his legacy would endure with his son Michael carrying on the law firm he had built with Ann. He felt he had truly lived the American dream.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, with whom he traveled the globe; his sons Michael and Reid; his father, Col. Glenn L. Brooks; and his brother, Spencer.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2018

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