Condolences poured in after news broke former Republican state Rep. Ed Brooks died April 23 at 76.
Brooks represented Wisconsin Assembly District 50 for 10 years until he decided not to run for re-election in 2018. The longtime Reedsburg resident announced that he had been diagnosed with leukemia in May 2017.
Brooks' Facebook page recently announced he had been discharged from the hospital into hospice care.
Current District 50 Assembly Rep. Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc, fought back tears in a phone interview as he described the generosity Brooks displayed.
"He would purchase animals from kids and that money went into those young men and women’s educations,” Kurtz said. “That is something he would never tell people about, but it’s just the generosity that … touched a lot of lives.”
Reedsburg School Board President Gary Woolever said Brooks was a great representative for the 50th District. He also served as chairman of the town of Reedsburg, a post he served in for more than 30 years.
“He did do what he could for local school districts,” Woolever said. “He’s been a positive influence on schools and trying to understand the funding portion of it and trying to fight for as much funding as he could for local schools.”
State Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, said a press release, "I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend Ed Brooks. Ed was far more than a legislative colleague. He was my friend and mentor and I will miss him."
Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna said on Twitter, "The state legislature lost a good friend, and a terrific person last night. Former Rep Ed Brooks was the most decent, honorable man I’ve met in politics."
John Nygren, R-Marinette, said on Twitter, "Ed Brooks was one of the most genuine and caring man I’ve ever met. My condolences to his family. Wisconsin is a better place because of Ed’s service."
Ed Brooks was one of the most genuine and caring man I’ve ever met. My condolences to his family. Wisconsin is a better place because of Ed’s service.— John Nygren (@rep89) April 24, 2019
State Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, said in a release, "It was truly an honor and privilege to have served with Ed in the Wisconsin State Assembly for eight years. He was a great friend, fellow farmer, true statesman, and strong advocate for the citizens of rural Wisconsin."
Brooks served as chairman of the Urban and Local Affairs Committee, later renamed the Local Government Committee. He was a founding member of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, which focuses on improving rural life and “bridging the gap with our urban neighbors in education, healthcare, technology and the workforce.” He also served on the Agriculture, Corrections, Jobs and the Economy, Mining and Rural Development, Transportation and Workforce Development committees.
The 50th District covers all of Juneau County, parts of Sauk and Richland counties, and small portions of Vernon and Monroe counties.
A funeral for Brooks is scheduled for 11 a.m. April 29 at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rock Springs. Visitation will be held from 2-7 p.m. April 28 at Farber Funeral Home in Reedsburg.