STAMFORD – Frances Grace Brooks, 97, who with her husband Griffin founded Brooks’ BBQ, died Saturday morning, Sept. 30, 2017, at her home in Stamford, following a courageous battle with cancer.
Frances Brooks was born on April 10, 1920, the daughter and only child of Lena and John McClelland. She grew up on the chicken farm working hand in hand with her parents each and every day.
Frances attended Stamford Central School, graduating in 1938, then moved on to Delhi Tech, graduating in 1941 with a degree in food management. It was at Delhi Tech that Frances met her husband, Griffin Brooks and little did they both know, the legacy of the Brooks’ family began.
Griffin and Frances were married on Nov. 1, 1941, and life from there was filled with hard work, love for each other with family and friends.
The young couple purchased her father’s poultry farm and worked the farm until they started to migrate to barbecuing chicken halves in 1951. Their roadside BBQ eventually evolved to catering local fundraisers for the rod and gun club and the Delaware Cooperative Farm Bureau Extension Service.
This new endeavor led them to running a small concession stand, driving range and miniature golf course at the DEL-SE-GO Drive-in Theater in Oneonta. From there they moved on to opening their first restaurant in 1961. In 1965, they purchased the land where the current location of Brooks’ BBQ is today and opened in March 1966.
Frances worked with her husband Griffin for over 50 years and appreciated their employees and customers for many years.
In a family business, you never really retire and after selling the business to their son John Brooks and his wife Joan, Frances found herself still working and volunteering, keeping herself busy just as she had done her entire life. Not only did she continue to cater events with her husband Griffin for their son and daughter-in-law, Frances volunteered at CORE as well as the Robinson Terrace Coffee Shop. She was a member of the Stamford Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, Stamford Golf Course, Stamford-Hobart Inner Wheel and Delhi Tech Alumni Association.
For many years, Griffin and Frances, along with friends and family, enjoyed spending time at their camp in the Town of Ohio, Herkimer County, snowmobiling trips and summer trips as well. In addition to going to their camp, Griffin and Frances enjoyed their home in Lehigh Acres, Florida, as well as traveling to Alaska, Hawaii and out West.
Frances enjoyed her one-on-one time with family as well as visiting friends. She was a very giving and caring person and there was never a time that she wasn’t there with handwritten notes for both happy and sad occasions. Some of the many simply things in her life were fish sandwiches at McDonald’s after doctor appointments, coffee ice cream, vanilla ice cream with crème de menthe, bran muffins, frozen pizza, and her favorite Brooks’ BBQ. She also enjoyed watching Lawrence Welk with Betty Krull, putting together puzzles with her care givers and crocheting afghans for family and friends, and enjoyed her deck overlooking the lake.
She was the oldest dedicated living member of the First Presbyterian Church in Stamford. She was known as the “The Pie Lady” as well as working at the Annual Election Day Turkey Dinner for many years.
Frances was blessed and thankful for the care given to her by “Her Girls” Anne Tepfer, Pat Vannortwich, Cheryl Kelly, Sandy Williamson, Angel Schultz and Louise Vonbrockdorff.
Frances is survived by her four children, Phyllis O’Sullivan and husband Steve, John Brooks and wife Joan, Becky Myers and husband Rich, and Sharon Dawson and husband Wally, as well as her nine grandchildren, Kelly Holliday, Colleen O’Sullivan, Steve O’Sullivan, Kimberly Marble, Griffin Gillette, Brian Gillette, Ryan Brooks, Stacy Chisum and Jennifer Butler; 13 great-grandchildren: Karlyn Mellor, Lizette and Keenan Holliday, Brandon, Kinsey, Kendall, Peyton Gillette, Ethan and Taylor Chisum, Dawson and Brooks Butler; Carter and Abby Brooks; and a great-great-grandchild: Caden James Mellor. She is predeceased on April 13, 2013, by her husband, best friend and lifetime business partner, Griffin Brooks.
A celebration of Frances’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the First Presbyterian Church, Stamford. Friends and relatives are invited to call on the family one hour prior to the service at church.
In lieu of flowers contributions in memory of Frances may be made to Stamford Fire Department and EMS, or to the First Presbyterian Church of Stamford.
Please visit www.macarthurfh.com to share a condolence with the Brooks Family.