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Robert J. Brooks

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

MESA, Ariz. – Robert James Brooks, 84, of Mesa, formerly of Oregon and Rochelle, passed away Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014.

He was born Nov. 4, 1929, to Dorothy and Ra K. Brooks in rural Ogle County. Robert was a graduate of Oregon High School and Illinois State University. He served in the Army Signal Corps during the Korean War, from 1953 to 1955. Robert married Mildred Alene Aishman of Altus, Okla., on May 28, 1955. They had two children, Mark (Kim Grenis) of Mesa and Terri (Tom) Henderson of Rockford. Both children are graduates of Oregon High School.

After college, Robert worked in his field of special education. He helped start, and worked for, Ogle County Special Education. With the help of many, he saw the graduates’ needs met with the opening of the Village of Progress. Robert and Alene – “Mr. and Mrs. B” – helped open and supervise the Focus House (Friends of Children Under Supervision) in Rochelle. Focus House has provided a home environment and a school program for hundreds of children. After retiring from Focus House, he and Alene moved to Mesa, where he resided for 25 years.

He is survived by his children; a brother, Gerald of Oregon; and a sister, Margaret of Dixon.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Arnold of Dixon; sister, Dolores; and wife, Mildred Alene.

He was buried next to his wife on Feb. 3, 2014, at City of Mesa Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Village of Progress in Oregon or Focus House in Rochelle.

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