Cover photo for James Earl Brooks's Obituary
James Earl Brooks Profile Photo
1938 James 2021

James Earl Brooks

1938 — January 25, 2021

James Earl Brooks passed into the loving arms of God on January 25, 2021 surrounded by his wife and children. 

Visitation will be held on Thursday, January 28 from 5-7 pm at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road. Graveside services will be held at 11 am Friday, January 29 at Elmwood Memorial Park, 5750 US Hwy 277 South in Abilene. 

James Earl was born on August 3, 1938 to J.M. and Luellen Brooks in Winters, Texas.  They moved to Tye, Texas when James was a few months old.  They moved to Abilene in 1942.  James Earl started school at North Park Elementary School.  They moved again and James started school at Alta Vista Elementary School in the third grade.  He attended South Junior High.  He graduated from Abilene High School in 1956.  He attended Hardin Simmons University.  James worked for BF Horn Construction and Lumberyard during junior high, high school and college.   They built schools, courthouses, hospitals and homes across West Texas and the panhandle of Texas. 

James Earl began his auto repair career at Howard’s Garage on Pine Street in Abilene in 1957. It was during this time that he met and married Janet Jerden on September 11, 1960.  He then worked for Ed Hartmann Machine Shop and Manly Pontiac. He began his Texas Highway Department (now known as TXDOT) career in 1970 at the Abilene District office as a road mechanic.  During his TXDOT career, he was promoted several times.  His final job was the District Equipment Administrator for the thirteen counties comprising TXDOT District 8.  James retired from TXDOT in 2003.  

James Earl built his own automotive machine shop and garage at home in 1974 while still being employed by TXDOT. He continued to work in his machine shop after his TXDOT retirement until his health begin to fail in 2014.  He spent lots of nights and weekends repairing autos and rebuilding automotive engines.  His favorite engine was the Chevrolet V-8.  He was very proud of rebuilding and restoring two antique Lincoln V-12 engines, which was quite a feat for as old as they were. 

James Earl loved the high mountain country of Colorado.  He traveled with his family to the Durango and Ouray areas of the San Juan mountain range.   His favorite Colorado pastime was driving Jeeps over high mountain passes and exploring the old mining communities.  Most notably, he loved to ride on the Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge train which still runs between Durango and Silverton, Colorado.  He and his family, including his grandchildren, rode the train many times.

James Earl and Janet were blessed with two children:  Sherry and her husband David Butler of Abilene and Randy and his wife Susan of San Angelo.  James Earl and Janet are also blessed with four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  

“I saw him getting tired and a cure was not to be.  He put his arms him and whispered, ‘come with me’.

With tearful eyes, we watched him suffer and slowly fade away and could not make him stay.  

A golden heart stopped beating and working hands were put to rest.

It broke our hearts to prove to us that He only takes the best.”

A special thank you to Dr. Sandra Hazelip, Rachel Valfre, the caring staff of Windcrest, and Hospice of the Big Country for their love, kindness, and devotion to James Earl and his family. 

James Earl will be greatly missed by his many friends and his family. 

Memorials may be made to Camp Able or a charity of your choice. Camp Able, P.O Box 695, Buffalo Gap, TX 79508

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Earl Brooks, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation at Funeral Home

Thursday, January 28, 2021

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

The Hamil Family Funeral Home

6449 Buffalo Gap Rd, Abilene, TX 79606

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Graveside Service

Friday, January 29, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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Final Resting Place

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