Obituary: Donald K. Brooks

Donald K. Brooks
Donald K. Brooks
Provided Photo

– June 1, 2022

Don was born in Fresno, CA on September 20, 1940, the first and only child of Eleanore (Capps) Brooks and Donald K. Brooks, Sr.

Don passed away Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in his home in the presence of his family.

He is survived by his wife Kathryn “Kathe”(Wannicke) Brooks, daughter Heidi (Brooks) Kinzel and her husband Brian, son Scott K. Brooks and his wife Andrea (Blair), stepdaughter Cheryl (Morrissey) Walsh and her husband Warren, 9 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.

Don was raised in Sanger, CA. Throughout his life he loved work. He began delivering papers in the third grade. He spent the summers in his youth working at a local fruit packing business and loved the 72-hour work week. He was always very active, was a counselor at YMCA, and excelled in sports. He received a scholarship to play football at UCLA, graduating with a BS degree in 1962.

Always very patriotic, he took four years of ROTC and completed officer training as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served two years in active duty at the US Army Electronics Research and Development Laboratory. He did reserve duty for another six years. After active duty, he was accepted into the MBA degree program at USC, where he excelled scholastically and was elected into the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society.

He began his career at American Airlines as a marketing associate. He learned different aspects of the business, managing flights and air freight. He was offered a management position in the NY headquarters, but instead took a position as an account executive with EF Hutton in Fresno to be closer to family. He was registered in 1967. While there he also received a teaching credential, teaching evening classes at the city college and eventually MBA level courses.

Don heard that Dean Witter & Co. was looking for a manager for their new Lake Tahoe branch. He was accepted and moved there in 1974. The Morgan Stanley Group merged with Dean Witter & Co. in 1997 which at that time became the largest securities company in the world. He then spent 21 years with Morgan Stanley. He said that his primary enjoyment was working with the many different clients he met over his 51-year career. Don took his love for work into this position. Long-time clients testified to their appreciation for his financial management skill. He had a remarkable combination of financial savvy, high-energy work ethic, strong business morals, and a heartfelt interest in people. He treated everyone with the same high level of courtesy and friendliness. He was recognized in the community as a reliable source of financial advice and did daily “market watch” broadcasts. Because of these things he enjoyed enormous business success. He retired in 2018 at the top of his field as a Senior Vice President Wealth Advisor.

Don always was physically fit and active, running or working out most days. He was an avid skier and held season passes at Heavenly Valley. He took the family on at least 15 ski vacations in Sun Valley, ID, and 3 ski vacations in Europe (St. Anton, Lech [Austria], St Moritz [Switz.]). He and Kathe traveled extensively, with many cruises and European vacations.

Don and Kathe were huge entertainment fans. They saw more than 100 Broadway shows in NYC. Don was equally an enthusiastic sports fan. They regularly attended University of Nevada Reno football and basketball games, traveling to tournaments and regional playoffs. They held season tickets to the SF 49ers for over 30 years, which included attending 3 Super Bowls. They traveled to NCAA Final Four tournaments, Kentucky Derbies, Winter, and Summer Olympics (Calgary, Salt Lake, Vancouver, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney).

A celebration of life will be held at a later date to be announced. The family asks in lieu of flowers you consider a donation in memory of Donald K. Brooks, to The 49ers Foundation.


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