Less We Forget Poppy

The Life and Times of Hubert Brooks M.C. C.D.
A Canadian Hero

Less We Forget Poppy


A.14.0   The Otto Brooks Family Line

This CHAPTER will focus on the Otto Brooks Family Line.


Hubert (Rousseau) Brooks
(b. October 4, 1862)
(d. January 23, 1930)

(m. January 7, 1884) wife:

Marie (Grégoire Rousseau) Brooks
(b. November 3, 1867)
(d. September 3, 1944)


(Joseph) Alfred Brooks
(b. Feb. 18, 1891)
(d. May 13, 1944)
Joseph (Albert Antoine) Brooks
(b. Dec. 20, 1901)
(d. Jan. 8, 1982)
Otto (Hubert) Brooks
(b. Nov 10, 1903)
(d. Oct 26, 1969)
Aimé (Hubert) Brooks
(b. May 17, 1895)
(d. Jan 15, 1952)
Marie (Theodora) Rousseau Brooks
(b. Sept. 25, 1887)
(d. Aug 8, 1970)
Marie Eugénie Nelida Brooks
(b. Jan. 12, 1885)
(d. Oct 12, 1937)
Siffroid Rousseau
(b. Dec. 25, 1884)
(d. ?? 1892 to 1910)
Marie-Anne Séduile Juliette Brooks
(b. Jan. 5, 1893)
(d. Jan. 6, 1893)

Otto (Hubert) Brooks
(baptised Aimé John Percy Otto Brooks )
(b. Nov 10, 1903)
(d. Oct 26, 1969)

(m. September 20, 1932) to wife:

Mary Gruber
(b. April 27, 1912)
(d. July 9, 2010)


Warren Brooks
(b. September 9, 1935)
(d. )
June Brooks
(b. June 20,1933)
(d. September 25, 2006)


Warren Brooks
(b. September 9, 1935)
(d. )

(m. June 15,1961) to wife:

Iris Gault
(b. June 30, 1943)
(d. )


June Brooks
(b. June 20,1933)
(d. September 25, 2006)

(m. Sept 14, 1955) to husband:

Earl Albert DeWolfe
(b. Sept 9, 1928)
(d. Jan. 4, 1993)







Michael (Kevin) Brooks
(b. 1972)
James (Jim) (Allan) Brooks
(b. 1962)
David (Warren) Brooks
(b. 1965)
Darrell (Wayne) Brooks
(b. 1969)
(d. Nov 26, 2011)
Diana (Margaret) Brooks
(b. 1963)
(d. Oct 5, 1998)


Corrine Mary

(b. 24 June 1956)
Julie Ann

(b. Aug 5, 1959)
(d. March 9, 2011)
Katherine (Trina) Marie

(b. 13 July 1964)

The Otto Brooks Family Story

Otto Brooks married Mary Gruber on September 20, 1932 in Falher AB.

They had 2 children born in Bluesky AB:

As briefly discussed in a previous CHAPTER, in 1927 when it was plain that the extension of the NAR to the new town of Fairview would be north of Old Bluesky , many businesses contemplated their fate. Some of the buildings were moved and it was then that Hubert Brooks started sons, Joe and Otto in business, in a general store in the new town of Bluesky - the Brooks Brothers Merchants Store (this stands on the site where the current Bluesky co-op exists). This business lasted until 1935.

Otto Brooks Standing outside of BROOKS Bros. MERCHANTS STORE west side of Bluesky, Alberta 1932
PHOTO Courtesy: Estate of Mary Brooks
Photo supplied by Trina (DeWolfe) MacDonnell
  Otto Brooks Standing outside of BROOKS GENERAL STORE west side of Bluesky, Alberta 1932
Some Background on Otto's Wife Mary Gruber Brooks

There are at least two accounts that document Mary Brooks' life.

The first, which immediately follows below, is from the book "Heart of Gold Fairview 1928-1978" by Harold Nicholson published by Bulletin Commercial Edmonton 1978 (Dale Roberts editor).
It contains an excellent description of life in north-western Alberta at the time. The account is augmented by a two part newspaper article from an unknown source entitled "Flashback to the Past: Otto and Mary Brooks".

The second is an account written by Mary Brooks' friend Christine Bjorklund Bruyere for Heart Of The Peace -- Fairview And District (published by Town of Fairview) which appears in Volume II of the three volume set on pages 458 to 461). This account immediately follows the Heart of Gold summary.

Mary Gruber Brooks was born April 27, 1912 to Juliana and Frank Gruber in Mor, located in the north western corner of Hungary. Mary was the only daughter in a family of four; Frank (stayed in Hungary), John, Jim and of course Mary.

As a young girl Mary was trained by the Sisters of the Covent school in needlework. Later under the guidance of an Aunt and Uncle, she apprenticed as a dressmaker.

In 1915 Father Frank Gruber died of typhoid fever during the war years.

In 1926 Mary emigrated with her mother Juliana to Canada, to join her brother John who was on a homestead at Butler, Manitoba.

In 1927 brother Jim arrived in the spring to join his family members and then went on to the Peace River country approx 8 miles south of Falher, where he filed a homestead in this predominantly French settlement. While proving up the homestead he worked as an assistant for the Falher postmaster. Mary took 3 months of schooling to learn to speak English.

In 1928- Mary travelled alone from Manitoba in July by C.P. Rail train to Edmonton, changing trains in Edmonton for Falher.

In 1929 Mary went to work in the Falher hotel for Frank and Susan Rentiers and also began to learn French.

Otto & Mary Brooks and Neighbor
PHOTO Courtesy: Michael Brooks
 PHOTO  of Otto & Mary Brooks and Neighbor
Otto & Mary Brooks' Story Continues

In 1932 Mary visited her friend Annette Phalemphen in Bluesky , at the hotel and met Otto, her future husband.

On September 20, 1932 Otto and Mary were married in Falher, going back to Bluesky the same day.

They lived behind the store, same site as the present day Bluesky Co-op.

In 1938 Otto and Mary moved to Fairview. Otto had worked in a (grain) elevator under Dave Forgie. Because of health conditions, Otto had to give this up.

Mary was using her dressmaking and sewing talents. She spent one week a year at the home of Maria Bernstein, Grandmother Boytinck and the Baileys doing up their needs in the sewing and dressmaking line. Also took in sewing while living outside Bluesky .

In 1939 Otto went back to his mother Marie's homestead and farmed for 13 years. Mary continued with her dressmaking.

 NewsPHOTO  supplied by Mary Brooks of Brooks Family and Neighbors
Joe, Otto, Hubert & Grandma Marie Brooks and Neighbors
PHOTO Courtesy: Estate of Mary Brooks
Photo supplied by Trina (DeWolfe) MacDonnell
 Original Photo  supplied by estate of Mary Brooks

In 1953, April of 1953 to be exact, Otto and Mary Brooks bought the William Krasnoff bakery-restaurant business and restricted it to a restaurant only.
They sold their farm (Hubert and Marie Brooks' original homestead) to Ken Frostad. (A number of years later Lloyd Obrigewitch bought the place.)

Mrs. Otto Brooks was a cook with a European touch to her cuisine and brought to Fairview the art of finer cooking. For many years word reached the travelling world as well as the residents of Fairview that Brooks' Cafe was the place to eat while in Fairview.
Otto stood guard over the till, welcoming people into the establishment giving them a cherry "So-long" when they left. It is perhaps for this endeavour that Otto and Mary are best known by the people of Fairview.

Some of the people that worked in the BROOKS CAFÉ included, Reba Barley, Violet Calder, Mary Hovelkamp who was a cook, and Margaret Calder where she met Bill Dechant and married in 1960.

 PHOTO  of Brooks Café Circa 1950s 2
Brooks Café Circa 1950s Note spelling of Brooks with the ’s
PHOTO Courtesy: Hubert Brooks Private Collection
 PHOTO  of Brooks Café Circa 1950s

They operated this Café for thirteen years but near the end of this time Mary found that the task was beyond her and she was getting very tired of catering to eating habits of a demanding public.

In 1957, Otto and Mary celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

 PHOTO  of Otto and Mary Brooks 25 wedding anniversary

In 1966 Mary Brooks turned the front of the restaurant into a Ladies Ready-To-Wear Shop, but continued to use the banquet room at the back as a place to rent out to small meetings, bingos etc.

Also in 1966 Otto was in ill health.

Mary Brooks Center Top Photo in White Sweater June 1977
PHOTO Courtesy: Michael Brooks
 PHOTO  of Mary Brooks

Otto (Hubert) Brooks Passing / Mary (Gruber) Brooks Passing

1969. Otto Hubert Brooks died on October 26, 1969 in Edmonton.

Mary went into a Ladies' Wear and Dry Goods Store until 1973. Mary is remembered for her wonderful sense of humor.

In 1973 Mary Brooks sold the building to the Town of Fairview and it is was then used as a Drop-In Centre for Fairview's senior citizens, under the banner of the Golden Age Club. It is now where the Jade Gardin Restaurant is located.

In 2008 Mary was a resident of the Harvest Lodge in Fairview. Although she retained her excellent sense of humor, being the eldest resident she was also 'the dominant resident' in the Lodge. Mary had always love to read, and around this time, although not legally blind Mary had significant problems seeing. The Fairview library delivered talking books to her on a regular basis.

In 2010 Mary (Gruber) Brooks died on July 9th in Fairview. At that time her name was added to Otto's cemetery stone in the Friendenstal Cemetery. Mary was cremated.
Judy Thompson (daughter of Ken Frostad who had the homestead just north of Otto and Mary south of Old Bluesky -- and who bought the Brooks homesteads when Otto/ Mary left for Fairview) had been asked by Mary to be the Executor of her estate. Judy had known Mary almost all of her life both in Bluesky and visiting her at the Brook's Cafe in Fairview and through the Bridge Club. Judy plans to finally bury most of Mary's ashes October/ November 2011 in the Friedenstal Cemetery, and in 2012 the remainder of the ashes in Nova Scotia next to daughter June.

 Image of Mary Brooks Obituary
Tombstone of Mary and Otto Brooks
Found in Friedenstal Catholic Cemetery, Friendenstal Alberta (just south east of Fairview)
Tombstone of Mary and Otto Brooks

The following is the more extensive account of Mary (Gruber) Brooks' life as it was told to friend Christine Bjorklund Bruyere for the book Heart Of The Peace -- Fairview And District

HEART OF THE PEACE - MARY (GRUBER) BROOKS interviewed and written by Christine Bjorklund Bruyere

Frank Gruber (father to Mary Brooks)
PHOTO Courtesy: Estate of Mary Brooks
Photo supplied by Trina (DeWolfe) MacDonnell
 Original Photo of Frank Gruber supplied by estate of Mary Brooks

In April of 2003, Mary achieved 91 years of age, one of many successes in her adventuresome life. During these years, Mary was handpicked by a German baroness to be a personal maid; learned four separate languages; acquired a quarter section of land to homestead; married and raised two children; owned and operated two successful businesses; traveled extensively; contributed to the establishment of Fairview's hockey arena, Ag Society, Fine Arts Centre, and the Harvest Lodge; and, has handmade almost 400 beautiful quilts - many of which were donated to raise money for our community.

It was also in the month of April, 76 years ago (1927), that Mary sailed from Hungary to Canada; and in April, 50 years ago, that Mary permanently made the town of Fairview her home. "It seems that all of my life changes and big decisions have been done in the month of my birth," said Mary. This lifelong pattern began on April 27, 1912, in the town of Mor, Hungary where Mary was born - the only daughter of Julianna (Julia) (Grof) and Frank Gruber - a little sister to brothers John, Jim and Frank.

Mary never got to know her father. When Mary was a toddler of two years, her father was taken from the family, having fallen victim to an outbreak of typhoid fever in January 1915, during World War I. During quiet, stationary times in the war, disease, not guns, was the killer. "Mom never even got to see him again," said Mary. Frank Gruber had been serving in the war as an engineer and was stationed in Budapest. His body was never allowed to be returned home for burial. In order to stop the spread of typhoid, the victims were buried in mass graves.

Spending the first fourteen years of her life in Hungary, Mary remembers scrubbing a lot of floors, helping in the garden, and corn husking (for pigs, geese or chicken feed). Coming across diseased corn (the black kernels), the children would have a lot of fun smearing one another with the black soot. With the work and games done, they would be given corn cakes as a treat.

"We had no conveniences," Mary said. "No toilet, tub, running water or central heating. Life was hard." Mary laughed though, remembering her last chastisement from her mother, whom she said was very bowlegged. Mary recalls a time, having failed to complete some chores she had been told to do, being chased through the garden by her mom. Mary glanced back to see her mom coming after her, skirts and bow-legs flying, skirting the well in the middle of the yard. "What a funny sight that still brings to mind."

Mary Gruber (Brooks) circa 1927
PHOTO Courtesy: Estate of Mary Brooks
Photo supplied by Trina (DeWolfe) MacDonnell
  Mary Gruber (Brooks) circa 1927
 Gruber Family circa 1926

Funny thoughts aside, Mary thinks that her mother's bow-legs were from poor nourishment. She said that large fields of tomatoes and cucumbers rotted away as there were just too many to eat by soaking in vinegar or by cooking, and yet they would not eat these vegetables raw. She remembers thinking that the Russian communists were savages, as they plucked and ate tomatoes and cucumbers ripe from the garden. It was unheard of at that time in the Old Country.

Bow-legs or not, Mary recalls her mother's courage. A widowed woman raising four children in communist Hungary was no mean feat. Just a short distance from their home, a Poorhouse contained many adults who could not make it on their own. They spent their time cleaning beans and stripping feathers in exchange for a meal of beans and a bed for sleep. Julie and Mary would shiver as they peered over the stone fence and saw this meager life. While attending public school, Mary became fluent in both the Hungarian and the German languages - both of which were prevalent during those years. Because of those qualifications, when Mary was fourteen years old, a German baroness who entered the Gruber home and looked the girl over, decided she would do well as a personal maid. Julia's dislike of that idea and her fear of ending up in that poorhouse next door, fueled her decision to move her family to another land and start over. To the baroness she said, "No. We are going to Canada."

Just before emigrating from Hungary, Mary's mother had her attend sewing school for three months. Julia Gruber knew that they would all have to work extra hard to earn a living in the new land and that this extra bit of education, although costly, would come in very handy. This turned out to be very prophetic as Mary's main method of support all of her life has been the needle - whether it be the regular sewing needle, a crochet hook, the darning or knitting needle - Mary expertly maneuvered them all.

In early April, 1927, when Mary was 14 years old, plans to leave Hungary were carried out. She traveled with her mother Juliana (then aged 50) and her brother, Jim, to Manitoba. With the Russian government in power at the time, the communists would only allow a small portion of one's belongings to be sold for cash or to be taken out of the country. The Red regime thus took over her mother's land - claiming it for themselves as centralized property. Mary remembers that she, not her mother or brothers, carried in her purse, the money that her mother had been allowed to take out of the country. Mary never did figure out why her mother entrusted her to carry the money, instead of carrying it herself.

With amusement, Mary recalls that, despite the small amount of goods they were allowed to take with them out of Hungary, in the middle of her mother's trunk was a barrel of schnapps. Mary explained: before the war, her father was a cooper, making wooden barrels for use in wine making - a living that her mother had been involved in as well as growing grapes. In making wine, some of the pulp scraped from the barrels was made into schnapps - almost pure alcohol. Mary knew that her mother was not a drinker, so she must have really considered the schnapps as important medicine. Mary recalls that the children were allowed to take a sip when they were ill. Perhaps though, this barrel of schnapps was a private memento of Julia's history that she did not want to fully leave behind.

 PHOTO  of CP Liner Metagama

Crowded for 14 days in the lower bowels of the immigration boat, Metagama their only view from the portholes was the first class eating lounge. Living off sausage and bread, brought with them from home, and with Mary's mother seasick all the way, they finally arrived on April 8, 1927 in St. John, Newfoundland.

(Editor's Note:The IMMIGRATION RECORD for this can be found online by CLICKING on the following WEB LINK)

From there they went by rail to Elkhorn, Manitoba. Mary's older brother, John, had come to Canada in 1926 to scout out land and had found that the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) had established a Hungarian immigrant settlement there.

The CPR had work for men; however, Mary had to find work, and she did, as a housekeeper in. Butler. Mary also had to learn to speak English, her third language, and so, splitting her time between work and school, she spent three months achieving a third grade level of reading and writing in English - starting with the alphabet. She became fluent in English by reading everything she could get her hands on. In order to secure a homestead for the family, in July of that year, Mary courageously traveled alone by rail to the town of Falher, changing trains in Edmonton at the Dunvegan Yards. Mary did housekeeping and sewing for Mrs. DeWidnt who ran the Red and White Store. It was a good thing that Mary enjoyed learning because she then had to learn her fourth language - French.

In November, Mary's mother and brother arrived in Falher and the family took over their homestead land. November 1st was moving day, a beautiful fall day for driving a horse drawn cart with a mule, six hens and all their goods. In one weeks time a shack had been built of round poles. Mary remembers, "It was only very dry grass and burnt trees - nothing else." Working the homestead, Mary was the mule skinner - hauling logs to build a home for the family. They slept under the open sky on spruce boughs covered by feather ticks that mother, Juliana, had made and brought along. A kindly neighbor, Rita Caron, who lived in- two granaries put together, took Mary and her mother in for a few of the colder nights until their shelter was ready.

This log shack consisted of one room with double bunkers for Mom, Mary and two of her brothers. They got a kitchen table by Mary trading off her feather tic to a neighbor lady. Being greenhorns, the floor and the roof of the cabin were made all of poles covered only in moss. With no tarpaper or plastic over the roof, Mary remembers that when the Chinooks came in March, there were drips all over the shack. They had to use the umbrellas they brought with them from the old country, to cover over and protect the wicker trunks that held all of their worldly goods.

Mary remembers her first good neighbor lady, Mrs. Caron, who opened up her home to them for sleeping while they built their shack. Mary also recalls a Belgium neighbor who played the saxophone so well that she is not sure how the roof stayed on their shack during that playing. Mary also remembers with pleasure that she was the only girl in their neighborhood south of Falher for miles around. She got lots of attention from the boys in the area. They escorted her to the odd dance in town and to church functions. With a chuckle, Mary added, " My brothers sure watched over me then."

The winter months were busy ones, fixing up their home and catching rabbits and game for food. Ice cutting to provide water for home use and for their animals also took up much of their time. Their Sundays were set aside for visiting, singing songs and card playing.

After two years of helping the family get settled on the homestead, In 1929 Mary went to work in Falher at the hotel for Frank and Susan Rentiers, learning the French language after just learning basic English.

Also around that time, four horses were acquired and mother, Juliana, and Mary cleared five acres of land while Jim worked at a neighbor's to earn for their necessities. Broody hens were set. With flour, salt, sugar and lard anything was possible.

In 1930 Juliana Gruber filed for her own homestead land. (Editors Note: however formal records of the title being granted can not be found)

Taking a vacation in 1932, Mary traveled to the small community of Bluesky to visit a friend Annette Phalemphen - a former co-worker who had married the manager of the Bluesky Hotel. This trip was made as a passenger in a Model T car belonging to a friend of Mary's brother. "I had to be chaperoned on the trip," explained Mary. "This was by Mrs. Beauchant, the postmaster's wife. She sat in the back watching us."

While visiting, Mary met Otto Brooks (see back story on Otto Brooks and his family below), the owner of the town's general store (located directly across the street from the hotel). Otto had come to this land in 1916 with his family from St. Johns, North Dakota. Three months later, on September 20, 1932, in the town of Falher, Mary and Otto were married - going back to Bluesky the same day.

Mary and Otto Standing Arm to Arm After Wedding - with Family Friends
Left to Right:
1. large man ? unknown; 2.Juliana Gruber; 3.John Gruber (with black hat);
4.Mary Gruber (with white hat); 5(man over Otto's right shoulder)Alphonse Courchesne (Aunt Julliette's husband); 6.Otto Brooks; 7.(lady over Otto's left shoulder) Aunt Julliette.( Bertha Chailler Brooks' sister.); 8.Grandma Marie Brooks; 9.(man with white brimmed hat) Jim Gruber;
10.(lady partially hidden)- unknown perhaps Jim Gruber wife;
11.(lady with white hat) Annette Phalempin; 12.(man with moustache) Isaie (Isaac) Phalempin - husband of Annette; 13.(man in front kneeling down) - unknown.
 PHOTO  of Otto and Mary Brooks Wedding Day
Mary and Otto Standing Arm in Arm After Wedding - with Family Friends
PHOTO Courtesy: Estate of Mary Brooks
Photo supplied by Trina (DeWolfe) MacDonnell
 Original Photo of Wedding  supplied by estate of Mary Brooks

Working with her husband in the Bluesky store, Mary remembers eggs being 12 cents a dozen and butter being 25 cents per pound. Being in the middle of the depression years, Mary said that it took a lot of eggs and homemade butter to trade for the staples such as sugar and flour. The decade of the 30s was very tough, and about 1935, Otto and Mary had to close their store.

Mary Brooks along with grand-daughter Corrine DeWolfe
Photo Taken On a Visit To Daughter June in Nova Scotia
 PHOTO  of  Mary Brooks and daughter June
 Image of Mary Brooks and Family Crossing The Peace River

Their daughter, June, was born on June 20,1933 at the old Fairview hospital.

Otto and Mary's son Warren was born in Fairview on September 9, 1934.

Getting by for the next few years meant relying on Mary's sewing ability for income. In 1938, they moved into Mrs. Hernstock's house in Fairview. Mary was then able to sew for more customers, and Otto spent some time working in the elevators under Dave Forgie. However, due to health conditions with his lungs, Otto had to give this job up. Mary was using her dressmaking and sewing talents to make ends meet. She spent one week a year at the homes of Maria Bernstein, Grandmother Boytinck and the Baileys doing up their needs in the sewing and dressmaking line. She also took in sewing while living outside Bluesky .

In late 1939 Otto and family went back to his mother's (Grandma Marie Brooks) homestead south of " Old Bluesky " and farmed for thirteen years. Mary continued with her dressmaking. When June started school and her teacher was Helen Bubel. June went to East Burnt School, took her grade nine studies at Friedenstal and finished high school in Fairview. Both June and Warren were confirmed in the mid 1940's in the Friedenstal Church.

They lived on the farm south of Old Bluesky until 1953, sewing and farming, milking 12 cows, making butter, and selling butter, milk and eggs.

In 1950 June joined the R.C.A.F. and stayed with the organization for three years. In 1953 she married a navy man, Earle DeWolfe, in New Brunswick. (At that present time they lived in Eureka, Nova Scotia with a family of three girls; Corinne (Mrs. Randy Bell) who lived in Prince Edward Island; Julie a high school teacher in French and lived at home; and Katherine (Trina) who attended the University of Nova Scotia in Wolfeville.)

 Image of Mary Brooks in her Hungarian Costume  Image of Mary Brooks house in Fairview and history

In April of 1953, Mary borrowed money from her brother and bought Bill Krasnoff's cafe and bakeshop in Fairview. Otto was happy to get off the farm, so he and Mary opened "Brooks Cafe". It was located on the land that currently houses the Golden Age Drop- In Centre.

Enjoying their time with a lot of good customers, Mary and Otto even added rooms in the back where they held banquets. Eventually, the rooms in the back of the restaurant housed the town's "court house". When the "court house" moved into the new provincial building, the rooms in the cafe were used as a bingo hall, and finally, as the drop-in centre for seniors.


In 1958 my mother Juliana Gruber died. She was buried in the Friendental Cemetary.

 Juliana Gruber Tombstone

In the late 1960's when Otto's lung problems worsened, Mary took him to Arizona for a couple of winters. In 1966 Otto was in ill health. Mary found that operating a restaurant was too much for her to do alone. She shut down the restaurant and went back to what she knew well- sewing. Opening up the "Ladies' Ready-To-Wear Shop", Mary sold clothing, did repairs and alterations, and also sold yard goods.

Son Warren graduated from Fairview High School and joined an oil rig company. He married Iris Gault in Whitecourt, Alberta, in 1961. (They now reside in Spruce Grove, Alberta. Warren worked off the Coast of Scotland on offshore drilling. Warren and Iris have five children; James, Dianne (Mrs. Jerry Maco), David, Darrel and Micheal.)

Otto died on October 26, 1969.

Mary operated the Ready-To-Wear Shop until 1975, when she retired and sold the lot to the Town of Fairview for a proposed park. Eventually the old lot was leased to the Golden Age Society. About 1977, Brooks' Cafe was demolished, and a new building replaced the old drop-in centre.

Mary bought a house in Fairview and kept active by gardening and handcrafts: knitting, crocheting, quilting and cut work. In 1998, she moved into Garrison Manor for five years and then, in April of 2002 she moved into Harvest Lodge.

Over the past 50 years, Mary has been involved in numerous community groups that have helped build and shape Fairview into what it is today. During the 1950s, Mary joined the Women's Institute, and as a member, helped get the arena built in Fairview. Mary remembers standing outside in the open freezing air, witnessing hockey games and selling hot chocolate to keep warm. The WI also sponsored the Fall Seed Fair that led to the formation of the Fairview Agricultural Society. Due to Mary's urging, the Ag. Society donated about $40,000 toward construction of the Fine Arts Centre. Mary was also President of the District Horticultural Society, and for many years was a judge of flower shows in the area. Mary has also been a regional director of the Provincial Association for the Council of Aging of Alberta, a non-government organization representing seniors' interests. Mary and other seniors recognized a need for more seniors' lodging and were advocates for the facility which became Harvest Lodge. As well, Mary, and a few others, contributed well over 600 volunteer hours in the community, which resulted in Fairview qualifying for a $60,000 grant from the Provincial Wild Rose Fund. This money went towards purchasing a bus for the residents of Harvest Lodge. Mary continued to provide quilts for charitable raffles and worked on the flower garden on the south side of the lodge.

When asked of any family awards or special recognition, Mary laughingly said that her family is "ordinary folks" and that the closest her family came to anything like recognition was that her grandfather Gruber, originating from Fishamen, Austria, was a groomsman for a baroness in Hungary. However, Mary's husband Otto had a family member, Hubert Brooks, who had been a fighter in the Polish Underground Army. After escaping his own capture, he went back into Poland to rescue other missing soldiers. An article praising his accomplishments was featured in an Edmonton newspaper.

Mary views her life as interesting, saying that her success is due to a willingness to learn. She tries to keep one step ahead by predicting what will be required in the future. This includes fun and culture. After retiring from her own business, Mary worked for two winters cooking in a bush camp in order to pay for a trip back to the old country to visit her brother, Frank, and his family. Mary remembers that this trip on a Wardair flight cost her $250 for a return ticket. Mary has since been back twice more to Hungary and, although she says that her childhood homeland was beautiful, she has never had any wish to live there again. Mary has also traveled to Paris, taken a boat cruise to Australia and New Zealand from Vancouver, has flown to Hawaii twice, once to England and once to Southern Italy with Marg Kaiser.

Fondly, and with an almost inaudible air of regret or perhaps nostalgia, Mary recalls, as a child, owning a beautiful fancy doll with curled hair and with its own lined wicker carriage. As she was not allowed to bring this doll to Canada, her mom sold the doll and bought Mary a gold chain with the money. Mary said that she had that gold chain for many years but lost it only a couple of years ago in Garrison Manor. Musingly, Mary said that she guessed that one must go on, and that one's fantasies must stay behind; however, as her friend says, this history is to be continued.

Mary (Gruber) Brooks passed away on July 9, 2010.

This next brief account appears in the book Where The Cold Spring Flows - Whitelaw and Surrounding Districts and contains a brief description of Otto Brooks and the Brooks Family back history (pages 284-286).

Otto Brooks & Brooks Family Back Story as told to Eileen MacDonald by Mary Brooks

Otto Hubert Brooks was the sixth child born to Hubert and Marie (Gregoire) Brooks on November 8, 1905, in St John's, North Dakota, U.S.A.
His father Hubert Brooks, owned and operated a general store. Otto's parents had both been born in Quebec. His father's family name was Rousseau, which means brook, and when living in North Dakota, he had his family name changed to Brooks - the English translation of Rousseau.

In 1912, Hubert and Marie Brooks, their children, Dora, Amie, Nellie, Fred, Joe and Otto, moved to Lafleche, Saskatchewan to operate a hotel.

In 1914 Fred Brooks travelled by train to Athabasca, and then by horseback from Grouard to Old Bluesky where he took a homestead. They had two children, Hubert and Doris while in Bluesky .

Sisters Nellie and Dora, both married, had stayed in Saskatchewan.

Amie and Joe took homesteads in the area.

Hubert homesteaded south of Bluesky in 1916 and kept 180 head of cattle. He also ran a General Store at Old Bluesky . In 1918 a severe drought hit the area and all the cattle starved to death during the fall and winter months as there was no straw or feed available.

Hubert Brooks started his sons, Joe and Otto, in business in 1927. This was Brooks Brothers, a general store in Old Bluesky , which they operated until 1935.

Hubert died in the Fairview Hospital in 1928, and Marie died in Saskatchewan in 1942.
Both are buried at Friedenstal.

Amie Brooks wife, Mamie, was a trained nurse. She was of Irish descent and always had a hearty laugh. She cared for and cured many of the sick families throughout the district. Mamie also worked in Whitelaw. Later they moved to Vancouver, B.C. They had three children - Wendell (died overseas), Margaret and Helen.

Joe Brooks married Bertha Chailler and had six children. They left to live in Falher in the 1940's.

Fred Brooks left the homestead and went east to Montreal with his wife, Laura. Fred died in 1944 and was survived by wife Laura and two children, a son, Hubert, and a daughter, Mrs. Doris (Brooks) Gendron.

June (Brooks) DeWolfe Family Story

Some of the following information is also taken from the book "Heart of Gold Fairview 1928-1978" by Harold Nicholson published by Bulletin Commercial Edmonton 1978.

June Brooks was born on June 20, 1933.

Photo Following June's Graduation
Left to Right: John Gruber, June Brooks, Jim Gruber, Warren Brooks, Otto Brooks
PHOTO Courtesy: Michael Brooks
 PHOTO Fllowing June's Graduation

Photo Following June's Graduation
Left to Right: John Gruber, June Brooks, Mary Brooks, Otto Brooks, and Jim Gruber
PHOTO Courtesy: Michael Brooks
 PHOTO Fllowing June's Graduation 2

In 1950, June joined the R.C.A.F. for a four year period.

In 1953, June married married Earl DeWolfe, a member of the Royal Canadian Navy.

They raised a family of three girls:

While her husband served in the Royal Canadian Navy, she lived in Halifax for 25 years. Upon retirement, they moved to Hopewell in Pictou County, where they resided for 28 + years. June was an avid gardener and took a keen interest in crafts, joining the Pictou County Arts and Crafts Society. She served as a volunteer at the Museum of Industry and was a member of the Museum Quilters.

In 1993, Earl DeWolfe passed away and is buried in the Hopewell Cemetery in Halifax.

In 2006, June Theodora DeWolfe died at the age of 73 on Monday, September 25th in Aberdeen Hospital, New Glasgow.
Burial was in Hopewell Cemetery. Born in Blue Sky, Alta., she was the daughter of Mary and Otto Brooks, Fairview, Alta.

A very loving and caring person, she continues to be sadly missed by daughters, Corinne (DeWolfe) Bell , Julie, Trina (DeWolfe) MacDonnell, and grandchildren, Brooke and Tanner Bell, Lauren and Taylor MacDonnell; and brother, Warren Brooks. She was predeceased by her husband, Earl DeWolfe.

On March 9, 2011, Julie Ann DeWolfe (daughter of June Brooks DeWolfe) died at the Victoria General Hospital, Halifax. Julie had been an employee of the Chignecto Central Regional School Board having taught French since September 1982. Julie had a natural gift for teaching and is fondly remembered by her students. Julie is buried in the Hopewell Cemetery in Halifax.

Warren Brooks Family Story

Warren Brooks was born on September 9, 1934.

Photo of June & Warren Brooks
PHOTO Courtesy: Michael Brooks
 PHOTO  of Warren & June Brooks
Photo of Warren Brooks
PHOTO Courtesy: Michael Brooks
 PHOTO  of Warren Brooks

Warren graduated from Fairview High School AB and joined an oil drilling company.

On June 15, 1961, Warren married Iris Gault (b. June 30, 1943) in Whitecourt, Alta.

They then resided in Spruce Grove, Alta.

For a period of time, Warren worked just off the Coast of Scotland in the offshore drilling profession.

Warren and Iris had five children

The Passing of Darrell Wayne Brooks Saturday, November 26, 2011
Warren Brooks Family

Very sad news occured in Siegas, New-Brunswick, on Saturday, November 26, 2011 when Darrell Wayne Brooks passed away in a tragic automobile accident. Darrell was in the process of moving his family's belongings from Carstairs, Alberta to their new home in Fall River, Nova Scotia.

Darrel was a dedicated loving father and husband who will be sadly missed by his wife of 8 years, Sasha Girard Brooks, and their young children, daughter Amelie (age 7) and son Marek (age 4).

He was a graduate of NAIT, in Architecture, and managed a successful construction and hardware company in Carstairs, Alberta from 2002 to November, 2011.
He was a gifted athlete who enjoyed the thrills of scuba diving, mountain biking, mountain climbing, football, and go-kart racing.
He will always be fondly remembered for his creativity, fantastic construction ability, his whit, and peculiar sense of humor.
His friends will always remember his steadfast friendship and readiness to help out anyone who needed him.


The Life and Times of Hubert Brooks M.C. C.D.

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