Neil Brooke passed away peacefully with family by his side at the Carrot River Health Centre on April 9, 2019. Neil’s memory lives on through his wife Mary, Children Connie Hainstock, Howard (Linda) Brooke, Mark (Verna Gail) Brooke, Darlene (Michael) Gagnon, Glen Brooke (Vickie Bakke), Cheryl Brooke (Kevin Sutton), 17 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Neil was predeceased by his parents Aubrey and Ruth Brooke, son Wayne Brooke, sisters Florence Woods and Peggy Nelson, and first wife Violet Brooke.
Neil was born on May 15, 1923 on the family homestead at Ardath Saskatchewan. Dad was of the age where most men were going off to war, but Dad failed the required physical as he was prone to bronchitis and was cursed with flat feet, which we understand is a detriment to marching. As a result, Dad was not approved to go to war, but instead stayed on the farm helping his father, where he was responsible for driving a team of 6 to 8 horses in the fields. Oh how things have changed. He was also part of a custom combining group that worked across Canada and into the US. Several winters during war time Dad went to work for The Pas Lumber Company floating logs up the river to The Pas. He also worked for the Lumber Company as a horse wrangler taking care of horses that were used in pulling trees out of the bush.
During his time as a young man working on the family farm, Dad had the occasion to travel to Kettleston, near Regina Beach, to help move his best friend’s wife to Ardath. During that trip Dad met Violet May Thompson. It was not long before they were married and started their own farm and family at Ardath. All 7 of their children were born in the nearby town of Outlook.
In 1965 Dad had the opportunity to sell his farm land at Ardath and buy newly opened land in the rural area of Battle Heights, near Carrot River. It was a challenging move, but Dad loaded up his family and moved the 400 km to Battle Heights. The land at Battle Heights was largely unbroken and the work was hard clearing land and picking stones. Farming was a challenge during that time and none of the 4 boys were particularly interested in farming. Tragedy struck on a hot summer day in 1967 when the house burned down losing the entire house and contents. Not long after, the family moved into the town of Carrot River.
Dad continued to farm for a few years until he decided to get a job in town and rent out his land. Initially he worked at the Cockshutt Farm Equipment Dealership, then in 1972 he started working at the Versatile Morris Rod Weeder Farm Equipment Dealership. This is where Dad really found his calling as the front line parts man. Dad had a knack for numbers and thoroughly enjoyed working in the parts area. He liked dealing with the farmers and always made a point to know everyone’s name. Dad enjoyed working there so much it took a couple of attempts at retirement before he finally made his retirement permanent in 1990 at the age of 67.
In retirement, Dad enjoyed old time dancing, fishing, playing cards, golfing and curling. It was on the golf course he got to know Mary Doerksen. After years of being a bachelor and living on his own, his family received a phone call that he was getting married. Dad and Mary were wed on November 20, 1999. It was an adjustment for both having a partner again, but they enjoyed life together and took the opportunity to travel, work on their dance steps, golf game, and playing cards with friends.