BROOKS, CHESTER EDWARD "CHET" (1935 ~ 2016). The following is an obituary for Chet Brooks, former Texas Senator. The obituary was provided by Weed, Corley, Fish Funeral Home of Austin.
A distinguished statesman and champion of the underserved, Chet Brooks was respected and beloved by his colleagues in the Texas Legislature and admired by citizens across the state for his 50 years of outstanding public service. First elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1962, he served in that chamber for four years before winning election to the Texas Senate, a body he would serve with distinction for 26 years.
Over the course of his legislative career, Chet played an important role in the passage of numerous pieces of landmark legislation. He was appointed chair of the powerful Senate Health and Human Services Committee in 1973, and he welcomed the opportunity it allowed him to advocate for those who could not speak for themselves. He worked tirelessly for an increase in aid for Texas' poorest children and families, and he championed the humane treatment of elderly Texans by working to improve the state's nursing facilities. He had an impressive legislative record of fighting for the rights of persons with disabilities, and Texans struggling with mental illness and mental retardation had no greater friend in the Texas Legislature than Chet Brooks. An outspoken advocate of cancer prevention and treatment in the State of Texas, he worked to establish the Texas Cancer Council and Cancer Registry, and in the 19805, he passed an Omnibus AIDS Bill.
A legislator of many talents and interests, Chet was also active on numerous other Senate committees, including Education, Finance, and Nominations, and he lent his wealth of knowledge and invaluable leadership to the Legislative Budget Board and several legislative oversight committees. In 1981, in acknowledgment of his experience and years of wise guidance, he was selected Dean of the Senate by his colleagues, a title he would hold for six legislative sessions. As he did with all of his endeavors, Chet handled the position with ever-present graciousness, dignity, and charm.
Following his retirement from the Senate in 1993, Chet continued to work for the people of Texas, first with the Texas Railroad Commission and then with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which he served for nine years, including a stint as an operations consultant in the office of the ombudsman.
As a public servant, Chet gladly took on the responsibilities of leadership and advocacy, and Texans continue to benefit from his outstanding contributions to our state.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Julia Biddle. He is survived by four daughters: Laura Kouns and husband Rick, Tracie Garvens and husband Tom, Anna Brooks and Katie Brooks; five grandchildren: Madison Kouns, Connor Kouns, Brendan Kouns, Gabe Garvens and Samuel Garvens; as well as countless friends and colleagues.
Services are scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at 1:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, located at 1201 Lavaca Street, Austin, Texas. A reception will be held at the church immediately following the service. Afterwards, burial will take place at the Texas State Cemetery at 3:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association at ALZ.org or CASA of Travis County.