Michael Joseph Brooks
Michael Joseph “Mick” Brooks, 62, of Conway, South Carolina, passed away Saturday, September 10, 2022, at home after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was born February 26, 1960, in Rome, New York, the son of Rainey M. and Lee Bell Brooks. He graduated from Rome Free Academy in 1978.
He is survived by the love of his life and best friend of 21 Years, Val Vaccaro, Conway, SC; stepsons, Thomas Gay (Natalie), Pittsburgh, PA, and Samuel Gay (Jaime), Conway, SC; and four grandchildren who loved their Mickipa; brother, Ken Brooks, Beaumont, CA; two sisters, Marni Conley, Las Vegas, NV, and Sara Johnson (Rick), Oneida, NY; nephews, Matthew Brooks, Las Vegas, NV, Jon Brooks, Riverside, CA, Ricky Johnson, Sylvan Beach, NY, Gary Johnson, Sylvan Beach, NY, and Jeremiah Young, Fredericksburg, VA; nieces, April Pankratz, Star, ID, Shannon Young, Port Angeles, WA, and Tracy Young, Edgewood, NM. He was predeceased by his parents and a sister, Lesley Young.
Mick’s passion in life was music, mastering guitar licks and writing songs while still in elementary school. After seeing “A Hard Day’s Night”, he became a lifelong Beatles fan. Mick played with many central New York bands to include Brax, DARE, UHL, The Playbacks, Jeff Wellington Band, Jon Liebing Band, Tears, Red Hush, 24/7, and others. Mick later teamed up with Fran Cosmo as part of the band “Cosmo”, also making multiple appearances with “Rock Pack” where he had the opportunity to play with many of his favorites to include Fran Cosmo and Barry Goudreau (Boston), Denny Laine (Moody Blues/Wings), Alex Ligterwood (Santana), Kevin Chalfant (The Storm/Journey), John Elefante (Kansas), Jimi Jamison (Survivor), Bill Champlin (Chicago), Bobby Kimball (Toto), Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray), Joey Molland (Badfinger), and several others. A special thank you to Fran Cosmo for opening the door that allowed Mick to achieve his dreams.
Mick had a quiet intelligence where he was able to see the irony and subtleties of anything. He could take the most ordinary aspect of life and find the humorous side, turning it into a memorable story. Even years later, saying a couple of related words could make people burst out laughing. He could listen to a bird call and point out all the nuances, grabbing his guitar to render a perfect rendition. Mick loved all things aviation, from planes to navigation and radar systems, spending many hours on Flight Simulator. He was very creative, always drawing, writing, and working on a longstanding collaborative project spoofing Beatles lyrics as “The Rebutles”.
Mick maintained a calm spirit and positive attitude throughout his illness, trusting that God had everything under control. He was an incredibly kind and caring person who will be missed by all whose lives he touched.
A special thank you to Val, Sammy, Jaime, Tommy, and Natalie for taking care of Mick throughout the course of his illness. Mick’s family will be forever grateful for your dedication and love.