Remembering Bruce and Elaine Brooks

  • Bruce and Elaine Brooks are pictured with their daughter - and TILT Trustee - Janice McPhail.  photo © Steve Sturtz

It is with great sadness that we share word that Bruce and Elaine Brooks passed away earlier this year. For those who did not have the opportunity to get to know Bruce and Elaine, they were genuine people and true River Rats. And their love for Grindstone Island was contagious.

When you think of the Brooks family, you can only think of the deep roots that tie Grindstone Island together. The Dano, Cummings and Rusho roots intertwine with the Brooks roots to add to the bedrock that is the Island community. Bruce’s father, Irving Brooks, married Jessie Dano, grounding their 1000 Islands life by honeymooning on Grenell Island in 1904. Bruce was a River Rat from the start, living first in Jessie’s family house on Grindstone and later in “Daybrook,” the house he built with his father and brother. He laid the stone himself for the fireplace that now graces Janice & Dan McPhail’s living room in the Brooks family home.

The Brooks were an integral part of the Grindstone Community. They were regular churchgoers, and Bruce served on the GIUMC Church Council while Elaine hosted early Men’s and Women’s Coffee in the cottage they built next to Daybrook. Bruce and Elaine set a high standard for Men's and Women’s Coffee, but the dinners were where they excelled.

Not only were Bruce and Elaine dedicated and passionate members of the Grindstone Island community, but they were also long-standing supporters of TILT’s land conservation efforts. In 2010, they donated a critical piece of Grindstone Island waterfront to TILT. This property is now the site of TILT’s Grindstone Island Stewardship Facility. It also houses TIERS emergency equipment for the benefit of all who live, work and play on the Island. The “Bruce and Elaine Brooks Building” is a lasting tribute to their love of Grindstone, its land, and the families who are lucky enough to share its bounty.

While the Brooks Family and Grindstone community have lost great friends, Bruce & Elaine’s kindness and generosity are sure to live on.

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