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Reporter obituary: Kevin Patrick Brooks

Kevin Patrick Brooks, a resident of Shelter Island and Brooklyn, died in Southampton Hospital on April 3, 2020 from complications of the COVID-19 Virus. He was 75. Ginny, his devoted wife of 53 years, was at his side.

Kevin was remembered by his loved ones as a strong, proud and dedicated family man. He was a devout Catholic, a patriot and a Marine. A hard-working professional, Kevin positively influenced the insurance business. He was also passionate about numerous interests, including Irish music, birding, basketball, boating, politics and civic life. He formed deep and lasting friendships with many people.

Kevin was born on April 13, 1944 to John J. and Margaret (nee Gerrity) Brooks. He was raised in Washington Heights, Manhattan with his four siblings. After graduating from Incarnation School, Kevin attended St. Joseph’s Institute in Barrytown, New York with the De La Salle Christian Brothers, and continued his high school studies at La Salle Academy in New York City. He graduated from Manhattan College in 1966 with a degree in psychology, and married Virginia Dorothy Tame (Ginny) in June 1966. While a student at Manhattan, Kevin joined the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon graduation he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, and served a tour of duty in Vietnam from 1967-1968

He continued to serve as a member of the reserves, completing 30 years service with the USMCR and retiring as a colonel in 1992. He ended his military career as Battalion Commander, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines Reserve Unit in Garden City, Long Island.

In 1969, Kevin returned to New York City and joined General Reinsurance as a casualty facultative underwriter. He had a long and successful career, retiring after 40-plus years as Chairman, President and CEO of Gen Re Group subsidiary General Star, which Kevin led from its founding. During his years with General Star, he became active with the surplus lines industry trade group, NAPSLO, serving on its board and as president from 1989 to 1990.

In 1999 NAPSLO honored Kevin with the Charles McAlear award, recognizing his substantial contributions to the specialty insurance business. During Kevin’s professional career he also completed the NYU Graduate School of Business Administration program in 1978, and in 1984 attended the Executive Program at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.

The birth of Kevin and Ginny’s first child brought them to Park Slope, Brooklyn in 1971, buying a brownstone and renovating it over the next decade or more. At that time Kevin became active in neighborhood politics, joining the newly formed Independent Neighborhood Democrats, which began the start of many years of long-lasting friendships. At the same time Kevin founded the United Block Association to unite blocks to improve the quality of life in Park Slope.

He was also a member and past trustee of the Park Slope Civic Council.

From 1989 to 2006 he served as Chairman of the Board of Consultors to the School of Arts, Science, and Education at Manhattan College. In 2007 he joined the Board of Consultors to the School of Business. From 2009 to present he served as Chairman of the Financial Services Advisory Council at Manhattan College. He was a former member of the Board of Trustees of Mashomack Preserve. Kevin served on the Board of Directors of The Montauk Club, a private Brooklyn club, and also served as its treasurer for over 10 years. Kevin also served on the board of the Long Island Chapter of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation in 2009, becoming its chairman in 2012.

An avid birder for more than 55 years, Kevin was equally as passionate about basketball and Irish music. When he wasn’t singing or playing his drum, the bodhrán, he could be found playing the bones, which he fit in his pocket, easily accessed whenever an opportunity to play presented itself.

Kevin and Ginny came to Shelter Island in 1980 after the birth of their third child. They built a family home that became a favorite gathering place for their children, and later their grandchildren, who could be found there on most summer and holiday weekends. After retirement, the Island was where Kevin and Ginny spent more of their time, playing golf at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club or enjoying the tranquility of Mashomack Preserve.

In the summer months, several members of the family would be at their Island home almost every weekend. For many years, annual family reunions would be held on the Island, where Kevin, a great storyteller, would “hold court,” whether over dinner or into the wee hours.

Kevin is survived by Ginny, their three children, Kerry Brooks Mitchell of Mamaroneck, N.Y.; Kieran (Johanna) Brooks of Port Washington, N.Y.; Michael (Sinéad) Brooks of New York City; and was “Pop Pop” to seven grandchildren, Madeline, Elizabeth, and Timothy Mitchell, Annalucia and Gabriela Brooks, and Grady and Leighton Brooks. Other surviving relatives include his sisters, Maureen Klette McCausland, (James), Sheila A. Corr, (Peter), and brother, Donal J. Brooks. His oldest brother and sister-in-law, John J. Brooks (Marianne), predeceased him.

While his presence will be dearly missed, his family said, his spirit will be felt at many an Irish session and lively dinner conversation — his memory now living on in the stories friends and family share of his life well-lived, and of course, in their laughter.

Contributions in memory of Kevin, with the goal of creating the Col. Kevin P. Brooks USMC Memorial Scholarship, can be made to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to the children of Marines and Navy Corpsmen in need. Donations can be made at tinyurl.com/KevinPBrooks or mailed to MCSF, 909 N. Washington St, Ste. 400, Alexandria, VA 22314. Please include a note that your contribution is being made in memory of Kevin P. Brooks.

Due to the COVID-19 precautions, a funeral service cannot be held. A service at Our Lady of the Isle Cemetery on Shelter Island will be held for the immediate family on April 9, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. He will be buried in his Marine Corps full dress blues.

The family will plan a celebration of his life in the future as the restrictions from the coronavirus are lifted.