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Mary Frances Green Brooks

January 22, 1926 January 23, 2022
Mary Frances  Green Brooks
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Obituary for Mary Frances Green Brooks
Mary Frances Green Brooks, born January 22, 1926, in Memphis, Tennessee, died peacefully on January 23, 2022, having lived gracefully and unselfishly for all of her 96 years. Her life was truly devoted to others, as she gave of herself daily to feed and nurture those around her. She leaves her sons Ronnie (Irene) Brooks of Olive Branch, MS, Dale (Martha) Brooks of Madison, MS, her granddaughter Amy (Bradley) Barton of Mantee, MS, her great granddaughter Cassidy Barton of Birmingham, AL, her sisters-in-law Ada Brooks Johnston of Germantown, TN, Elaine Green of St. Louis, MO, Sandy Green of St. Charles, MO, and many others who miss her presence. She was preceded by her husband Dr. Tommy Brooks and her brother Bill Green of St. Charles, MO.

She was born to Forrest Kennedy Green and Mae Dell Allen Green and was their only child until the family was joined by an adorable baby brother whom they adopted in the late 1930's. Frances had seen the picture of the orphaned four-year-old in the Commercial Appeal and asked her parents to adopt him. While children, Bill and Frances loved singing and dancing and entered talent contests at the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. They were both musically gifted and loved performing for others. They enjoyed walking to the nearby Memphis Fairgrounds on summer nights to ride the Grand Carousel and the famous Pippin roller coaster. Frances loved movies and often walked to the neighborhood theater where admission was 10 cents. Her favorite movies were the Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald musicals, and she was drawn to the performing arts at an early age. She took ballet and voice lessons throughout her childhood. Frances also longed to travel from an early age. When she was 15, she and her Mom traveled to California with the family of a school friend, where they saw the Pacific coast at Big Sur, the Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, and toured Los Angeles and Hollywood.

Frances graduated from Central High School in Memphis and attended Memphis State University. She met her future husband Tommy on a blind date while he was a student at UT Dental School during WWII. Upon graduation the Navy deployed him to the South Pacific. In 1943, she tried out for a summer stock scholarship offered by Priscilla Beach Theatre Players in Plymouth, MA. She was awarded the scholarship and soon traveled north to seek fame and fortune. Frances had the leading role in the play, "Vickie", and was soon on her way to New York City to further her musical and dance skills. She studied voice and worked for 20th Century Fox while there.  

When the war ended, Tommy went straight to New York to propose marriage. Knowing that he was the love of her life, they married on March 12, 1946. After a brief stay in New Orleans for Tommy to complete his service in the U. S. Navy, they moved to Jackson for him to begin a dental practice in the Lamar Life Building that would span over 40 years. In later years, after the two boys were older, Frances joined Tommy at the dental office to serve as his receptionist. In 1959, they returned to New York, where Frances was a contestant on two episodes of The Price is Right TV show. And to the delight of Ronnie and Dale, watching from their grandparent’s house in Memphis, she won the Grand Prize!

In the Jackson area, Frances made many friends and forged relationships that lasted decades through the Cedar Hill Garden Club, the Dental Auxiliary, Broadmeadow Methodist Church (charter member), Riverside Independent Methodist Church, Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Trace Ridge Baptist Church, Heritage Luncheon Club, and numerous bridge clubs. For many years she was involved with her church choirs, children’s Sunday School and the Missionary Society.

Her family spent many years in the Mississippi Gem & Mineral Society enjoying the rockhound hobby. For decades, Frances was the treasurer and hostess for their annual Rock Show in Jackson. Once when she was in her 50s, after the Rock Show set up was finished on Friday night, she collected all the vendor setup fees and had them in her purse to deposit in the bank. As she was leaving the Fairgrounds building on the way to her car, two thieves drove up in a car, pretending to ask directions and draw her close. The man in the passenger seat grabbed her purse while the driver floored the accelerator. As the car spun away, Frances – determined to not lose the money entrusted to her – hung on to the purse and was dragged over 50 yards until the thief finally lost his grip and they sped away. She was left on the pavement with the purse but also with significant injuries, some of which required long-lasting treatment. Somehow, she still showed up for work at the Show the next two days to fulfill her duties. Tommy often said he wished she had let the thieves have the purse, and he would have reimbursed the Club for the loss. But that didn’t fit with her strong sense of responsibility, tenacity, and fierce determination.

Tommy’s mother and father were both very ill during their last years, and Frances and Tommy spent countless weekends in Carthage over a period of years to give their caregivers a break. Her sons remember her tireless work in caring for them, and her unselfish spirit through it all. When Frances’ own mother developed dementia, she and Tommy had a mother-in-law wing added to the house and moved her in with them. Over the years, as the dementia became very severe, Frances worked heroically to care for her Mom and keep her safe as long as humanly possible.

Frances loved to cook and entertain. Her table was always resplendent with good food, served in a most pleasing presentation. Her generous spirit and warmth always made everyone feel welcome in her home. And she always made everyone take extra food with them, as if they hadn't had enough while there! She and Tommy shared a love of travel and visited Europe, Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, and the entire mainland U.S. – particularly the American West - cherishing each new experience.

Shortly after Tommy died in 2008, Frances was accompanying two elderly friends to a funeral. One was having difficulty walking up the front steps, and Frances tried to help her up. The other lady, over twice her size, started to fall and jerked her arm back, striking Frances in the chest so hard she sailed backward over the sidewalk and landed in the street on her back. She fractured a vertebra and had other injuries that kept her in the hospital and rehab for many weeks and leaving her with permanent damage to her back. Her sons had pleaded with her to never try to help anyone while walking, but that went against her selfless nature.

In 2016, to celebrate her 90th birthday, Ronnie and Dale, along with Irene and Martha, treated her to a visit to Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe and Carmel, CA.  This was her third visit to Yosemite, after having visited there as a teenager with her mother and later with Tommy and the boys. It was a glorious tour of the beautiful places she remembered from her childhood. It was amazing how many memories she had of a trip that she had experienced 70 years prior. In addition, she got to see some beautiful places she had never seen, as in the Pacific Coast Highway, Pebble Beach and Napa Valley. It was a trip she reminisced about in her last years.  

Frances was always active serving her Lord Jesus in local Methodist and Baptist churches with her helpful hands, beautiful singing voice, and willing heart. Her family remembers her passion and high aspirations, her love of experiencing God’s beautiful creations in this world, her unselfishness, her generosity, her optimism, her unfailing inclination to see the good in everyone, her zeal for serving people and her compassion for them, her love of family and friends, her faithfulness, her strong sense of responsibility and determination, and her trust in her Savior and Lord Jesus to see her through. Her failing health in the past four years could not erase her beautiful spirit. To the very end, she would always ask her caregivers about their own health and families and compliment them on their appearance or their work. Through everything, she never wanted to burden anyone - reserving her pity for those around her who are suffering and being a light in a dark world.

Her days were many and full. She leaves a legacy of love, faith, and Christian witness, always serving and putting others ahead of herself in every case. No one who knew her, even for a short while, was left untouched by her kindness. Her family finds joy in the assurance that, because of her faith in the promise of Jesus, she now enjoys life eternal in Heaven. Praise God.

Memorials may be made to Trace Ridge Baptist Church, 238 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland MS 39157.
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Event Information

Private Family Service

Memorial Contribution

Trace Ridge Baptist Church

238 Lake Harbour Rd.
Ridgeland, MS 39157

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