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Philo Brooks

Obituary of Philo J. Brooks

Philo J. Brooks, 92 of Ransomville, husband of the late N. Jeanette (Sanger) Brooks, entered into rest on Monday December 14, 2020, at Our Lady of Peace Ascension Living, Lewiston, NY. Born in East Otto, NY, on May 7, 1928, he was the son of the late M. Dever and Rachel (Sikes) Brooks. He was a graduate of Cattaraugus (Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central) High School and a member of the Cattaraugus United Methodist Church. Philo came to Ransomville, in 1946, when he and a friend left East Otto, on an old motorcycle, which broke down out just outside of Ransomville. Once the cycle was fixed, his friend set out for Canada, but Philo liked Ransomville and decided to stay. On Apr. 14, 1949, he married Ransomville sweetheart Norma Jeanette Sanger. He served in the United States Airforce from 1951-1955, earning the rank of Senior Airman – E-4. After, he worked as a crane operator, joining the International Operating Engineers, Local 463. Philo developed an interest in local politics and served as Town of Porter Supervisor, from 1966-1969. He also served as President of the Ransomville Free Library and was instrumental in the development of the original library building, built in 1973. Brooks served on the Niagara County Legislature and its predecessor, the Board of Supervisors, from 1966 to 1993, winning 14 terms. He served as both majority and minority leader and was respected by both sides of the aisle. Lee Simonson, of Lewiston, NY, stated that Philo devoted his life, not only to his family, but to his community. He was elected by his neighbors to serve as Supervisor of the Town of Porter and subsequently as County Legislator. For nearly 30 years, Philo dedicated himself to representing and protecting the interests of the citizens of Niagara County. He gained the trust and admiration of his colleagues and was highly respected and recognized for his leadership, his understanding of local law, his honesty and his willingness to stand up for his convictions. Involved in virtually every major aspect of county government from the 1960s to the 1990s, Philo served as Majority Leader of the Legislature and as chairman of several committees including Public Works. With unanimous bi-partisan support, the Niagara County Office Building on Park Avenue in Lockport was named after him shortly after he retired from public service. One of his colleagues called Philo, “the greatest legislator to serve Niagara County during the last half of the 20th Century." Philo enjoyed apple farming and was affectionally known as the “Gentleman Farmer”, and ran Brooks’ U Pick Apples. He had a love for country and was member of the Buffalo Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Korean War Veterans Association. He is predeceased by his brother Torrance Brooks (Lenora Nunweiler), twin sisters Laura Jean Fleckenstein (Edwin), and Lora Jane Wilms (Carl), and brother Robert. He is survived by his two daughters Phila Ibaugh (James) of Ransomville, and Jan Johnpier (Jack) of Wilson; three grandchildren Rachel Johnson (Karl) of Albany, NY; Jay Ibaugh of Ransomville, NY, and Brooke Johnpier of Wilson, NY; and two great granddaughters- Venla and Marita Johnson of Albany, NY. Service will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ransomville Free Library, or to the Ransomville Volunteer Fire Company PO Box 239. Arrangements entrusted to HARDISON FUNERAL HOMES INC. Please visit www.hardisonfuneralhomes.com
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