default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Galt High gym packed for Brooks' memorial service

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:00 pm

Aaron Brooks was remembered as a person who relished life, cruised around town on his moped and had a perpetual smile wherever he went.

"Aaron knew that if he could make you smile, you would like him," said Rick Keiser, outreach pastor at Family Life Community Church, who conducted Wednesday's memorial service for Brooks that drew nearly 1,000 people to the Galt High gym.

"He would do anything to give a smile, and he would do anything to get a smile," Keiser said.

Brooks, 15, was found dead on Nov. 5 in the southern tributary of Deadman's Gulch, just east of Emerald Vista Park. He had been missing since Oct. 26.

Salvatore Carmelo Maggio, 19, of Wilton, has been charged with Brooks' murder.

The numerous speakers who talked about Brooks portrayed him as a thoughtful, loving person who had fun doing whatever he did.

George Romano, a family friend and Brooks' coach for the Galt Chiefs Pop Warner football team, said that Brooks will be remembered for his "loving, high-energy personality with the smile that became his trademark."

Brooks balanced his great sense of humor with his sense of responsibility, Romano said.

"As parents, we couldn't be more proud of Aaron and the life he had," his father, Bernie Brooks, said.

The service included opening and closing prayers by Keiser, music by the Galt High choir and comments by Keiser, friends Samantha Lucero, Chris Duro, Nick Murray and Jessica Treizo, and McCaffrey Middle School teacher Christina Lawrie. Numerous others came down from the bleachers to offer their stories about Brooks as well.

"It's been a long goodbye for (the family), said Kim Carlucci, whose son, Nick Murray, was a good friend of Brooks.

Aaron Brooks

Carlucci noted the stress the family has endured, starting with Brooks' disappearance on Oct. 26. Then came the discovery of his body on Nov. 5, a fund-raising spaghetti dinner for the Brooks family on Nov. 9 that drew an estimated 1,400, a private service the following day and Wednesday's community service at Galt High.

"I'm glad they had this for the kids because they really needed some closure," Carlucci said.

Lawrie, an eighth-grade history teacher at McCaffrey, talked about the great rapport and friendship she developed with Brooks since he was in eighth grade in 2003. He was considering a law enforcement career after taking a criminal justice exploratory class, she said.

In a story that may have produced the greatest laugh of the evening from the crowd, Lawrie told about one particular time Brooks used his new-found knowledge in criminal justice.

"Aaron frequented the principal's office for one reason or another," Lawrie said. "He said, 'Mr. Rammer, I want to be represented by a lawyer.'"

Bernie Brooks said after the service that he hadn't heard the story about his son demanding a lawyer.

"It sounds like Aaron to be able to apply what he learned," he admitted.

Bernie Brooks reflected in his remarks to the crowd about how nice it is to see so many flowers, cards and other mementos on a white cross at the location his son's body was found.

One side of bleachers in the Galt High gymnasium was nearly packed for Aaron Brooks' memorial service Wednesday night. (Ross Farrow/News-Sentinel)

"When I walk to where Aaron's cross is, it's not a lonely place anymore," Bernie Brooks said.

Sarah Brooks, Aaron's older sister, said she wasn't surprised by the stories his classmates told.

"My brother and I were pretty well connected," Sarah Brooks said after the service. "He couldn't wait to call me about the trouble he got into."

Sarah Brooks moved from Santa Barbara to the family home in Galt just 12 days before her brother disappeared, but she takes his death philosophically.

"I have faith in the master plan God has," she said. "It's a beautiful tragedy, like a Shakespearean novel."

Brooks' mother, Mariline Brooks, said she enjoyed Wednesday's service.

"It was great; it was wonderful that we had closure together," she said.

While the evening focused on celebrating Brooks' life, a note was inserted inside the memorial service program asking people to protest what some fear could be Maggio's release from Sacramento County Jail if a Superior Court judge grants him bail at Maggio's Dec. 8 court date.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.


Popular Stories


Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 31


Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists