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Loved in life and in death

COLERAIN – Perhaps it’s fitting that a woman who loved her family and community with all her heart will be buried on Valentine’s Day.

Bernice Ping Brooks, 84, of Colerain died Tuesday morning in an automobile accident on US 13 in Virginia, just north of the state line. Her daughter – 60-year-old Teresa Brooks Brown who lived in the Trap community of Bertie County – also died in the two-vehicle crash. Brown was driving her mother to a medical appointment in Norfolk, VA at the time of the 8:05 a.m. accident.

The driver of the other vehicle – who has yet to be identified, but has been determined to be at fault in the fatal crash – was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with serious injuries.

Charges are pending following an investigation by the Suffolk Police Department and review by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Back at home, family and friends of both women are choosing to remember the good times of life rather than focusing on a split second of time Tuesday morning.

“She was always a cheerful person, so loving, so kind, so caring,” said Brenda Adams, whose husband, John, is Brooks’ nephew and also next door neighbor in Colerain.

“She loved helping everybody,” Adams added. “She spent every day with her sister, my mother-in-law, Amelia Adams. They did everything together, just as most sisters will do. She was so sweet; we will miss her so much.”

Brooks also enjoyed another family for 40 years. That represents the length of service she turned in as an employee at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie.

“We are deeply saddened at this news about one of our long-term staff members at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital,” stated Vidant RCH President Sue Lassiter. “Mrs. Bernice Brooks faithfully served our hospital for many years in the accounting department in charge of payroll.   Her family was dedicated to our hospital, as her husband also had a long tenure of service here. She long will be remembered by those who knew and worked with her.”

While she was working and even well into retirement, Brooks wasn’t the type of slow down. She was extremely active in her church – Colerain Baptist, where she was a WMU member (at one time serving as director for five years), served as a Trustee and Church Clerk, and sang in the choir.

She also served as a poll worker on election day at the Colerain precinct.

Like her mom, Brown was also a “people person” – loved as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter and sister. She was also very active in church….once a member of Colerain Baptist before transferring her membership to Mars Hill Baptist in the Trap community. When she lived in Virginia Beach, VA – while working for Deford Limited – she attended St. John’s Baptist Church there, where she was hailed as the “vibrant leader” of the youth ministry for many years.

Funeral services for Brown will be held on Friday at Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service in Ahoskie. One day later, her mother will be remembered at a Saturday service at Colerain Baptist.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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