Rod Brooker

Profile Updated: June 29, 2011
Residing In: Tampa, FL USA
Spouse/Partner: Laura J. Brooker (since 1971)
Occupation: Retired
Children: Ashley A. Parkinson, J.D., born 1978. Married to Robert W. Parkinson, D.M.D., August 2004. One grandchild, More…Cole B. Parkinson, born 2007.
Military Service: Army  
Comments:

After leaving RHS I was kicked out of a state university and a junior college after a year at each. Was accepted into the U.S. Army in 1966, admitted to OCS and actually graduated. Separated from the Army in 1969 as 1LT/INF.

Returned to the family hometown of Tampa, FL and talked my way into the University of South Florida in the Fall of 1969. Volunteered at the campus newspaper, and in November 1969 met Laura Jean Avitable, who also volunteered at the newspaper. She was a 1967 graduate of Middletown (NY) HS who had moved to the warm weather for her higher education. If you read Mario Puzo's "The Godfather," you may remember "the thunderbolt," which was the nuclear-weapons form of love at first sight. That was me. Laura at first was not too impressed, but my earnest, boyish charm won her over. We got married a couple of years later. We're still married. Lucky me!!!

Meanwhile I became editor of the campus newspaper. The GI Bill was a great thing. I started working full-time for The Tampa Tribune on the copy desk. Laura graduated on schedule and began teaching. While working I'd carry 19 hours one quarter, then zero for the next couple. Left the Tampa Trib in 1973 and went to the St. Petersburg Times for a a year and a half. During that time I had four (4) hours left on my B.A., which I finally completed, in Economics, in 1974. 1964-1974. Not bad, huh?

(Today we understand the term "ADHD.")

I started work at Tampa Electric Company as supervisor of media relations. Laura was still teaching. In early 1978 I ran a 3:09 marathon at the Florida Relays in Gainesville. A week later, Laura advised she was pregnant. On November 13, 1978, Laura went into labor, and we made every light between home and Tampa Women's Hospital. It was a Monday night, and Ken "The Snake" Stabler was playing his last Monday Night Football game. I missed the end of the game, but the doctor didn't, so Ashley Anne Brooker came into the world on November 14.

In April 1979 we moved to Milwaukee, where I became director of corporate communications for Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company. It was a good experience, but we really missed Tampa and returned late in 1981. We moved back into our original Tampa house, where we still live. I spent 10 (ten!) years as senior VP at Tampa's largest advertising agency, where I founded the public relations division and served as its managing director.

Then, in January 1992 I entered the University of Florida College of Law and graduated with honors in May 1994. Practiced with a small firm until 1998, when I started my own practice, where Laura and Ashley both helped, Ashley working as associate attorney until motherhood. My last day working was March 31, 2011, and retirement began on April Fools Day. My favorite day! Retirement is my favorite job of my life, and I'm really good at it!

Laura along the way was a full-time mom a good part of the time. She was editor of two Tampa Bay area magazines and contributing editor for a national food-service magazine. She has been active in community and avocational organizations, where she usually ends up as newsletter editor and president.

Ashley graduated from University of Florida with a B.A. in Journalism (it seems to run in the family) then got her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law (ditto). While at UF she met Robert Parkinson, who went on to get his D.M.D. from UF College of Dentistry. They were married in August 2004. In March 2007 Cole B. Parkinson entered the world, and Laura and I became members of the Grandparents' Club. Robert is partner in a four-office dental practice. Ashley mostly is Cole's stay-home mom. We're nagging her for a granddaughter!

Laura and I raise and show Bearded Collies (we have three right now). I love home and garden projects, and tinkering and fixing. We were lucky enough to get a second home in the mountains of western North Carolina, and we have embarked on a life-long dream of summers in the mountains and winters by the Gulf. We take advantage of both climates and terrains for activities and exercise, and spend enough time at the gym to keep our various body parts functional. We're really catching on to this retirement thing. Between the dogs and the two homes, I doubt we'll ever travel, but if you don't know what you're missing, you're happy. Right?

I was a WAFB kid. Lived there twice, 1st-4th Grades and 10th-12th Grades. I think often of RHS days. Sometimes I run Google Earth of Roswell and (the former) WAFB and look at places and think of people. Now I've found some of you. Good stuff.

School Story:

One of my memories was the infamous Pecos Party, on a night when a bunch of "bad" kids called a meeting in the river bed and were enjoying adult beverages until law enforcement came and adjourned the meeting.

Going out for football for the first and only time. Doing two-a-days wondering if any cubic inch of my body wasn't aching or bruised. The best anyone said about me was a "real" player who noted I didn't hit too hard, but hung in there. That was right after Coach Pruitt invited me to look for a different sport.

Learning that I have no use for mathematics beyond Algebra 2. And that's stretching it.

Was in both class plays. In the Junior Class Play my role was of a moody sort of guy. In one scene the character went mopey. During an early rehearsal my brilliant acting decision was to turn my back to the audience, hang my head, and sort of fold my hands together in front of me. One of the actresses, I wish I could remember who, pointed out that it looked as if I was relieving myself. Everyone got a laugh, and I thought she made a pretty good point.

Jane Segar (hope I spelled that right), Senior English, who taught me how to think analytically and express myself coherently while dealing with abstractions. Came in pretty handy later in life.

The fine lady, and I'm ashamed I don't recall her name, who taught Personal Typing, preparing me for a life of pounding keyboards. Like right now.

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Jul 14, 2015 at 8:44 AM

Happy birthday, Mike!

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Aug 02, 2014 at 2:13 AM

Posted on: Jul 20, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Jon, so sad to learn of Lucy. Everything points to her being a great lady. You are a great guy, so it was meant that the two of you would marry and enjoy many good years. Words are not enough, but we have you in our hearts.

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Jul 15, 2016 at 9:14 PM

Posted on: Jul 15, 2014 at 7:13 AM

Happy birthday, Mike!

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May 05, 2014 at 7:31 AM

Happy Birthday!

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Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Labor Day weekend, 2010
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Laura with our youngest Bearded Collie, October 2010
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Grandson Cole is Buzz Lightyear for Halloween 2010!
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
The Parkinsons: Robert, Cole, Ashley. March 2009
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Laura makes a friend. June 2008.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Grandaddy and Cole at Tampa's annual Gasparilla Children Parade. The ole man caught beads thrown by people riding floats and gave them to Cole. February 2010.
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Ashley, March 2009
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Robert. Cole's parents and grandparents took the little guy for a ride on a steam train in an area about 40 miles south of Tampa. March 2009
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Pampered show dogs sleep in their elegant bedchamber. July 2010
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
And the little angels never run around and get dirty! October 2010