Dr. Brooksbank was born on the 9th of February, 1937 in Dover Township, Kent County. His parents were Charles William Brooksbank and the former Mary Eleanor Anderson. He had a younger sister Shirley (Brooksbank) Logan-Wickwire who currently lives in Toronto. Dr. Brooksbank was educated in a one-room schoolhouse in Dover Township on the 12th concession. His family moved to Wallaceburg while his father recovered from an injury and Dr. Brooksbank attended D.A. Gordon School for grades 4 and 5. The family later moved to Chatham Township-17th concession and Dr. Brooksbank attended S.S. #16 and #23 in Dover Township and then Wallaceburg District High School.
The University of Western Ontario was Dr. Brooksbank’s alma mater where he graduated in 1959 with an honors B.Sc. degree. In 1963 he graduated M.D. from the University of Western Ontario Medical School. He interned at the Hamilton Civic Hospital from 1963 to 1964. Upon completing his internship, Dr. Brooksbank joined the Wellington Clinic in Wallaceburg, Ontario practicing family medicine.
Kathleen “Joyce” Haslam became Dr. Brooksbank’s wife on the 25th of August, 1962. She was from Harrow, Ontario and her parents were Kathleen and Robert Haslam. Mrs. Brooksbank graduated in 1959 from the University of Western Ontario with a B.A. in Secretarial Science. Dr. and Mrs. Brooksbank had four children, Jennifer, Heather, Alison and Robert “Bobby”.
Together with his medical partner, Dr. Donald R. Thorner, Dr. Brooksbank set up the first answering service in Wallaceburg for the physicians of the town where they took turns being on call after 6:00 p.m. Dr. Brooksbank was the Chairman of the Medical Staff at the Sydenham District Hospital in Wallaceburg from 1973-1974 and he served on several committees at the hospital. He was the Chairman of the 1975 Centennial Committee for the Town of Wallaceburg which was a successful project involving almost two years of planning. Dr. Brooksbank was also the Chairman of the Wallaceburg Hydro Commission from 1976 to 1977.
In August of 1978 Dr. and Mrs. Brooksbank moved their family to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Dr. Brooksbank and Dr. Donald Thorner opened Chattanooga Family Practice, located at 929 Springcreek Road. The practice grew significantly after 1978 with both American and Canadian physicians joining and expanding the family practice group. Dr. Thorner retired in 1999 and enjoyed his retirement with his wife, Jan, until his death in 2007. Dr. Brooksbank lost his wife, Joyce, to cancer on the 26th of May, 1993.
Over the years, Dr. Brooksbank has been dedicated to administering to the health care needs of the families of Chattanooga and surrounding area and has served on numerous committees and hospital boards for several different hospitals including being Chief of Staff of the Eastridge Community Hospital (now HCA Eastridge) from 1982 to 1985. In both 2010 and 2011, Dr. Brooksbank was chosen by the citizens of Chattanooga for the honor of, “Best of the Best in General Practice Medicine”
Dr. Brooksbank married Karen Elaine Grimes, a native of Chattanooga, on the 8th of October, 1994. Her parents were Ella and Lester Grimes. Mrs. Brooksbank is a graduate of Western Carolina University and presently she is a school speech-language pathologist in Highlands, North Carolina.
In addition to Dr. Brooksbank’s service to the people in Chattanooga through a practice employing eight primary care physicians and four physician-extenders, he supported various causes including: Friends of Haiti, Highlands Literacy Council, Highlands-Cashiers Humane Society, American Cancer Society, Allied Arts, and his membership church. Dr. Brooksbank highly valued time spent with his wife, children, ten grandchildren, four dogs and a cat and he also fully enjoyed his free time pursuing interests including: traveling, gardening, skeet-shooting, boating, fly fishing, and spending time at their cabin in the mountains of Highlands, North Carolina.
Dr. Brooksbank died on the 4th of September, 2015. He was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
*Dr. Donald Thorner also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.