David Earl Brooks, Jr., affectionately known as “Man”, was born to Latarsha Barnes and David Earl Brooks, Sr. on July 11, 1991. As the first-born grandchild to the Barnes Family, he was a bundle of joy to behold.
As a single parent, LaTarsha raised her son with all the love and passion that a mother could give. She named him after King David, the Greatest King in the Old Testament, and a “man” after God’s own heart. He often teased his mom that he would be king one day. Not knowing he was already his mother’s personal version of a little king.
David was not only her baby, but her friend, the one she leaned on when there was no one else. He grew up fast, yet he withstood the challenges of life like the man he would grow up to be.
Man was his mother’s Rock of Gibraltar: her back bone, her confidant, her ride-or-die friend. He was more than just her son--he was her life. The love they shared was untouchable, impenetrable, and undeniably real. They laughed. they cried and yes,they disagreed, but they ultimately had each other through thick and thin until the end.
As a child, Man’s disposition resembled a smart version of Steve Urkel; short, skinny, funny and nerdy with a BIG personality. We would all laugh when this small-framed little guy would belt out in a loud Urkel-like voice, “YOU’RE MAKING ME MAD!” He would later mature into a tall, muscular, articulate, and handsome young man, who was admired by many.
At the tender age of 6 years old, he bravely flew the friendly skies - alone, to Oahu, Hawaii, where he lived a year’s stint with his Auntie Khryssy. There he learned the values of life, being the best in school, the importance of education, and using competition to build character. He even learned a little Japanese alongside his cousin Ashley.
His time in Hawaii was the genesis that piqued his interest in other cultures: learning a little Japanese and later taught himself conversational Spanish.
As a precocious child, Man took on responsibilities of the household (like a man) and cared for his mother during her illness and through-out her recovery until his passing. Whether he was attending elementary, high school, or college, man had a special love and concern for his mother. So much so, that he often made life-changing decisions based on the assurance of her security and well-being.
Man’s early years were spent with his various aunts during different stages of his life. The time spent with his Auntie Angie was such that she was bestowed the honor of being his Godmother. As she helped to raise him, their relationship grew and was so deep that he wanted to emulate her educational achievements, her interior design flair, and even her penchant for proper enunciation.
Growing up, Man and his favorite younger cousin, Davontae Wheeler, were two peas in a pod: basically, inseparable brothers. They both shared July birthdays two years and four days apart. Davontae looked up to Man. He was inspired by his cousin’s confidence and drive for self-improvement.
As an adult, man had a sense of pride in everything he did. He was a natural born leader who led with purpose and by example. his motto: “IF I’M DOING IT, IT’S GOING TO BE DONE RIGHT OR NOT AT ALL.”
This creed led him to join the toughest military branch of service; the US Marine Corps, where he faithfully served from 2009-2012. SEMPER FI!
He was self-motivated and self-driven to conquer various obstacles and hardships. It was while in the Marines, David had his first encounter w/God. He not only shared the experience but used his newfound revelation to help other Marines weather difficult and challenging times.
Man was determined to defy all odds of the stereotypical young black man living in a single-parent home. In 2009, he earned his high school diploma from Joliet West. Despite his many domestic obligations, he remained focused and determined to strive towards the highest echelons of academia.
Following his honorable military discharge, Man was accepted to Western Illinois University where he excelled within the student government body as the President/Speaker Pro Tempore, Chairman of the Inter-Hall Council Committee, along with many other accomplishments and accolades.
In 2015, David earned his B.S. in Psychology from W.I.U. and in 2018 a Master of Arts in Sociology. His research into Quantitative & Qualitative Research Methods led to his grad thesis entitled “Institutional Research & Planning: Using Statistics & Sociological Methodologies to Head Decision Making Initiatives in Higher Education Institutions” which he presented to W.I.U and it was later published on the university’s website.
After obtaining his master’s degree, David was later hired as a Logistics Data-Analyst at LSC Communications in Bolingbrook, IL.
Of his many attributes, CHARITY and GENEROSITY were second nature to Man. He was a giver with a “big heart.” Oftentimes he would stop whoever was driving and give large sums of money to those in need w/o question or hesitation. His love for humanity was extraordinary to see.
Man was always on the move, as if he knew he had so much to accomplish within a short period of time.
His love for his family and friendships; were paramount. He forged a tight-knit bond and spent countless hours with his paternal siblings and had a special love for his young niece Areli Ingles.
If Man was not studying, working or sleeping, he could be found on his PlayStationplaying his favorite game, “Call of Duty”, w/his God-brother Marquel Scott and best friend, David Mengeling. Of course, Man, being Man and highly competitive, had to dominate the game.
But they both admired and looked up to him. He exuded a sense of drive, immeasurable strength, confidence, and intelligence beyond his years. His sense of family, protection and unity were strongly personified through his love and self-identification with the Alpha Wolf.
Last year, his protective nature and sense of humor were traits that caught the eye of his girlfriend, Vashti Cannon. The two would spend many hours growing together, sharing laughs, hopes, and dreams, and comforting one another through their fears and anxieties. But most of all, just simply loving each other.
This gentle soul, with an infectious laugh, lived life to the fullest; always striving and reaching for more, was taken from us much too soon.
David passed away at 29, in his Crest Hill apt, unexpectedly on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.
He leaves to mourn his loving family; mother, Latarsha Barnes, Joliet, IL; father, David Earl Brooks, Sr. Joliet, IL; sisters, Charnell Randolph, Joliet, IL; Kayla Casillas, Plainfield, IL; Jasmine Shipp, Aurora, IL; Imani Brooks, Joliet, IL; Jaylah Evans, Joliet, IL and Kayla Hinton, Joliet, IL; brothers Darius Champion, Naperville, IL and Justin Brooks, Joliet, IL
Special Recognition; god mother and aunt, Angela G. Barnes, Garland, TX, aunts, Khryssy, Atlanta GA, Janeen White, Grand Prairie, TX, Michelle Barnes, Garland, TX; niece, Areli Ingles, Joliet, IL; maternal grandparents, Queen Esther and Tommy L. Barnes, Dallas, TX, paternal grandparents. Mattie and Essex Brooks, Joliet, IL.
A host of aunts, uncles, cousins, and closest friends, god-brother, Marquel Scott, Monmouth, IL; B
best friend, David Mengeling, Chicago, IL; girlfriend, Vashti Cannon, Joliet, IL.
David served his mother, his country, and his God much like the Marines’ motto: SEMPER FI - “Always Faithful”.
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