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Patricia Ann Brooks

1919 - 2013, Santa Barbara

Patricia Ann Brooks, 94, passed away in the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 13th. She was born in a small cottage on Laguna Street in 1919. She lived and laughed here all her life. Her father’s family (Rudolph Wokurka) came over from Spain in 1777 and settled in Santa Barbara in 1782. They came up the coast in the military train of Governor Neve, and are descendents of Presidio guards Lugo, Ruiz and Rodriguez. She was the great great granddaughter of Bernarda Ruiz, whose conception and efforts were instrumental in negotiating the Treaty of Cahuenga with Fremont, bringing peace between the US and Mexico in 1846.

As a child, Pat danced at every Fiesta, and used to go to the El Paseo every Saturday night. She retained vivid memories of the devastation of the 1925 earthquake and walking through the town’s ruins. As a child, and throughout her adulthood, she collected antique dolls and enjoyed attending movies. After graduating from Santa Barbara High School in 1937, she worked for Dr. Lyman and Peterson Studios. She also held bookkeeping positions at the Little Town Club and the El Encanto Hotel.

Her mother (Elsie McGee) worked as a beautician to Hollywood stars, and she spent the Great Depression dressed up in clients’ silken hand-me-downs. Pat slipped into the speakeasies of San Francisco, climbed to the top of Yosemite, charmed Maurice Chevalier, kept a shoebox of teaspoons from her travels, and never went a day without lipstick. Ever the storyteller, she was a palm reader and told tales of her travels and interesting people she met along the way. When friends left for war, she sent unfinished stories across the sea, writing that they’d have to come back to hear the end. She also was an ace woodcarver and had quite the green thumb.

In 1953, Pat and her soon-to-be husband James Brooks met on a blind date. Three weeks later they were off to Las Vegas to marry. They honeymooned in Hawaii and were happily married until James’ death in 1977. He was a chief engineer for Global Marine Exploration company.

Pat was an active member of Descendientes de Santa Barbara, the Native Daughters of the Golden West and the Scottish Society. She had a great love for the arts and was a life-long supporter of the Museum of Art, Lotusland, the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Historical Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Museum of Natural History.

She is survived by one sister Beverly Thielicke; her devoted daughter Jan Brooks; her grandchildren, the light of her life, Tiago and Tasha Bandeira; three nieces Cindy Torres, Frances Kasper and Ella Porter; nephew David Brooks; many great, great-great, and great-great-great nieces and nephews; and her beloved cat, Genie. She was lovely and loved by everyone who met her.

Thanks to all her family and friends for visiting her; it was what kept her going at the end. Thanks to Tina and Alex of Mesa Care, Hospice, and Visiting Nurses for all their kindness and wonderful care. A celebration of life will be held in January.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to Hospice, Visiting Nurses, or A.S.A.P.

Here’s lookin’ at you, Pat.

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