Walter Rollin Brooks, Jr., 87, of East Harwich, died surrounded by his family on August 9 after a brief illness. Born in 1930 in Woodbury, CT, he was the beloved only child of Walter Brooks Sr., and Evelyn Mae Clark. He attended Culver Miltary Academy, the Taft School, and the University of Connecticut, and was a Son of the American Revolution.
A newspaperman like his father, he was sales, promotions, or art director for the Village Voice, the New York Post, the Greenwich CT Times, the Naugatuck Daily News, the Amherst MA Journal-Record, the Enfield CT Press, the Cape Codder, and MPG Communications. He won numerous awards for his advertising and promotional creativity.
His love of Cape Cod, which he visited frequently with his mother as a child, led him to spend a summer as a sketch artist in Provincetown in 1959, where he met the love of his life, Patricia. They settled permanently in Harwich in 1965. A walking compendium of Cape Cod history and trivia, he shared his passion for the Cape in his business ventures.
He and Patricia founded and published Best Read Guides, a tourism publication, BRG Distribution Company, and Best Read Guide Franchise Company in 1988 on Cape Cod.
Walter was a well-known impresario for the Best Read Guide brand and franchised the publication to many vacation areas in the US. In 1998 he entered the digital age by launching one of the nation’s first online-only local news websites, CapeCodToday.com, for which he was an editor until his death.
He was a Beatnik poet who owned Cafe Rafio, a coffee house, in Greenwich Village in the late 1950’s, as well as a talented and prolific photographer and travel writer.
A Friend of Bill, Walter was a generous and unforgettable character who could write a limerick or tell a joke (usually off-color) relevant to any situation. Besides his family and work, he loved riding his bike, sailing, skiing, reading, and doing crossword puzzles with a fountain pen. He was a joyful and involved grandfather and also loved cats.
He and Pat traveled to more than 100 countries. Although he patronized many upscale restaurants, he was also a big fan of ice cream, donuts, homemade pie, kale soup, Necco wafers, and coffee.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia, his two sons, Todd of Wareham and Jay (Julie) of Brewster, his grandchildren, William and Marina Brooks, and his brother-in-law Jim (Sandra) Twite of Brewster.
The family will hold a celebration of Walter’s life in September. In lieu of flowers, donations in Walter’s name can be sent to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (3981 Main Street, Brewster, 02631) or National Public Radio.