Rachel Madeline Brooks

Oct 4, 1948 – Nov 10, 2014

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Rachel Madeline Duncan Brooks

Rachel Madeline Duncan Brooks was born on October 4th, 1948 in Memphis, Tennessee. The eldest daughter of four children born to Lucille Bernice Duncan and William Duncan Sr., Rachel spent her early elementary school years in Detroit, Michigan before the family moved to Chicago, Illinois. Rachel attended secondary school in Chicago for a short time before returning to Memphis where she attended and graduated from Father Bertrand Catholic High School.  She was the fastest girl on the track at Father Bertrand, a highly decorated athlete and a natural talent!

The family moves meant Rachel knew no strangers and her already out-going, free-spirited, shining personality flourished in her graduation year with best friend, Sharon Bramlet. Proudly a “rebel-diva”, Rachel developed a flair for fashion courtesy of her Grandmother-seamstress Mama Beulah and stylish Grandmother- Mama Polly.

Following graduation, Rachel returned to Chicago to pursue a series of different vocations before Detroit called again and she focused on her new role as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the City of Detroit. Rachel’s work in this area was influenced by both her parent’s work in health and human services.  Her “cool, no-nonsense, I know the game style” allowed her to truly support the development of the young adults requiring re-entry into the workforce. Rachel and her dear friend Julia
Boayue began their lifelong friendship, putting their own spin on the scene as wild, young, single, woman who believed life was meant to be lived hard and played hard. 

Rachel found her new home in Seattle in the late eighties and settled in the Capitol Hill area. Capitol Hill brought new interests as Rachel attended Seattle Community College and parlayed her creativity and vive into studying the culinary arts. Her talents in this area were not missed and Rachel competed and won several catering contests and made a name for herself. She continued her studies before landing a post at Renton Community College and finally at Bellevue Community College as the Lead Cook. The consummate workaholic, Rachel, continued her catering work and bartended at the same time. During the school’s summer break, she’d travel to Minneapolis to work with a major catering establishment.  D’Amico and Sons were so fond of Rachel that a request for her return could be expected before each summer’s approach.

Rachel was well loved by the staff and students at Bellevue Community College and cooking was her passion! She was the perpetual teacher to all incoming students and others that followed the program. One of those others would become her first husband, Morley Coven. They married in 1994 until his passing in 1998.

Always resilient, and continuing to share her warm, generous and inviting personality, Rachel volunteered and attended City Church. She found solace in her family and long-time dear friends like Lethia Krasuki, before discovering the love of her life, Gregory Brooks. Affectionately named “Babee”, Rachel and Greg courted for a year before taking their vows in August of 2000. Truly each other’s best friends, Rachel and Greg, enjoyed a “magical” relationship.  Theirs has been a love of true simplicity, uncomplicated and transcendent. Confirmed in gestures as simple as the awaited kiss before bed each night and as kind as the extra thought of “I need to bring Baby something back” after each shopping trip, Greg and Rachel’s bond was unmatched.  Alongside her sister Ifoma, Greg and Rachel formed the “Three Amigos”.  Inseparable and adventurous; Greg, Rachel and Ifoma enjoyed concerts, cruises, casinos and numerous trips together and sometimes just hanging out.

Rachel and Greg truly enjoyed the journey-discovering, growing, laughing, sharing and just being - as long as it was with each other. Rachel’s favourite time was spent on the back of Greg’s motorcycle, and nothing not even the loss of her leg would stop her!

Rachel was blessed with a beautiful spirit both inside and out. Hers was a soul meant to soar but always with God in her heart. In later years, after joining FAME SOUTH, her sojourn to church became her food for the week. She relished in the fellowship and the word and she and her sister were proudly two of the church’s first stewardess’. Her health limitations changed her ability to attend every week, but her spirit was present, every Sunday and she always made sure she blessed every meal!  

Whether she was forty-fine, fifty-fine, or sixty-fine, the bottom line in Rachel’s words were “BUT I’M STILL FINE!”  She was an original. Her magnetism and unforgettable charm, left an indelible impression on all whose path she crossed.  Her tastes were grand and colorful, classic and sometimes way out! Heels, diamonds, gold, leather and lace, short skirts, and ever changing hairstyles were Rachel’s fancy. Pink Cowboy boots, Orange loafers, Silver ankle boots, glass slippers and high heeled mules, Rachel’s style was all her own. Even when her health did not permit, Rachel could still be heard in the aisles of high-heeled shoes saying “Now, I could wear that”.   Shopping was her joy and many of her best moments with her sisters were shared in laughter over great bargains and funky outfits!

As music was an intrinsic part of the Duncan upbringing, the vocal and instrumental talents were gifted to her sister Debbie and her brother William III., Rachel had a genius appreciation for all genres of music. She had an uncanny talent for music trivia and there wasn’t a song, nor artist Rachel couldn’t recall. Rachel likewise really loved to dance –standing up or sitting down, Rachel would rock the Boogaloo, the Madison and of course, the Dawg!

Perhaps the most remarkable and memorable quality about our Rachel was her generosity of spirit. Rachel would offer help in whatever form was needed; be it a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a hot meal to soothe you or even some red lipstick to brighten your smile!  She shared her words though sparingly, in a way that let you know she quietly understood. If you missed the words, her face, make no mistake- told the rest! Her famous expressions reminding of you of the loss of your manners would be “And the WORD is?” She was also sure to share her “Thank you…..and you have a nice day! Her father’s poem said it best “She said “Lord, your servant I’ve been, my body’s broken, my soul wants in…

Predeceased by her mother, Lucille Duncan; step mother, Kathleen; and nephew William IV.  Rachel is lovingly missed by her immediate family, father, William Sr.; husband and best friend Greg Brooks; sisters Ifoma, Debbie, Colleen, Suzanne; brother William III.; step daughters Ulta Slee (Darren), Marla Brooks, Makesa White (Steve); nieces Madelėne and Joyce; great-nephew Joshua; step grandkids Courtney, Jaelyn, Gregory, Azaan, Jacob, Hannah; step-great grandbaby, Henry and an extended family of friends and relatives.



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