Longest serving WWII veteran to be remembered in museum service

NEW ORLEANS – Family and friends of a New Orleans man who was the oldest World War II veteran when he died earlier in January will come together to remember him at a ceremony in a museum commemorating the war.

The funeral will be held Saturday at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans for Lawrence Brooks, who died Jan. 5 at the age of 112.

The funeral service, which begins at 10 a.m., is for relatives, friends and invited guests, but will also be streamed live on the museum’s website. After the service, a traditional jazz procession will follow before Brooks is taken to Mount Olivet Cemetery in New Orleans where he will be laid to rest.

Brooks was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1940. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was posted to the mostly black 91st Engineer General Service Regiment stationed in Australia. The 91st was a unit that built bridges, roads, and airstrips for aircraft. Brooks was assigned as a caretaker to three white officers – cooking, driving and tending to their clothes.

He was discharged from the army in August 1945 as a private first class.

Upon his return from service, he worked as a forklift driver until retiring in his 60s. He has five children, five stepchildren and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He lost his wife, Leona, shortly after Hurricane Katrina.

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