Lawrence Brooks, the United States’ oldest World War II soldier, died in New Orleans at the age of 112.
Brooks’ death was confirmed by his daughter and caretaker, Vanessa, who told the Military Times that he had been in and out of hospitals in recent months but was alert and had enjoyed the holidays.
The World War II museum posted a tribute to Brooks on Instagram, saying more than a veteran, Brooks “was a dear friend, who celebrated his birthday with us every year starting in 2014, when he was just a spry 105-year-old.”
Brooks’ 112th birthday was celebrated with a drive-by ceremony at his New Orleans home in September, as we reported. In 2019, he was honored with a grander celebration at the National WWII Museum, complete with cupcakes and a musical serenade.
According to the National WWII Museum, Brooks was born Sept. 12, 1909, in Norwood, Louisiana, and was one of 15 children. He joined the army at the age of 31 and served in the 91st Engineer Battalion during WWII.
After the war, Brooks worked as a forklift operator before retiring in his 70s. According to WVUE, he is survived by five children, 13 grandchildren, and 32 great-grandchildren.
On an Instagram post, @wwiimuseum posted a picture of him with a caption:
The National WWII Museum is deeply saddened by the loss of beloved WWII veteran Mr. Lawrence Brooks, who passed away this morning. At 112 years old, he was the oldest surviving WWII veteran in the country. More than that, he was a dear friend, who celebrated his birthday with us every year starting in 2014, when he was just a spry 105-year-old. His consistent advice when asked for the secret behind his longevity was, “Serve God, and be nice to people.” We are feeling his loss heavily today at the Museum, and we offer our condolences to his daughter Vanessa and his family.