Molly Brooks died on May 26, 2020 at home, in the company of close and loving friends, after a short but intense battle with liver cancer. She was 74 years old.
Molly was born in Tacoma, Washington to Martha (Woodruff) and Edward Wesley Fenton on May 1, 1946. The family moved to Texas in 1956, where Molly was graduated from Highland Park High School and attended Austin College, where she met her first husband.
She married Allen Hallmark on July 22, 1966 at Fort Meade in Maryland, prior to Allen’s deployment to Vietnam. Later in the ‘60s she moved to Austin, Texas where she did sound for and recordings of various now-famous musicians. She married her second husband, a banjo player named Bill Brooks, during this time period.
Molly moved from Austin to San Antonio, Texas, still doing sound for bands and also learning jewelry-making from her friends Glenda Cade and Bobby McGarraugh. In the early ‘70s they all moved to Joyce, Washington. She remained on the “West End” in the Bear Creek area until she moved to Quilcene, Washington in the late ‘70s.
In the early ‘80s she moved to “Lowest Hadlock,” and worked at Port Townsend Baking Co. and later Washington State Ferries food services.
Molly’s maritime career begin in the late 1980s as a deckhand for Pete and Sue Hanke on the Red Head. She subsequently spent many years in Alaska, sometimes seasonally and sometimes year-round, working for the Hankes, Allen Marine, Four Seasons Marine, and Chilkat Cruises after attaining her Captain’s License in the late 1990s. She was admired and respected by all who worked for and with her, for her seamanship, her ability to remain calm and deal with whatever presented itself, her kindness and her sense of humor.
She retired in 2011, returning to the Port Townsend area. She was a valued volunteer for the Centrum Foundation and as always an enthusiastic appreciator of music and art.
Molly is survived by her brother Michael Edward Fenton and his wife Gail of Bryan, Texas; multiple cousins in Washington, Oregon, and California; her current cat, Loretta (she always had one); and her many, many dear friends near and far.
A celebration of Captain Brooks’ life will take place when it is possible at a later date. Stories will be told. Donations are suggested to Jefferson County Humane Society and Centrum Foundation.