She was the face of Taft for many years, and active in many community projects

Charmayne Brooks, known for her beauty, charm, grace and civic involvement passed away recently.

Brooks was for many years the face of the Taft Chamber of Commerce, which made her the face of Taft as well.

It was a happy face.

"First, she is a warm person with a super smile," said Don Zumbro in 2003 when the Taft Rotary Club named her Citizen of the Year. "You always feel comfortable around her. She is easy to know."

Ten years earlier, she was honored by the Soroptimists Club of Taft (she was a long time member) as woman of the year.

She was presented with a plaque with the inscription "An inspiring, tireless, fun loving lady who is dedicated to the Taft community."

That is the way her sister-in law and close friend Judy Miller remembers her.

"Charmayne was not just my sister-in-law; she was my best friend who I admired," Miller said. "We had many fun times together including a trip to Maui in the early 1980’s. Lloyd (Charmayne's late husband) and Charmayne and Frank (her brother) and I sang as a quartet in church for many years.  What fun we had during our 'practicing' times together. She loved music….gospel, romantic songs, soft jazz. She loved helping others and giving to others; a lot of the time anonymously." 

She will be remembered at a memorial service at the Historic Fort, where she was a life member, on Sunday, July 15 at 2 p.m.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations in her memory be made to The Historic Taft Fort to help update the Brides Room, or to the charity of your choice.

Brooks was involved in many organizations and activities, but she will always bee remembered for her leadership on the Chamber of Commerce. She was executive director twice, first in the 1980s and again in the early 2000s.
In between, she served on the Chamber Board of Directors for most of the 1990s.

"(Charmayne) is someone who takes the extra step forward and says when there is community work to be done, 'I'll do it. If you need help you can count on me'," Zumbro said.

He described her as "someone who has gone the extra mile to make the Taft area a jewel in the desert.

Brooks was the found of what has become an annual tradition in Taft - the Taft gala.

She started it in 1984 and served as chair for the event four times, reeving recognition from the California Assembly for her work on it.

She was also a coordinator for what is now the Taft Rotary Health Fair when it started in 1983.

But her achievements go well beyond the Chamber.

A longtime member of the Taft Soroptimists, she was twice president of the club.

She worked to open the Tumbleweed Shop at the Fort to fund Soroptimist projects to provide money for people needing help with transportation to get dialysis, radiation or other treatments.

The Tumbleweed Shop is no longer open, but the Soroptimists' Critical Care Access program still helps people.

She was also president of the Downtown Merchants Association and worked with the American Heart Association, serving as co-chair in 1993-94 and hair in 1996 and 1997 and received a certificate of appreciation from the Heart Association.