On June 8, 1923, in Wilson, North Carolina, Charles was born to Albert L. and Eva Mae Brooks. He was no ordinary baby! At an early age his mental agility was displayed as he accomplished feats
uncommon to peers.
Charles began his education ahead of schedule when he was permitted to walk the country roads of Bertie County with the live-in teacher who feared traveling alone. He sat in class as a five-year-old,
and was able to grasp information which allowed him to move through the grades quickly. It was in this setting that his musical
ability was apparent. His first solo was "Just a Little Brook Am I." Elementary and college training was all accomplished in Christian schools—except for two years spent at Howard University in Washington, D.C. It was at Howard that his scholastic ability was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa key. He received his M.A. from the
Washington Theological Seminary, where he was graduated with honors.
Being a man of many talents, Charles found it difficult to choose a career. However, after assisting his granddad in presenting Bible studies—as well as our prominent evangelists in their crusades—it was not difficult for him to find his way. His first pastorate was in Philadelphia. The membership tripled, bringing about a fulfilled need to purchase a church.
After approximately three years, his educational background was responsible for the call to fill a vacancy at Pine Forge Academy where he served as principal and history professor. A girls' dorm was
constructed, a new bus purchased, and accreditation granted. During the many choir tours he was affectionately given the name, "The Pine Forge Choir," by the students. Shortly after he moved on to direct the departments of Education and Sabbath School for the Allegheny Conference. In an effort to obtain the best educators, he sought meaningful benefits for them. Some of the best educators were obtained and the Education Department became a model for other conferences.
During his tenure as director of the Southern Union Sabbath School and Religious Liberty departments, he formed an association of lawyers and judges—an organization that exists this day as a functioning body.
Since 1975, when Charles was called to the General Conference, it has been his aim to develop a corp of dedicated Sabbath School teachers. "To be used by God," he accepted the challenge of going "into all the world." This effort has taken him to virtually every corner of the world.
In spite of all these accomplishments, he is best remembered for his music. He loved to sing music which spoke to the heart. His mellow tones and unique interpretation of hymns allowed listeners to focus on the Advent message and the hope in Christ's soon return. Charles dreamed of directing a mass choir someday. His albums are heard on radio stations throughout the United States.
The completion of the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal was a major focus during these last three years. Like Hezekiah, Charles prayed for a few more years just to complete this project. He often spoke of the inspiration he received after the Hymnal Committee had met and sung together old and new songs of Zion. The GC Department of Church Music, which he directed, came into existence as a result of the completion of the hymnal.
Charles' final days were spent in preparation of music for the 1990 Indianapolis General Conference Session.
Although physical problems had plagued him for the past 12 years, this year was especially unkind. On Sabbath, December 23, 1989, he was mercifully delivered from further discomfort and slipped quietly and with dignity to his rest—after Sabbath School. His family and friends will miss him dearly.
-North American Regional Voice, March 1990, pg. 2