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Frances Brooks; Bowling Teacher, Former Dancer

Oxnard resident Frances Elizabeth Brooks, a one-time vaudeville dancer who taught thousands of local children to bowl during a 14-year instructional career at an Oxnard bowling alley, died Sunday at St. John’s Regional Medical Center. She was 74.

“She loved working with the children,” said her daughter, Shari Brooks of Pacifica, who recalled her mother taught up to 600 kids a year at the now-closed Tournament Bowl, many as part of the physical education programs at Channel Islands and Hueneme high schools. “What she would do every year is have a very large picnic in one of the local parks and all the children and their parents could gather.”

Brooks was born Aug. 22, 1922, in Detroit. She spent much of her youth in Saskatchewan, Canada, and moved back to the United States after World War II.

She danced and toured, eventually meeting her future husband, George Brooks in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1953.

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“When they got married they made this deal--which I never understood--that he would stop racing stock cars and she would stop dancing,” Shari Brooks said.

The couple lived in Norfolk, Va., Honolulu and San Diego before settling in Oxnard in 1965. George Brooks died seven years ago.

A bowler with an average that hovered in the 160s, her mother was a better teacher than player and eventually became the state director of youth bowling for the California State Junior Bowling Assn., her daughter said.

A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at All Saints Episcopal Church in Oxnard.

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Memorial donations may be made to St John’s Regional Medical Center Foundation.

Payton Mortuary of Oxnard is in charge of the arrangements.


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