Jack Brooks dies at 89 - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Funeral for Jack Brooks set for 2 p.m. Sunday at Montagne Center

Posted: Updated:

The funeral for Congressman Jack Brooks has been set for 2 p.m. at the Montagne Center in Beaumont.

Brooks died from a sudden illness Tuesday night at Baptist Hospital.  

He was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1946 where he sponsored a bill that ultimately made Lamar University a four-year institution.

Brooks was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1952, and remained in the House for 42 years, one of the longest tenures on Capitol Hill. He lost re-election in 1994.

In 1979, the longtime congressman became the dean of the Texas congressional delegation and became the most senior member in Congress, according to biographical information listed on Lamar University's website. Brooks was a strong supporter of the school, located in Beaumont.

He rode in the Dallas motorcade when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. He was also present on Air Force One when then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Texas native, was sworn-in as president.

Jack Brooks at the Swearing In of President Lyndon B. Johnson

A tough advocate for civil rights legislation, Brooks helped write the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. During the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, he played a key role on the House Judiciary Committee, according to the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas.

Born in Louisiana, Brooks moved to southeast Texas town of Beaumont in 1927 and later graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1947. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942 and served overseas for nearly two years in the Pacific and in North China. He was discharged as a first lieutenant in 1946.

After finishing law school at the University of Texas, Brooks was elected to the state's House of Representatives in 1946.

Jack brooks reportedly passed away surrounded by family.  He was 89-years-old and would have turned 90 on Dec. 18.