John Rooks, who served on the Monrovia Fire Department for 29 years, passed way unexpectedly on Aug. 11 at home in La Habra. He was only 52 and had retired from the fire department in November of last year. He had come up through the ranks on the department and retired with the rank of captain.
As City Manager Oliver Chi wrote, “He loved our city, the Monrovia Fire Department, and the fire service, as he served with great passion and heart.”
Monrovia’s Interim Fire Chief Brad Dover said of Rooks, “John was dedicated to serving the community of Monrovia, but also to the fire community in general. He was committed to service in a larger sense as well. And no one will ever forget his amazing mustache.”
Battalion Chief Ron Pelham served with Rooks during his all his years of service with the Monrovia Fire Department. He has always referred to Rooks as his best friend. Of him, Pelham said, “John was a great husband and father to his family. He was a great loyal friend, who was always there to help anyone in need.
“He was an excellent cook, creating new barbeque sauces and rubs sharing them with anyone and everyone. He was an avid golfer – he enjoyed his time on the links with his friends. His personality was larger than life. If you met him you would always remember him.
“I will miss all of our shenanigans together throughout the past 30 years. I will especially miss our Friday golf days and John’s sharing his wisdom with my kids.
“It wasn’t just with my kids. He was a born teacher. He cared about making certain the younger firefighters were prepared and ready for anything they might face. He was one of our best teachers.”
Pelham concluded his tribute to his pal saying, “John was my mentor, my friend. He was an outstanding human being who always put everyone else before himself.”
Services are set for this Friday, Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 900 W. La Habra Blvd. in La Habra. There will be a viewing starting at 9 a.m. that day at the church.
In lieu of flowers, John’s family has asked that donations be made directly to the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial. You may donate here.