Tennessee Bureau of Investigation supervisor Brooks Wilkins was remembered Saturday as a friend by co-workers and as the father who entertained his children by fighting “against the evil of sugar demons.”
TBI Director Mark Gwyn presents the American flag to Brooks Wilkins' wife, Lisa, on Oct. 6, 2007, during his funeral at Evergreen Cemetary in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (TMP Photo/L. Marchesoni)
Wilkins, 52, of Milton died Wednesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The health conscious Wilkins became ill while exercising at TBI headquarters. He worked at a Murfreesboro Police officer before joining the TBI. He served as TBI’s Special Agent in Charge of the Middle Tennessee Criminal Investigations Division.
Several hundred federal, state and local law enforcement officers attended the funeral at Woodfin Memorial Chapel, including former TBI directors Arzo Carson, John Carney and Larry Wallace, and current Director Mark Gwyn. TBI agents lined the walls in respect.
At Evergreen Cemetery, Murfreesboro firefighters Jeremy Spivey, Guy Matthews, Dale Bilbrey and Capt. Hunter Fite waited with the American flag flowing from the aerial ladder. Horse Patrol officers from Metro Nashville and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office carried flags while Deputy Jon Levi led the riderless horse.
TBI, Tennessee Highway Patrol, sheriff’s deputies and Murfreesboro police officers served as honor guards.
During the funeral services, Wilkins’ son, Chris, accompanied by his sister, April, remembered how their father loved them and raised them with a sense of humor. The father warned his children about the dangers of sugar demons.
They rode with him in his Volkswagen that frequently caught on fire. When it was his turn to fix dinner, he’d make “Mac and cheese” and they’d watch James Bond movies. He played an air guitar and “always had a swag.”
When Wilkins worked as a Murfreesboro police officer, a younger Chris remembered his father came home with a black eye, causing the son to be afraid. His father reassured him, teaching his children to be brave and strong.
“Dad, you’ll continue to inspire us to reach our potential,” Chris Wilkins said. “You will never be forgotten.”
The Rev. Dean Sisk, pastor of the Belle-Aire Baptist Church Wilkins attended, told the survivors their friends would support the family.
Family and friends can let him go because by faith, they will see him again, the Rev. Sisk said.
Gwyn met Wilkins more than 20 years ago and remembered being at Middle Tennessee State University when he was accepted to TBI. Gwyn started six months later. They worked together in the Chattanooga region where Wilkins supervised him.
After becoming director, Wilkins joined Gwyn in management where he supervised some of the most high profile and complex investigations. He accepted the assignment with a smile and the promise he would “do you a good job.”
“Brooks Wilkins embodied the foundation that TBI was built on: truth, bravery and integrity,” Gwyn said.
Gwyn was taught early in life not to question God’s work but found himself the past few days asking God, “Why Brooks?”
The Bible book of Matthew 25:23 gave him his answer.
“The first thing Brooks heard as he entered heaven was, ‘Well done they good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things.’
“Brooks Wilkins is now the special agent in charge of a lot more important things that I could ever assign him,” Gwyn said, adding, he’s now working for God. “So God, you got the very best the bureau had to give. He will do you the same great job with the same great attitude as he did for me.”