Penny Brooks

By Ben Peters

Athens NEWS Associate Editor

The longtime deputy director of The Athens County Board of Elections died Friday at Ohio Health O’Bleness Hospital.

Penny Lynn Brooks, 68, served on the Board of Elections since 1973. The exact cause of her death is unknown, but John Haseley, the Democratic member of the Board of Elections and chair of the Athens County Democratic Party, said she had recently been diagnosed with cancer. He wasn’t able to provide further details about her illness.

“Her extended Democratic family is heartbroken,” Haseley said.

Brooks, a Democrat, was previously awarded by the Ohio Senate with having the most years of public service with the Board of Elections, according to her obituary in The Athens Messenger. She was also in the past granted the “lifetime achievement” award from the Athens County Democratic Party, the Athens County Democratic volunteer of the year, and the Ohio election official volunteer of the year.

“Her life was dedicated to making sure everyone had the right to vote,” the obituary said.

Born Nov. 19, 1952 in Athens, Brooks was the daughter of the late Lloyd Thompson, Sr. and Dorothy Smith Thompson. She graduated from Federal Hocking High School in 1971 and attended Tri-County JVS where she studied Secretarial and Clerical skills. She was also member of the Central Committee Carthage Township serving as Secretary, a member of the Ohio Association of Election Officials serving as Past President, and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.

Because of the pandemic, a public graveside will be held for Brooks 1 p.m. Tuesday at Athens Memory Gardens.

Penny is survived by her husband of 48 years, Tony L. Brooks; two sons, Tony L. Brooks II and his partner Dustin Musick of Athens and Michael Brooks of Athens; three grandchildren, Ian Basilio, Emilee Basilio and Adison Rau; the mother of her grandchildren, Kelly Basilio; her sister, Patty Barnhart of Athens; her brother, Sonny Thompson of Chauncey; several nieces, nephews and cousins. She is also survived by her “Work Family” and special friends, Quivey, Carolee Simons, Olga Thomas, Carol Perry, Bernita Stotts and Shantelle McLaughlin.

Quivey didn’t respond to a request for comment on her colleague’s death.

Besides her parents she is preceded in death by a sister, Margie Dailey Bevins; and a brother-in-law, Bob Barnhart Sr.

Editor’s note: A paragraph from the web version of this piece was removed from the article for print. We’re also requesting letters from the community about past experiences with and memories of Brooks. Send them to

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