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Cassidy Webb

The Brooks Family: Calling Oakland Park Home Since 1948


In July 1929, a small city named Floranada was dissolved and replaced by a new city: Oakland Park. While Oakland Park didn’t experience its first major population boom until the 1960s and 70s, many farmers and ranchers called the small town their home.

One of the first families to take up residence in Oakland Park was the Brooks family. Jeanne Scarborough, the Matriarch of the Brooks family and the glue that still holds them together, moved here in 1948 with her parents, Robert and Helen Peterman. Robert, a retired WWII Lieutenant Colonel, built three houses that are still standing.

Not only are the houses still standing, but they are still occupied by members of the Brooks family, including Jeanne herself. With five generations in the family, all from Oakland Park, the Brooks family has witnessed the growth and transformation of the community, cherishing the memories and traditions that have shaped their lives.

The main house - grandma's house - 1984.
Cecil Brooks Jr, Cheryl and their firstborn, 1971.

Five Generations That Call Oakland Park Their Home

When you speak to people living in the area, many of them are from other places in the country. It is rare enough to find someone who is an Oakland Park native, but it is even more rare to find a family whose residence spans five generations.

It all started when Jeanne got married and had one child, Cheryl. Cheryl grew up in Oakland Park and attended Oakland Park Elementary. She later met Cecil Brooks Jr, with whom she had five children. Cecil, a double amputee, worked for the City of Oakland Park as a municipal service worker for 35 years before retiring, and he still lives here today.

Cheryl’s five children all live and work in the area, as well. The eldest, Christina Brooks-Wilson, and her husband Bruce, currently live with Jeanne. The next oldest, Bruce, works for Rooms to Go in Pompano. The third child, John Brooks, lives with their father and takes care of him. Amy Brooks-Ambrosia is the fourth child, who is a popular and talented hair stylist at Ton Vangard. Amy resides in one of the homes Robert built, residing right next to Jeanne. Finally, the youngest, Cecil Brooks III, resides with John and Cecil.

Amy has two grown children, Tyler Ambrosia, who lives in Oakland Park and owns his own pest control business, Feel Good Solutions, and Angel Ambrosia, who is the first of the family to graduate with a college degree.

Christina has three grown children, the second of which had two children of her own who are being raised right here in Oakland Park, making for five generations.

Embracing Change Throughout the Years

When Robert made the decision to move here, it was because he was told it was a nice place to live. He also didn’t want to be cold anymore as he, like many others, wanted to retire in the warm tropical air. But isn’t just the ocean that kept the family here for so long – Amy says what made them stay is the old-town feel. She explains, “It’s just a great community. We all love it here. We’ve dodged a lot of bullets, too, like we’ve never been hit by a major hurricane and have been overall very fortunate here in Oakland Park.”

A picture of the Brooks family, 1991.

Through the years, the city has grown and changed. Some businesses the five kids used to love, such as Polar Cup on Andrews and Oakland Park Blvd, have closed down, and the K-Mart was replaced with high-rise apartments. However, Amy believes “the city has maintained its beauty. It’s only gotten better.”

Amy also recalls attending Youth Day throughout the years. She has fond memories of going as a kid, watching the parades, and enjoying the fair. She and her family still go every year, encouraging their own kids to take part in the festivities, carrying on their family tradition.

Amy feels deeply fortunate to be one of the first families to take up residence in Oakland Park. She describes her family as a needle in a haystack, explaining, “It’s very unique that we’re all from Oakland Park, and I’m proud of that!”.

The five generations in 2013.

Family Strength and Life Today

The Brooks family has faced both joys and sorrows throughout the years. Cheryl sadly passed away from cancer in 2014 at the young age of 60. But even through the tribulations, the Brooks family has remained a tight-knit, Christian family, with Jeanne remaining the strongest pillar of them all.

Jeanne teaching her Sunday school, 1992.

Jeanne used to be an active member of First Baptist Church where she was a Sunday school teacher. The church has always been and still is her passion. At the age of 93, Jeanne has the luxury of living in the comfort of her home, surrounded by her family.

Amy says, “She still has her wits about her. She can hold a great conversation and has the best stories! If it wasn’t for her and for her dad building these houses, we wouldn’t be here.”


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