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Community, church mourn Culbreth


The Farragut High School coaching fraternity has one of its members grieving the loss of a daughter.

Small children at a local church were among several sharing fond memories about the caring concern of Brooke Culbreth, 18, a 2006 FHS graduate and daughter of Admiral boys soccer head coach Wallie Culbreth. She died of an apparent heart attack Friday evening, Sept. 29, a family friend said.

An after-school childcare program employee at First Baptist Church, Concord, Brooke also won the hearts of coaches, players and boosters as boys soccer team manager alongside her father while an FHS student.

“She was a young lady that had a very contagious smile, and had a real compassion for people,” said the Rev. Steve Peek, an associate minister at First Baptist Church, Concord.

“She didn’t see her job as work, she saw it as an opportunity to really make a difference in the lives of children … she primarily worked with the younger children.”

Among other caregivers, “She was the first to arrive and the last to leave her job,” Peek said. “One teacher said that she kept [other childcare workers] all on task, that sometimes they liked to slack off a little bit because they’re teenagers, young college students.”

Peek and other officials met with young children Brooke worked with and asked them to talk about “happy things” they remember about “Miss Brooke.”

“One of them said, ‘when I fell and got hurt, she was the first one to come over and help me,’” Peek said. “One of them mentioned her smile. … Some said, ‘I’m just kinda mad,’ and I said, ‘It’s O-K to be mad because we’ve lost a dear friend.’”

In her role as soccer manager, Brooke was named “Manager of the Year” three of her four years in that job among numerous high school programs in the region.

“She was an amazing girl, she basically had the most positive outlook for the team,” said Jared Britcher, an All-state forward on Farragut’s 2004 state and national championship team who is now an Academic All-American soccer player at the University of Memphis. “When we lost games, she basically took it harder than any of the guys on the team took it; it meant that much to her.

“She cared so much about us, and we cared about her just as much,” the UM junior added.

Adam Starkey, FHS teacher and assistant soccer coach with the Lady Admirals program who coached under Wallie Culbreth in 2004, taught Brooke as a student in his sophomore math class during the 2003-04 school year.

“She was a very hard-working, very sweet young lady,” Starkey said. “Very socialable, nice to everyone.

“I remember walking through the halls and she’d always talk to all the different soccer players.”

Jim Lawson, recent president of the Farragut High School Soccer Booster Club, said Brooke “was an asset to the team and was really good friends with all the kids on the team. ... She was sorta one of the teammates. Brooke would give banter back and forth with the boys. She was always their biggest supporter out there when they were playing.”

In addition to her father, Brooke is survived by immediate family members: mother, Donna Culbreth, and brothers Walter and Bradley Culbreth, the latter an FHS boys soccer assistant coach.

A celebration of her life was held Tuesday, Oct 2, at First Baptist Church, Concord, with the Rev. Dr. Steve Fultz, Wallie Culbreth, and the Rev. Dr. Craig Culbreth officiating.

 

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