Birgit 'Biggi' Brookes, 54: Talented tennis player, ran day care

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YARMOUTH — Birgit “Biggi” Brookes, 54, passed away the morning of Oct. 11, after a hard-fought battle against breast cancer.

With great determination and lust for life, Brookes battled the disease since she was diagnosed in March 2014. Always a very active and strong person, Brookes was resolute; just two weeks prior to her death, she willingly entered another phase of treatment and expected to keep going forward, to regain her strength and ability to make the most of each day.

Brookes had an enormous capacity for life, manifested by the dedication and hard work she demonstrated in her family day care — which she managed mostly on her own for over 20 years — along with her “heart and soul” involvement with tennis as a member of multiple USTA competitive teams. She not only played tennis three to five times a week; she also worked part time at the Foreside Fitness & Tennis club in Falmouth.

She was born Birgit Kupfermann on June 16, 1961, in the then-Russian sector of Berlin, Germany, the year the Berlin Wall was erected. Brookes spent her early years in East Berlin. She was an avid and excellent swimmer, catching the attention of coaches who groomed the communist country’s best swimmers.

After her parents divorced, Brookes and her mother moved to West Berlin when she was 12. She was allowed to return to her father in East Berlin, where she spent her teenage years in a blended family, with whom she remained close. In 1983, after moving again from East to West Berlin the previous year, Brookes came to Maine to spend the summer with friends who owned a German restaurant in Falmouth. Trained in both East and West Berlin as a garde manger chef, she helped in the kitchen and lived in Portland with her German friends.

A connection with the restaurant owners and some area residents who were studying German led to meeting her future husband, Jamieson “Jamie” Brookes. The couple married that summer and began a series of moves around the country. While in Westchester County, New York, Brookes began working in child care and took classes in early childhood education. She worked in a friend’s in-home child care until the family moved back to Maine, where Biggi started her own in-home child care.

She and her family were very appreciative of the wonderful care Brookes received at Maine Medical Center and New England Cancer Specialists in Scarborough.

Brookes is survived by her husband and two daughters, Ashley and Kerry; her mother and half-sister and other extended family members in Berlin, Germany; as well as many family members in Maine and elsewhere.

A celebration of her life will take place 2:30-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7 at Foreside Fitness & Tennis, U.S. Route 1, Falmouth. The attire will be casual.