Brooke Lauren (Schweikert) Rakoski was born on October 31, 1983. The first child and daughter for Eric and Elizabeth Schweikert of Otsego, MI. Eric and Elizabeth three years later blessed Brooke with a little brother Marc Schweikert. From a young age, Brooke always had a beaming personality, a glowing eye, and an infectious smile.
Brooke attended both Martin and Otsego schools throughout her life, always impacting people wherever she went. After finishing high school in Otsego, Brooke started attending KVCC in Kalamazoo. Brooke loved fitness, and KVCC had just built a brand new facility. She began to go there regularly at all different times. But then she began to go earlier and earlier in the morning. Her parents even noticed what they thought was just determination. Because really, what college student goes to work out at 6:00 AM? Little did they know, she had other reasons for going. She apparently liked one of the staff there. Even the staff member didn't know of the attraction because he was too oblivious to the flirtation from Brooke. Luckily for that blessed worker, he had some wise coworkers who would tell him, "Dude, this girl likes you, she only comes in when you are here now, and she always talks to you for a long time when she gets here." That lucky young man was Matthew Rakoski. He finally came to his senses and asked Brooke out for a date to the movies. (Remember, this was in 2002, so kids still did this.) He let her pick the movie, and she picked a good one - "Old School". From then on, Brooke and Matt began dating. They loved going to the gym together, seeing movies, and going out to dinner.
In 2004, Brooke decided to go to Georgia State University to honor an agreement she had with a good friend who passed away from a medical emergency. So Eric, Elizabeth, Brooke and Matt all packed their cars and drove 14 hours straight to deliver a young lady to downtown Atlanta. That was the moment things became more serious for Brooke and Matt. They had an agreement because Brooke worked at the fitness center at GSU very early in the morning. She would call Matt between 5:00-6:00 AM when she got to work. The reason was because she had to take the MARTA, which was Atlanta's train system, and she had to walk through downtown Atlanta so early. But this strong, tenacious woman was never once scared.
After one semester or so, Brooke became very home sick. So, Matt was going to drive down and bring her back home, but her parents beat him to it. From GSU Brooke moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Matt lived with his longtime friend. Brooke moved in with Matt and the rest of that was history.
Matt and Brooke always enjoyed doing things with their parents, and one of those things was going to college football games. They always went to the Michigan/Michigan State games at the big house. Brooke's brother went to Michigan and her parents and parents' friends were huge Michigan fans. Matt was an avid Michigan State fan, which caused constant joking fun banter among all.
In October of 2006, Matt asked to talk to Elizabeth and Eric when Brooke wasn't around. He was nervous and scared out of his mind because he asked their permission to marry Brooke. Thankfully, they said he had their blessing. So, on October 29th that year, Matt proposed to Brooke at their home in Grand Rapids. Luckily for Matt, Brooke said yes, and it was one of the happiest days of their lives. They were married on June 6, 2008, at St. Monica's church in Kalamazoo, MI. Brooke and Matt continued to live in Grand Rapids until 2009, but wanted to move back home to start their own family.
In November of 2009, Matt vividly remembers receiving a text message from Brooke asking, "Do you think I should take a part time position at Lowe's in Kalamazoo if I think I am pregnant?" This was because Brooke was still commuting to Lowe's in Kentwood, MI. Matt stood there looking at his phone at work and began typing her back a message. Then it really dawned on him, and he said to his boss that he needed to go make a phone call. He called and said, "What do you mean about the job IF you think you are pregnant?" Brooke responded by saying, "I took a test and it was positive." Matt responded with, "Well how many did you take?" Brooke said, "Three, and they were all positive." Matt said, "So, we are beyond the 'if you think you are pregnant' part then, huh? You could have called me you know." She said she didn't want to bother him at work. That was just Brooke - she was always thinking of others.
So, on July 27, 2010, Sophia Brooklyn Rakoski was born, and the two became three. Three years later Brooke blessed their family with another member. On May 14, 2013, Parker Matthew Rakoski was born. The family was now complete, and the grandparents were enthralled with the new additions.
Then, on September 8, 2017, the family was given a dramatic blow that Brooke was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Brooke, being the fierce fighter she was, said, "This is my path to walk," and, "Bring it on." She sailed through the first two stages and was nearing the end of her treatments. But in January 2018, she began having severe headaches. After multiple ER trips Brooke was admitted to Bronson to see what was going on. The doctors did many tests and found something they thought they never would. Her cancer had grown to her spinal fluid and brain. Being the fierce woman she was, Brooke said, "I want to fight this too." The cancer was too strong though, and in late January she was taken to Rose Arbor in Kalamazoo. The amazing staff took care of Brooke until she was called home to heaven on February 28, 2018, at 11:43 am. Brooke was surround by her husband, parents, and friends. She is now at peace and resting with the ones who passed before her.
Brooke is survived by her husband Matthew, and their two children Sophia (7) and Parker (4). Also surviving are her parents Eric and Elizabeth Schweikert; brother Marc Schweikert; in-laws Ken and Jone Rakoski; aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Friends may visit with Brooke's family on Sunday, March 4, from 4-8 PM at Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Westside Chapel, 3926 S. 9th Street. A celebration of Brooke's life will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, March 5, at the funeral home. A luncheon and the funeral home and burial in Poplar Hill Cemetery (Allegan) will follow.
Memorial contributions in Brooke's memory may be made to an education fund for her children (checks to: Matt Rakoski) or to West Michigan Cancer Center.
Brooke's intoxicating personality and thoughtful ways will truly be missed by all the lives she touched. She is now free of pain and resting easy. She will always be with everyone she touched.