Brooke Allyson Shambeck

brooke shambeck
Brooke Allyson Shambeck, a resident of Oakton, Virginia for the past 22 years, died on August 13th from injuries sustained in a tragic freak motorcycle accident while participating in a charity ride to benefit Richmond’s Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Administration Hospital. She was 56 years old. She is survived by her husband James ‘Jim’ Cordes, her son by a previous marriage, Matthew Nolan, her brother Clark Shambeck, and niece Autumn Shambeck.

Brooke was born September 9, 1965, in Saudi Arabia to Clarence ‘Scotty’ Shambeck, a World War II veteran and Air Force Colonel, and Joyce Shambeck (nee Peters). When Brooke was two, her family moved to Germany, near the city of Stuttgart, where her father was stationed. Brooke grew up in Germany, where she became an accomplished equestrian, participating in jumping and dressage shows and competitions. She was also a highly skilled skier, mastering the slopes in Garmisch Germany and the French, Austrian, and Italian Alps. Her family moved to the United States when she was 17 and settled in Oakton, Virginia where she graduated from Oakton High School.

She then completed a degree as a veterinary technician at Blue Ridge Community College in Harrisonburg, Virginia and later taught veterinary students at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. That began a thirteen-year career as a veterinary technician working at various hospitals in the Richmond and Northern Virginia areas. In 2007, Brooke became the office manager for AcuSys, Inc, a government contractor specializing in data warehousing solutions, where Jim also worked. She retired after five years to care for her father after her mother had passed away.

During her life, Brooke enjoyed a variety of exciting activities such as ski instructor and flying student. She also rode a Zamboni during an NHL playoff game, drove a blimp, flew in a restored B-17 bomber, drove a NASCAR stock car at Richmond International Raceway, tested the new Jaguar F-Type S sportscar at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin TX, swam with dolphins and sea turtles in Jamaica and Mexico, frolicked with a sea lion in the Virgin Islands, hunted lionfish off the coast of Cozumel, free dove with sharks in Hawaii, was a featured character in a nationally syndicated daily comic strip, and last, but not least, was strangled mercilessly by rock star Alice Cooper.

Brooke’s friends and family recall her warmth, kindness, humor, and extraordinary empathy. She had an infectious laugh that came easy to her. She was full of a joy which she readily shared. Brooke supported the activities of the Fairfax Resolves Chapter of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and was a member of the Fairfax Coin Club, Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, and George Washington’s Mt. Vernon.

Her love of all animals (except spiders) seemed boundless. Over her life she had countless pets, including hamsters, cats, birds, fish, and her favorite – dogs. Many she rescued from shelters with some being deemed un-rescuable, but she was able to save them.

With Jim - her partner of 21 years, and husband for 11, she travelled extensively, bringing her zest for life to those she met along the way. Brooke and Jim often traveled to tropical destinations, where they would swim, paddle board, kayak, snorkel, and scuba dive. They were married on a beach in Cozumel, Mexico in 2011. Together they attended scores of concerts where she was fortunate enough to meet, and laugh with, some of her music heroes. Brooke loved to ride her motorcycle Clementine, and she and Jim participated in charity rides to support veterans and other worthy causes.

A celebration of Brooke’s life will be held at Money and King Funeral Home in Vienna, VA on September 9th at 2pm followed by a reception at the Blue Iguana in Fairfax, VA. Those in attendance should dress in something that is associated with their time with Brooke. In lieu of flowers, and in recognition of Brooke’s dedication to animal and veterans causes, the family asks that donations be made in her name to your favorite veterans’ support or animal rescue organization.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Thank you for sharing your self with us and leaving such a lasting impression. You will be in our hearts forever! Aloha Brooke until we meet again! Tom & Cheryl Takakuwa

  2. Brooke, it came a shock to all of us from AcuSys, Inc. that you passed away. You were too young, and it happened too soon and suddenly. During your five plus years in our Alexandria office, people loved your dedication, kindness, warmth and always reaching out to take care of issues, no matter how small they can be. You made the work environment a family like home. It’s not easy but you did it with your fine characters. We will dearly miss you, your bright smile, your laughter, and especially parties you organized to cheer us up! Rest well in heaven Brooke.

  3. Q: How did you meet Brooke?

    A: I met Brooke at a family function (nice way of saying memorial) for my Grandmother. She was accepting, loving, kind, had an infectious laugh. Being across the country with my family, I didn’t get to spend enough time with her but the memories are fun. She was encouraging, an attitude booster for sure. She never pointed out anything bad. Always found the good in people and let them know. Being my uncle’s partner and then wife made her near and dear. She will be missed. Rest in Heaven, Brooke. You will NEVER be forgotten!!

  4. Brooke was a friend since the summer we met back in 1976. With only six weeks apart in age, we spent years together just growing up: skiing, horseback riding, becoming young women. We believed we knew best, and that we ruled the world. Schools, boyfriends, trips here and there, weddings, divorces, kids, parental deaths, too many rock concerts to count, and an endless amount of laughter filled memories. Brooke loved and cherished her son, her husband, her family and her friends. She was a patriot. She was loyal, goofy, classy, educated, caring for all of God’s creatures, made others laugh, and most of all a dear friend to many, who all miss her dearly. I’m feeling grateful for the friendship we shared. Extending heartfelt sympathies to Mattie, Jim, Clark, Autumn, and all others who are grieving her loss. Miss you babe.xxxxoooo

  5. I’m one of Jim’s daughters. Brooke welcomed me as family, and was always ready with a “howdy” and a big hug. One of my favorite memories of her was when we were driving past a cornfield on our way to a concert, and she wondered aloud if anyone would notice if she swiped an ear of corn. She decided that if she took one, she’d leave a dollar bill on the stalk for it. We ended up not stopping, but that cracked me up. I loved seeing live bands with her–her groove was infectious, and I couldn’t help but bounce too. She gave me tips on how to be a good motorcycle passenger (don’t stick your head out behind the shoulder of the driver like you see people do in movies). She slipped me the goofiest, funniest bachelorette paraphernalia before I got married. I’ll always remember her deep affection for animals, wherever she encountered them—there were her pets of course, but I also smile when I remember her making peanut butter crackers for backyard wildlife, and letting a pushy coatimundi drink from her water bottle on a vacation in Tulum. The last text I got from her was a picture of her cat Sammi sunbathing. And her love for my dad was incredibly abundant—another of my favorite memories is when my dad and I were on a trip in Florida, preparing to stop at a grocery store, and he pulled out a little list she’d made of things he should get. She was extraordinarily caring and thoughtful. I will never forget her bright, fun warmth.

  6. Brooke was the best step-mother I could have asked for. From the first time I met her, she put me at ease with her exceedingly kind, warm, and generous spirit. She had the most charming, goofy personality that made her so enjoyable to be around, and was the perfect complement to my dad. They were two peas in a pod, always having fun and making each other laugh. Brooke lived life to the fullest, spreading love and happiness wherever she went, and I’m so grateful to have known her. She will be dearly missed.

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