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Christopher Brooks McPhail

C. Brooks McPhail, 48, died unexpectedly Wednesday August 1, 2018 at his Ipswich home. He was married to the love of his life, Melissa (O’Donnell) McPhail, for nineteen years.

Born on July 8, 1970, he was the son of Mary (Arsenault) Caldwell of Ipswich, and the late Robert R. McPhail. Brooks was raised and educated in Ipswich and was an Ipswich High School graduate, Class of 1989.  After high school, Brooks studied at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and completed his Associates Degree in Performing Arts in 1991. Brooks spent the next six years in Portland, Oregon, where he worked as a cook and played bass in the band Molly Cliff, and then returned to Ipswich. Music remained a constant throughout his life. Brooks entertained hundreds with the Orville Giddings Band at local restaurants and Crane’s Castle concerts. In his recording studio, which he built himself, Brooks recorded, engineered, and produced his own music and that of numerous other musicians. Another passion that Brooks shared with those around him was his love of fine food. Whether at home or work, Brooks was a talented and creative chef who often improvised delicious dishes without ever needing a recipe. It was not unusual to stop by unannounced on a Sunday afternoon and find him creating a five-course meal even if no guests were expected. He shared this enthusiasm with others as a chef in numerous local restaurants, most recently, The Ipswich Ale Brewer’s Table in Ipswich where he mentored younger chefs and passed on his love of culinary arts. Brooks applied his love of carpentry to his appreciation of music and food. From concept to construction, he completely remodeled two kitchens, sparing no attention to detail down to finding and selecting colonial pine floorboards. Countless celebrations have been had on the decks Brooks built, where he oversaw the grill with the casual expertise of a seasoned chef. A jack of all trades, Brooks had a gruff humorous passion which he put into everything he did and shared with everyone he met, knew, and loved.

In addition to his father, he was also predeceased by his brother, Peter D. McPhail.

Visiting hours will be Tuesday, August 7, 4 to 8 PM in the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home, 6 High St, Ipswich. Graveside Services will be held Wednesday, August 8 at 10 AM in the Highland Cemetery, Ipswich, followed by a Celebration of Life at 11 AM at the Hellenic Center, Country Road, Ipswich. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to IMADA and in the memo line “ Brooks McPhail Music and Art Scholarship Fund”  mailed to 9 Fairview Ave, Ipswich, MA 01938.

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