Retired Sgt. Oscar Herbert Claybrooks was born on July 27, 1932, in Nashville, Tennessee to the late Albert Thomas Claybrooks, Sr., and Annie Louise Claybrooks. He departed this life suddenly on June 12, 2023. He was preceded in death by his spouse, Susie Mae Claybrooks, daughter, Lisa Michelle Motley, grandson, Christopher Motley siblings, and siblings, Roy Claybrooks and John Claybrooks.
Oscar, affectionately known as Big O, attended public schools in Nashville, Tennessee. After graduating from Pearl High School on June 9, 1950, he went on to enroll at Tennessee State University where he studied for two years majoring in History.
After leaving college, Oscar worked as a cook at Vanderbilt Hospital and was later drafted into the military. He served 2 years in the United States Army and received recognitions to include the National Defense Service Medal and a Good Conduct Medal. He received an Honorable Discharge on August 5, 1953.
He was known for his career in law enforcement that spanned 36 years. He attained the rank of Sergeant, and his contributions made history as he was the second African American officer in the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. He was also one of the two first African American officers on the Vice unit. Service included Patrol, Homicide, Vice, and Intelligence units, and Tow-In lot. Two additional generations of MPD officers followed in his footsteps: his son Sgt. Keith Claybrooks, and his granddaughter, Sgt. Victoria Cunningham.
Oscar united in holy matrimony with Susie Mae Pope on March 26, 1958, and to this union four children were born, Keith Herbert, Carl Alan, Lisa Michelle, and Kerry Anthony. His pride and joy were his six granddaughters, all of whom he lovingly called “Precious.” At any given time when they were together, they all instinctually knew to which “Precious” he was referring.
Oscar obeyed the gospel on April 9, 1972. Brother E. D. Phillips at Lawrence Avenue Church of Christ baptized him, where he continued to serve throughout the years. His membership remained with the Lawrence Avenue congregation, and he was a faithful member until illness limited his ability to attend.
Oscar is survived by sons, Keith Claybrooks, Carl (Teresa) Claybrooks, Kerry (Gail) Claybrooks; granddaughters, Victoria Cunningham, Alyssa Claybrooks, Christina Motley, Kara Claybrooks, Megan Motley, Lauren Motley, one grandson, Anthony (Christina) Gregory; one great grandson, Jayce Gregory; one brother, Van (Barbara) Claybrooks, Sr. of Woodbridge, Virginia; one sister, Peggy Adams, and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Family will receive their friends, Monday, June 19th from 3-6pm at Highland Hills Funeral Home. Visitation, Tuesday, June 20th from 11 am-12:00 Noon, with service to follow at Lawrence Avenue Church of Christ, 904 Lawrence Avenue. Interment, Greenwood Main Cemetery.
As we mourn the loss of Sgt. Oscar Claybrooks, we take solace in knowing that his spirit will live on in the hearts and memories of all who were fortunate enough to have known him. He leaves behind a legacy of honor, bravery, and selflessness, serving as a shining example for us all. We thank him for 36 years of service to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. Rest in peace, dear officer, knowing that your service will never be forgotten.