Thomas J. Stokes, 79, of Fredonia N.Y., went to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday (May 7, 2013). He died unexpectedly with Lois, his wife of 56 years, at his side.
Tom was born March 12, 1934 the son of Kenneth and Evelyn Stokes. He grew up in Fredonia and gra-duated from Fredonia High School in 1953. Upon graduation, he enlisted to serve his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps. While in the Marines, Tom was a rifle instructor and was recognized as an athlete and participated on the Marine Corps football and boxing teams. He served three years earning the rank of Sergeant.
Tom graduated from SUNY Fredonia in January 1963, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Education. He began his career at Fredonia Central School that winter and held his position as Middle School Social Studies teacher for 30 years retiring in 1993.
Tom always enjoyed working with students in the classroom as well as in sports. He coached for his entire tenure and couldn't leave coaching after his retirement. "Sticker" Stokes' career as a Fredonia High School football coach totaled 32 years. Tom also coached High School Track and Field for several years. He was a founding member of the WNY Track & Field Officials Assoc. He was also involved in the Fredonia Middle School Backpacking Club and Fredonia Ski Club.
Although sports were a huge part of Tom's life, his family was very important to him. He married his high school sweetheart Lois Bray on November 17, 1956. Together they raised four children Kathy (Ron) Wasik, Mary (Mike) Williams, Tom (Jen) Stokes, all of Fredonia and David (Susan) Stokes of New Jersey all of whom survive him. He is also survived by thirteen grandchildren: Ron, Anne, Sara, Rebecca, Elijah, Gwen, Claire, Thomas Josef, Alex, Jordan, Sophie, Michelle, and Joshua, and five great grandchildren: Lorelai, Madalyn, Zachariah, Grace and Faith. Tom was an awesome grandpa attending many sporting events, concerts and plays. He was always there for his family and helped them any way possible.
He took pride in living on his farm and enjoyed caring for his animals. Another of Tom's pleasures was traveling the United States with his family exploring the many beautiful and historical places our country has to offer.
He was predeceased by his parents and his brothers: Malcolm, Doug and Bruce. He is survived by his brother Marvin, stepsister Elaine (Dave) Yuen, Uncle James Harper and several nieces and nephews.
Tom was an honest man with integrity who did not relish the limelight but was always on the fringes work-ing diligently for whatever project was put before him. His infectious smile and sparkling blue eyes will be remembered by all those who knew him.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Thomas "Sticker" Stokes Scholarship, c/o Chautauqua County Community Foundation, 212 Lakeshore Drive West, Dunkirk, NY 14048.
Calling hours will be held Saturday May 18, 2013 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Fredonia Baptist Church, 19 Church St., Fredonia, where a memorial service will follow at 11:00 a.m. at the church. Military Honors will follow the service. A funeral luncheon after the memorial service, will be held at the Harvest Chapel, 39 Matteson St., Fredonia Online condolences may be made at larsontimkofuneralhome.com. Arrangements by David J. Dengler, Larson-Timko Funeral Home, 679-9000.