Jerome M. Stokes
Jerome Marion Jerry Stokes of Beaumont died at Harbor Hospice House early on Saturday morning, December 6, 2014. A native of San Antonio, he lived in Beaumont seventy-eight years.
William Howard Taft was president when Jerry was born on November 2, 1910, and his lifetime of over 38,000 days spanned the terms of eighteen presidents. 1910 was the year Arthur Knight patented the steel shaft golf club and Ernest Sirrine patented traffic lights. Jerry enjoyed the former, always walking his rounds of golf until he was in his 80 s. He might have avoided wrecking his father s touring car if Victoria had installed traffic lights before he started to drive.
His father, John Milton Stokes, was a newspaper man and a thoroughbred horse trainer. As a youngster, Jerry and his mother, Nola, nee Sexton, and later a brother Malone, followed his dad on the racing circuit, living in Denver, San Francisco, and Phoenix, among other cities. His dad then became the owner of the Port Lavaca Wave before finally joining the Victoria Advocate as advertising manager in Victoria, Texas when Jerry entered the fourth grade. Known in Victoria as Jerome, (or Romeo) Jerry attended Brownson and Mitchell schools, Patti Welder High School and Victoria Junior College, where he was the quarterback of their football teams. He moved to Beaumont in 1936, where he was employed by Gulf States Utilities Co. as a draftsman in the Engineering Department. While working at Gulf States, he attended law school at night at the East Texas College of Law, where he obtained a law degree, then passed the bar exam to become an attorney at law. He continued working at Gulf States, moving to advertising, then claims and human resources, before becoming senior vice president of finance, a position he held until his retirement in 1975.
Jerry married Margaretta Murphree in 1937. He leaves two sons born to him and Margaretta: James M. (Jim) Stokes and his wife, Dolly, of Victoria and William J. (Bill) Stokes and his wife, Lynda, of Temple; six grandchildren; and twelve great-grandchildren. From Jim and his first wife, Sally Pitts Gieseke, there are Louellen Fuller and her husband, David, and their children, Michael and Catherine of Batson; Jennifer Magee and her husband, Jeff, and their children, Elizabeth and P.J. of Katy; Jerry Stokes and his wife, Lisa, and their children, Emma, Griffin, and Brody of Sherman; and Catherine Bell and her husband, Rick, and their children, Travis, Ashley, and Amanda of Sugar Land. From Bill and Lynda there are Brian Stokes of Austin and Kelly Garcia and her husband, Andrew, and their children, Gabe and Maren of Temple. After Margaretta died in 1983, Jerry married Bonnie Briles Spencer, who died earlier this year.
Jerry and Margaretta were long-time members of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Beaumont, later transferring their membership to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. Bonnie was already a member of St. Andrews when she and Jerry married in 1985. Jerry also had been an active member of the Young Man s Business League, where he became a Key Man in recognition of his work for many years on the fair catalogue.
A gathering of Mr. Stokes family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Monday, December 8, 2014, at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 1350 North 23rd Street, Beaumont. His funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 9, 2014, at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, with interment to follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont, under the direction of Broussard s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont.
Jerry outlived many friends, neighbors, and co-workers who might have been pallbearers in earlier years. He was a pallbearer for many of them, and he remembered them and their families fondly. Now his grandsons and the husbands of his granddaughters will serve as pallbearers for him.
In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to make contributions to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 1350 North 23rd Street, Beaumont, Texas 77706, in his memory.
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