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Joseph's Story

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The most loving, and devoted husband and father in the world, Joseph D. Stokes, entered the gates of Heaven at his home in Olivet on July 16, 2017 at 4:20 A.M. with his wife and children at his bedside.
Joe was born on February 17, 1934 and raised on a small farm east of Ridge Farm, IL. He was the son of Gertrude Elizabeth Knight Stokes and John Henry Stokes. He attended Humrick grade school and graduated from Ridge Farm High School in the class of 1951. He loved football and was the captain of the Bulldogs his senior year. He also made the Danville Commercial News First Vermilion County team. Coach John Roberts got Joe a scholarship to play football at Georgia Tech in 1951, but his father John, would not let him go, as he needed him on the farm.
In 1955, he joined the U.S. Army during the Korean war. He came home on Christmas leave in December of 1955 and on January 1, 1956 Joe married the love of his life and childhood sweetheart, Meredith Ann Hartman. They lived in Ft. Hood, Texas for the first year of their married life. Meredith survives along with his son Gary Joe Stokes of Olivet, his daughter Jayne Ann (Danny) Dann of Danville, Indiana and his only grandchild Kayla Jo Dann, a student at Indiana University South. Also, one brother Franklin Edward Stokes of Danville, Il, and a special daughter Gayle Oberle of Olivet and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Glenn Henry Stokes and Charles Everett Stokes, two nieces, Leona Brown Perez and Carolyn Williford and one nephew Larry Joe Stokes.
Joe always wanted to be a teacher and coach, but didnt get the chance until after marriage. He graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a B.S. in Education, an M.S in Education and a Specialist in Education. Joe climbed the ladder from teaching, coaching and being a principal of Wingard Grade School in Georgetown and Harrison Grade School in Ridge Farm to teaching high school in Paris, Rossville, and coaching football and teaching mathematics at North Vermillion High School in Cayuga, Indiana. Joe also taught mathematics and physical education and served as Football coach at Ridge Farm High School before leaving to begin his administrative career. He was the High School principal for six years in Palestine, IL.
He was a Superintendent of Schools in Penfield, IL for three years, and ended his career in Education after 35 years with the last ten years in Effingham County as a Superintendent. He accepted two interim Superintendents jobs at Clay City and Mulberry Grove.
When Joe came back to Vermilion County Illinois after retirement, he purchased the Olivet school house and renovated it into a home. He spent many years doing most of the work himself with the help of his son, Gary. He loved his garden and fruit trees and spent many hours working with them. He also loved bowling and was the Secretary-Treasurer of the Senior Citizen League at Lincoln Lanes for over 20 years. His bowling friends were very important to him. He was an avid Cubs fan and was very happy to get to see the 2016 Championship team play in Person.
A celebration of Joes life will at 2:00pm Thursday July 20, 2017 at Sunsets Houghton-Leasure Funeral Home 200 East West St. Georgetown with Pastor James Blue officiating. Visitation for family and friends will be 3:00 pm to 7:00pm Wednesday July 19, 2017 at the funeral home. Burial will be in Forrest Park Cemetery in Georgetown. Memorial can be given to the Charity of the donors choice. Please join his family in sharing memories through his Tribute Wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com.
Published on July 17, 2017
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