Ronald Stokes, 86, of Manitowoc, WI, slept away peacefully at home on Sunday, December 2, 2018.
Ron was born on October 10, 1932, in Milwaukee to the late Jack and Marie Endrizzi Stokes. He graduated from Rufus King High School with the class of 1950, and attended UW Milwaukee where he received his Bachelors of Science and Masters of Fine Arts degrees in Art Education. Ron became an extraordinary teacher not only of art but of life beyond the arts. He shaped, influenced, and inspired many students over the years. Ron was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean Conflict where he served from 1953-1955. He was at Fort Benning most of that time, but he was proud to say “Did you ever see any commies in Georgia?” On August 31, 1957, Ron married Maureen “Dolly” Mangin at St. Francis Church on 4th and Brown Streets in Milwaukee, and they recently celebrated 61 years together. Many peaks and some valleys. Ron taught art in Milwaukee and Manitowoc public schools for 32 years. From 1967-1970 he was Director of Education at the Milwaukee Art Center, and director of a federally funded CESA program at the Milwaukee Art Center. Ron was a member of the Wisconsin Watercolor Society, National Art Education Association, and Wisconsin and National Education Association. He was a past president of WEA. Ron owned and operated Gallery East in Manitowoc for 32 years, from 1986 to the present, where on his hours open sign it said “mebbe, mebbe not.” His work has won numerous awards and hangs in many private and public collections. Ron was proud to say that a painting of his, in a private collection, hangs next to a Picasso. Ron was a long time member of the Manitowoc Yacht Club, where he served as commodore, board member, and served on many committees, the Swedish Pancake Breakfast being one his favorite functions—he gathered the troops and led them in arousing “go get ‘em” cheer before serving the pancakes. One of Ron’s best known skills at the Yacht Club was making a 10 minute manhattan— the ice melted before he finished mixing it. Ron joined the Eagles Club in 1970 after being recruited by his father-in-law, Les-Mangin. Because Ron was just beginning to teach in Manitowoc and Les was on the Board of Education, Ron couldn’t refuse. Being part of the gourmet travel group and the Michigan Avenue Men’s Club was great fun, but their mission was hard to define. Ron enjoyed his life puttering in his yard, tending to his flowers, and swearing at the squirrels. He also enjoyed watching the family gerbils chew up toilet paper cores. Times at the cabin at Lost Lake with his friends and grandchildren were special. Sipping manhattans on the deck while watching the sunset and later listening to the loons are memories not to be forgotten. Ron enjoyed making face bread for his grandchildren at the cabin. His best effort at a cabin breakfast was milk-toast. The grandkids did not like the milk toast very much, but it was better than his snapping turtle soup. The grandkids always loved his unusual handmade Christmas ornaments, watching him fillet fish, burning marshmallows around the cabin bonfire, and playing in the Connect Four championship even though Ron hated to play because he always lost. Ron’s most outstanding characteristic was his witty, funny, never-ending sense of humor. We love you.
Survivors include Ron’s wife of 61 years, Dolly; three children, Patricia Stokes-Hayes (Stephen), Fox Point; Michael Stokes, Manitowoc; and Ronald (Gayle) Stokes Jr., La Mesa, CA; eight grandchildren, Alyssa, Evan, and Morgan Stokes; Alexander, Benjamin, and Christopher Hayes; Ronald Alexander and Nicholas Stokes; a soon-to-be great granddaughter; and many other relatives and friends— he loved them all. Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Marie Stokes; brother, Robert Stokes; and other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 9, 2018, at the Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home. Deacon Alan Boeldt will officiate with burial to take place at a later date at Evergreen Cemetery. Cremation has taken place. The family will greet relatives and friends at the Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home on Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and again on Sunday from noon until the time of the memorial service at 2:00 p.m. Following the memorial service, military rites will be accorded by Drews-Bleser American Legion Post 88. A reception will immediately follow at the Harrigan Parkside Gathering Center located on the south property of the Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.harriganparksidefuneralhome.com
An art education scholarship fund has been established in Ron’s name. Contributions can be sent to Dolly Stokes, 511 N. 6th Street, Manitowoc, WI 54220. The family wishes to thank Dr. Herring and Ann for always being there for Ron, and the wonderful caring staff of Holy Family Memorial Home Care for making this journey easier for Ron and Dolly. The kindness and concern shown to us by so many, many great friends will never be forgotten. To single anyone out would be impossible—but you who went beyond the call of duty will know who you are, and we are forever grateful.
The Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home and Crematory, North 11 and St. Clair Streets, Manitowoc is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.