February 18, 1935 – April 30, 2019
John C. Stokoe, 84, of Hebron, NH passed away peacefully at his home Tuesday, April 30, surrounded by his four children.
Born February 18, 1935 in Albany, NY, John was the only child of the late Donald and Mirtha (McClary) Stokoe. Growing up in Delmar, New York, John’s roots ran deep in the town of Bethlehem community, and he greatly valued the many enduring relationships established during his youth. John was a 1953 graduate of Bethlehem Central High School. During his four years at BCHS, he was a natural class leader, as well as an outstanding athlete in football, basketball, baseball, and track. Baseball would prove to be a lifelong love. John played American Legion baseball from 1947-51 for the Nathaniel Adams Blanchard Post in Delmar where he honed his skills as a left-handed pitcher. He was selected as an Albany Times Union representative in the 1953 Hearst Sandlot Classic at The Polo Grounds in NYC, where he pitched two innings for the United States All-Stars. John was offered a baseball scholarship to Wake Forest College in Winston-Salem, NC where he pitched all four years and, as a sophomore, was on the mound in the semi-final game against Oklahoma A&M. Wake Forest won 2-0 and went on to win the final game of the College World Series, becoming the 1955 NCAA tournament champs. John cultivated many lifelong friendships at Wake Forest and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. During the summers John played amateur baseball in Nova Scotia. He pitched and played centerfield for Dartmouth in the Halifax + District League, and in his 1957 season, he helped Dartmouth win the H+D League Championship.
John graduated from Wake Forest in 1957, and in August baseball scout Jeff Jones with the Milwaukee Braves, signed him to a 1958 baseball contract with Atlanta in the Class AA Southern Association. John’s professional dream was coming true.
John was blessed in his personal life, as well. In 1958 he married the love of his life, Barbara McWhorter, also of Delmar. Barbara, an athlete in her own right, fully supported and encouraged John in his professional baseball career. They spent four years moving through the Braves minor league system, living in Jacksonville, Boise, Victoria, Ardmore, and Eau Claire, and they added two children to their “team” along the way. After John left the Braves, he and Barbara settled in Slingerlands, NY where John worked in the bond department of the Travelers Insurance Company. Not one to hang up his cleats, John stayed in the game for the next six years as a player/manager in the Albany Twilight League. His teams, Mike’s Subs and, later, Finkle Jewelers, won many championships. It was during this time that John met Baltimore Oriole scout Barney Lutz and began working part time for the Orioles. John’s detailed reports on baseball prospects and his unique gift to judge the ability and potential of a young ball player caught the attention of the Oriole front office. In November of 1968, John became a full time scout with the O’s. By then John and Barbara had finalized their family roster by adding two more children. As a full time area scout, John covered a nine state region. John’s commitment to finding the best prospects for the Orioles was not limited to assessing a player’s current physical ability but also to scoping out a future player’s potential. John had the skill to develop a relationship with the prospective ball player and his family, thus, getting a picture of the player’s character, as well. John scouted Mike Flanagan, a left-handed pitcher from Manchester, NH, and got to know him and his parents well. Mike had developed trouble with the ulnar nerve in his elbow, but, after John and other Baltimore officials reviewed all the medical reports, the Orioles signed Flanagan in 1973. John proudly followed Mike’s career, and in 1979 the O’s won the American League Pennant, and Flanagan won the prestigious Cy Young Award for best American League pitcher. The success of his signees highlighted John’s instinct and talents as a scout in his early career.
In 1980, the Orioles promoted John to East Coast Scouting Supervisor. In this position he was responsible for twenty states from Maine to Florida and had eight scouts working under him. His main job was cross checking prospects that his scouts had identified. A highlight for John was the opportunity to do advance scouting on the Phillies prior to the 1983 World Series. Stokoe prepared reports on the individual Philly players, charting every aspect of their game. John was proud to have contributed to the success of the Orioles as they went on to defeat the Phillies and win the 1983 World Series. Although offered the scouting director job in Baltimore more than once, John preferred being out in the field and continued scouting for the Orioles until his retirement in 1997. To honor his pending retirement, John was on the mound of Camden Yards in September of 1997 to throw out the first pitch before an Oriole-Yankee game, and Mike Flanagan was at home plate to make the catch. John felt privileged to have spent his entire scouting career with the Baltimore Orioles, a great organization. He made lasting friendships with many in the baseball scouting community and was proud to have been recognized along the way by his peers. In 1985 John received the A.B.”Turk” Karam Memorial Award presented by the New York Professional Baseball Hot Stove League. The Albany Twilight League inducted John into their Hall of Fame in 1987, and in 1997 John was named MLB’s East Coast Scout of the Year at the National Scouting Convention in New Orleans. John wrote these words in his profile to the Scout of the Year committee, “My career in pro baseball as a player and scout would not have been possible without the support and devotion of my wife of 39 years, Barbara, and our four children.”
In 1994 John and Barbara, along with their son Don, moved to Newfound Lake in New Hampshire. John led a full life in retirement. He and Barbara spent time together kayaking, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and both x-country and downhill skiing. John took up golf and looked forward to his regular tee time with the “fearsome foursome”. In addition, John belonged to the Pasquaney Snowshoe Club, the “Father Bennett’s” Boy’s Club, and was an active member of the Bristol United Church of Christ where he served as a trustee and moderator. John and Barbara looked forward to Wake Forest and BCHS reunions, but John loved nothing more than spending time on the lake with his four children, their spouses, and his six grandsons. To his family, John was a larger than life, fun loving, giving, and nurturing father and grandfather. He made an indelible impression on his family and friends but most importantly on his grandsons.
John is survived by his wife of 61 years, Barbara (McWhorter) Stokoe; four children, Lisa Barrett, Don Stokoe, both of Hebron, NH, Lynda Wade (BJ) of Lewiston, ME, and Leann Stokoe (Slade Warner) of Plymouth, NH; grandsons Dylan and Calvin John Barrett of Denver, CO, Griffin and Gunnar Wade of Lewiston, ME, and Seth and Troy Warner of Plymouth, NH; Brother in law, Jim McWhorter (Fern) and nieces, Kim Gorham and Lynda Krokoff.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Pemi-Baker Hospice for the kind and compassionate care of John during his last days.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 27 at 10am at the Bristol United Church of Christ, 15 Church St. Bristol NH 03222.
Burial at Bethlehem Cemetery, Delmar, NY will be at a later date.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The New Hampshire Alzheimer’s Association 166 S River Rd #210, Bedford, NH 03110 or online at www.alz.org/manh to end this horrible disease or Newfound Lake Region Association, 10 North Main ST., Unit 1, Bristol, NH 03222. www.newfoundlake.org.
Ned and Becky McElroy
May 11, 2019
We had the privilege to get to know John and hear lots of stories of his gloried past and many adventures with Barbara while hiking with the Pasquaney Snowshoe Club.
Those were dear days, indeed.
Hoping so see you, Barbara, on another walk in the woods.
Love, Ned and Becky
May 10, 2019
Leann, Lynda, Lisa, Donny and Mrs. Stokoe - I was so saddened to hear of the loss of your father and husband. Your tribute was lovely and I learned a lot about Mr. Stokoe. Growing up, it was always a warm welcome and a pleasure to hang out at your house - skipping over the backyard to school, skating on our feet when the rains would freeze up to make a pond among the trees in the back. I always used to brag about how my friend's Dad was a scout for the Baltimore Orioles. I thought it was the coolest thing - still do - but not as cool as his nickname "Porkie" because (if I am recalling correctly) of his brush cut. Your family always holds a special place in my heart and I hope at this difficult time your treasured memories will help to ease the sorrow.
Thinking of you all, Kristen
May 8, 2019
Dear Lisa. Don, Lynda, Leanne,
I would like to express my sincerest sympathies to you and your family on the passing of your beloved father.
It was an honor and delight to have known John Stokoe. Your dad and I were teammates on the Eau Claire Braves in the Northern League back in 1961. It was easy to see that John was the most knowledgeable player on the club and that he was a fierce competitor. Also, his friendliness and quick wit made him a very popular teammate.
Your father’s wonderful career with the Baltimore Orioles ,as one the top scouts in the major leagues, has long been recognized by his peers. Indeed, , the scouting community has always been a tight knit group and his many colleagues will miss him dearly.
I know that you will miss your dad, but please take solace in reflecting upon the lifetime of love you shared with him.
With sympathies to all,
May 5, 2019
To Lisa, Don, Lynda, Leeann, all his grandchildren, family, and friends,
What a great man, husband, father, grandfather. He was so active, funny, a regular Joe.
He welcomed me at church and my new community.
I will also remember his stories, driving to hikes, Souperball games, hanging at the lake.
What an awesome man.
THANKS so much John Stokoe, you will be so missed.
Thank you, Lisa, Don, Lynda, and Leeann for all that you did for your father. I know he greatly appreciated you and always talked so HIGHLY of his family.
Much Peace and God Bless, jeanne p
Patricia Wilkinson Brown
May 3, 2019
Dear Lisa, Don, Lynda, Leann and Families,
We were very saddened to receive Joan Marden's email notifying us all of John's passing. We are
also sad to know that your Mom is not doing well, but it sounds as though she is in a very loving care
John was very special and I have happy memories of going to your home in Slingerlands for the
annual family Christmas party. He was always so upbeat and welcoming. It was a joy to be in
your home. This was in the 80's and we would all be in the Great Room with the lovely fireplace.
I have not seen you since Tom Bell's memorial service in 2013, but I think of you often and wonder
how you all are doing. Sounds like it has been a tough time, but you all supported your Dad in his
wishes and he now is at peace.
We send our love and sympathy and will keep you and your Mom in our thoughts.
With love, Pat Wilkinson Brown and Alvin Brown