Steve Stocking passed away in November 2014, taken too early by cancer. I first met him at Sequoia National Park in the summer of ’65 or ’66. My father knew him from Franklin High School, and Ranger Stocking was my nature merit badge counselor. I thought this guy knew everything about anything alive. According to all the tributes I’ve read in the last few months, he did.
I next met Mr. Stocking in the early ‘70s when he was my biology instructor at Delta College. He was a great teacher, engaging students in fun ways. Even memorizing the (23?) steps of the Krebs cycle was fun. (Ok. I don’t remember the steps now, but I remember it was fun.)
I didn’t meet him again until two years ago, when I joined the CBTA Board. He, Sanders Lamont and I lived down the hill from the Park, and we often commuted together to Board meetings. I became a student all over again, listening to Steve explain everything about anything on our journeys up and down the hill. I shall miss his teaching.
As a Board member, Steve called himself a “curmudgeon.” He wanted to see that the right thing was done, and would be a stickler for details, especially in policy and in execution of Board motions. I hope that in time, I can be half the curmudgeon he was. Steve planned the CBTA seminars and classes, and if you attend one of them this year, you can be sure that they were planned by him before he passed away. If you want to see how organized Steve was, pick up a copy of Wildflowers of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which is available in the Visitor Center.
There are many who can tell you a lot more about Steve. Look up Alex Breitler’s fine article in the Stockton Record last year. One of Steve’s legacies can be seen in the Oak Grove Regional Park north of Stockton. According to the article, Steve was one of the original persons who fought for that park. I had not known this fact, but it does not surprise me. Steve was a strong defender of natural habitats. He shared his love for the sequoias with hundreds, if not thousands of people.
Each year now, one lucky college student will be awarded the Steve Stocking Memorial scholarship. Our Board meetings will be longer without him; he was always ready to decide to do what is right, and move on. It was said, only half in jest, that we’d never be able to adjourn a meeting without Steve.
We miss you, Steve. Meeting adjourned.
by Paul Prescott