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William Alvis Stokes

Posted By Hall-Wynne On November 23, 2016 @ 10:30 am In Durham,Obituaries | 6 Comments

William Alvis Stokes (Bill) died peacefully on November 20, 2016 at Croasdaile Pavilion at the age of 88. He was born in Durham NC on April 7, 1928 to Thomas Angier Stokes and Sadye Perkinson Stokes. Survivors include his son, William A. “Bill” Stokes, Jr (Lucy) of Durham, NC; daughter, Mary “Mollie” Stokes Platt (James) of Durham; and his grandchildren, William A. Stokes, III of Greensboro, NC, Emily Erwin Stokes of Asheville, NC, and Michael William Maready of St. Louis Missouri. His wife Constance “Connie” Stokes who died on August 14, 2016 and his brother Thomas Angier Stokes, Jr precede him in death.
Bill spent most of his life in Durham. In 1953 he graduated from Duke University with a BSCE. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps and served 2 years in active duty. He continued service for 21 more years in the USMC Reserve, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He began his construction career in 1955, first working for J.A. Jones and then Carolina Steel moving from Charlotte NC, to Morgantown WV, and to Greensboro NC. In 1968 he returned home to Durham and began work at George W. Kane Inc where he rose to serve as its President and owner. Two of the many Durham landmarks he took pride in building are Northgate Mall and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Other prominent Durham construction projects under his leadership include Brightleaf Square, Treyburn Country Club, and the R. David Thomas Center at Duke.
Bill was the leader of almost every group he joined, including service as President of the Class of 1946 at Durham High School, President of The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, President of The Friends of Duke Chapel, the President of the Duke Engineering Alumni Council, Commodore of the Orleans Yacht Club, and Commandant of the Cape & Islands Detachment of the Marine Corps League. He was also proud of his service on the boards of Home Savings & Loan, Hope Valley Country Club, and Treyburn Country Club. He was a Rotarian for over 40 years and is still remembered for his gift of gab, serving as an impromptu program speaker once when the scheduled speaker failed to appear.
As a Duke Alumnus, he admired Duke so dearly that he continued to give back to the university throughout his life donating time and services to various projects on campus. He was very honored in 1987 to receive the School of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award for his numerous achievements and contributions. He once said “I feel that I can walk into the office of any President and be right at home.” Bill always attributed his success and confidence to his education at Duke University, where he believed he gleaned much more than analytical thinking, he learned life skills as that served him well throughout his distinguished career and retirement years.
Bill married Connie in 1955 and they enjoyed a lifetime of happiness. They were married over 61 years until Connie passed away in August. As Lifetime Iron Duke members, they loved attending Duke football and basketball games as well as attending church services at Duke Chapel. They enjoyed vacationing each summer at Connie’s family home on Cape Cod in Orleans, MA. They retired there in 1995 and enjoyed many years in their beloved home, “Westwinds” on the Town Cove. Bill got a kick out of people saying he talked “funny” when they could not understand his southern drawl.
Bill never stopped working even after “retirement.” He worked tirelessly in fund raising to bring the Marine Corps Silent Drill Team to perform each July 4th for the Orleans Cardinals. He enjoyed leading the Marine Corps League Detachment when it marched in local holiday parades. Never, ever one to be idle, he enjoyed working for years at Lanterns of Cape Cod where he made (and sold) a variety of brass lanterns. He also enjoyed many years working as a ranger at The Captains Golf Course in Brewster, MA.
Bill and his wife Connie moved back to Durham in 2014 to be near family so they could have their support in their elder years. They rejoined Westminster Presbyterian Church this year (having originally joined in 1968).
A memorial service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Durham, NC on December 20, 2016 at 2:00pm with the Reverend Chris Tuttle officiating. An inurnment will take place in Orleans Cemetery in Orleans, MA at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3639 Chapel Hill Road, Durham NC 27707.

Condolences for the family of “William Alvis Stokes”

Condolence from Sandy Cather on November 23rd, 2016 3:37 pm

Molly & Family, what a beautiful tribute to your dad! He sounds like an incredible individual who never met a stranger and became their instant friend. You have that same quality which is why you are loved so much and by so many people across this great country. Many hugs and prayers are sent to you and your wonderful husband and son.

Love, Sandy

Condolence from Diane Whitfield on November 23rd, 2016 10:20 pm

So sorry for your loss. Praying for you and your family.

Condolence from Bill Jr on December 8th, 2016 9:45 pm

thank you Shihan!

Condolence from Cathy Maready on November 27th, 2016 8:48 pm

An amazing man. So sorry for your loss Mollie. I know you two were so close. Sending you love, love, love.

Condolence from Earl Dowell on November 28th, 2016 9:18 am

Dear Bill,

With deepest sympathy on the passing of your father after the recent loss of your mother.

Bill and Connie Stokes were special people in so many ways including their support for Duke University and the Pratt School of Engineering.


Condolence from Bill Jr on December 8th, 2016 9:45 pm

thanks Earl

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