Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Jack Stocker

A friend of mine by the name of Jack Stocker has died. He passed away this morning after having a massive stroke on Monday. He was 85, and long retired from teaching chemistry at the University of New Orleans.

Jack was not the kind of friend I saw every week, or even every year, but he was far more than an acquaintance. I met him at an SF/Fantasy con and that’s usually where I saw him. He often had a used book table at the local cons and would sit on a panel or two. I was on a few panels with him, and bought a lot of books from him. In the early days I got about half my Burroughs and Howard collection from him. Many of those were outright gifts. Jack loved to share with others his passion for good reads.

Jack also sold my books for me at the cons where we both were guests, and I often helped him pack up his books after the festivities were over. That stopped after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, because Jack lost his house and every one of his 20,000 plus volumes to the storm. Another man than Jack might have despaired after that, but Jack didn't let it beat him down. Although I know it hurt him.

Jack was instrumental in helping get me invited as a guest to my first con. He was a fan’s fan. Even in his 80s he was as eager as a little kid to talk about books, and his knowledge of SF/Fantasy was encyclopedic. I had many fun discussions with him over the year, and though I didn’t always agree with him there’s no one whose opinion on SF/Fantasy that I respect more.

Jack, you are missed, my friend.
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39 comments:

Demon Hunter said...

Charles,
I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. You have my condolences.

Steve Malley said...

A beautiful eulogy. Sorry for your loss...

Cloudia said...

Charles: Condolences.
That was a well written memorial to your friend and I'm sure we all feel privleged to share this time with you. Be well-

Aloha-

Comfort Spiral

Heff said...

My condolences.

jodi said...

charles, these special people who touch our lives are little jewel. You were lucky to have known. Readin' in heaven, he is...

Michelle's Spell said...

Charles,

So sorry to hear about your friend. What's the Charlotte Webb quote -- a good friend who is also a good writer is hard to find. He sounds like one of a kind.

David Cranmer said...

He sounded like a great guy. Condolences, my friend.

Chris Eldin said...

I'm sorry, Charles. He sounds like an incredible man. You were lucky to have him as a friend and mentor (though you didn't use this word, I hope it's okay if I do.)

Greg Schwartz said...

i'm sorry for your loss. he sounds like a great guy.

laughingwolf said...

sorry for your loss, charles :(

my best friend's mom was taken off life support today, so i'm feeling akin to your own pain...

Sidney said...

Sorry to hear that. May he rest peacefully. Maybe there's an after life where he'll find his library restored.

Travis Erwin said...

Nice tribute. I too lost a friends and coworker this week.

Rick said...

Sorry to hear about your loss, Charles. Have you ever noticed that friends of writers sometimes end up in their work as a tribute after those friends have passed on?

Charles Gramlich said...

Thanks everyone. Much appreciated. He was a great guy.

jennifer said...

Charles I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. Your tribute to him was wonderful.

Scott said...

Charles,

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I wish I could have met him.

JR's Thumbprints said...

What a wonderful tribute. You have my condolences.

Erik Donald France said...

Sorry to read that, man, though quite a touching tribute. It's never easy losing someone, no matter age or circumstance.

the walking man said...

Here's to Jack...May his neurons travel the universe.

Randy Johnson said...

Condolences. I can sympathize. I had a friend like that years ago.

Merisi said...

Charles,
I am so sorry for your loss!
Good friends come in all shades and losing one of them leaves a void forever. I trust you can fill yours with memories of a life well lived and a friendship cherished.

-

O/T
I came over here to share this link with you: Nicholas D. Kristof has published in the New York Times a list of what are in his opinion the "Best Kids’ Books Ever" - some I have read, some not.

BernardL said...

From your description he was a man who could be counted on.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Everyone needs a friend like Jack. And I'm sure he valued your friendship greatly.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Pity. My condolences. Sounds like he was a great conversationalist on the subject of Scifi & Fantasy (and plenty else I would imagine.)

Ello said...

Charles - I'm sorry for your loss. It was a wonderful tribute to your friend.

X. Dell said...

It's sad to hear of someone's passing. It's especially sad to hear it happening to this kind of person. On the one hand, I'm happy you got to know him. On the other hand, I'm sure you miss him already. I can only offer condolences and best wishes to you, Jack and his family.

Charles Gramlich said...

Again, thanks to everyone for their kind comments. Jack deserved all the kudos.

Wil said...

Sounds like a hell of a guy. 85 is a pretty damn good life. What a ride. Rest in peace!

Wil Harrison.com

Lauren said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. He sounds like a really awesome person.

Barbara Martin said...

Very nice tribute to a friend, Charles. My condolences on your loss.

Natasha Fondren said...

What I wouldn't give for an encyclopedic knowledge in any genre! That is way cool. He sounds awesome.

I hope he gets to read all the time, now.

ivan said...

You meet people like that in your field. You don't fully realize they are so much older than you. And then they are gone. Sorry.

Charles Gramlich said...

Yes, and he packed a lot into those 85 years. He was always on the go. but he enjoyed life and people.

Travis said...

I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend.

Angie said...

That sounds like a great loss to Louisiana fandom. :( Much sympathy.

Angie

Mary Witzl said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend, and what a great guy he sounds like. There may be no such thing as a good death, but my father also died of a massive stroke. At his funeral, many of his friends shook their heads and said that Bob was sure a lucky guy - that they were envious. Cold comfort, but the older I get, the more I suspect there is something in this.

There is a man in this town who reminds me of Jack. He's at least 80, has read every decent book in our small town library and comes to every charity coffee morning, hoping to find a couple of decent reads. I can talk about books with him for hours on end, and I'm always amazed and impressed by his depth of understanding and appreciation of books.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis, Angie, Mary, thanks. yes, it's a joy to find someone who can converse in depth about books. I know that when my time comes I'd rather go quickly than linger.

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Anonymous said...

I was fortunate enough to take organic chemistry it from Dr. stocker at the University of New Orleans. to put it mildly, he was a character. he was fun to be around both as a professor, and as one of the guys at our frequent Friday afternoon beer sessions on the lakefront.he had this habit of standing at the urinal (which was a trough type of arrangement), and dropping trousers and underwear down to his ankles while he relieved himself. This was further complicated by the fact that, well, uh, Jack was well endowed. It looked like he had a hose in his hands. More than once I have seen Jack imbibe a little too much at a party, and fall over backwards in a chair on the floor with his beret still on his head. Rest in peace, Jack.