Robert Stanley Stokes, 88, of Ashland passed away, Friday evening, July 5, 2019 in his home.
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He was born on June 8, 1931 in Frazeysburg, OH to the late Ivan and Eva (nee Smith) Stokes. After graduating from Frazeysburg High School, Bob attended Muskingum College where he earned his undergraduate degree and Kent State University where he earned his Master’s Degree. He was an All-American football player while attending Muskingum and was then drafted into the NFL by the Chicago Cardinals. He coached at both Summerfield and Greentown High Schools.
Bob served as the head basketball coach and head football coach at Muskingum (College) University. He also acted as the head basketball coach, assistant football coach and athletic director at Ashland (College) University, where he founded and was director of the Sports Science Department. Both Muskingum College and Ashland University inducted Bob into their Sports Halls of Fame. In addition, Bob was inducted into the Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame
As a member of the professional sports organization OHPERD, he served as state treasurer and trustee of the board. The organization honored him with a meritorious and life membership award. He also ran the Northwest District Basketball Tournaments for more than 25 years.
Bob was a devoted member of the First Presbyterian Church where he served on the Board of Deacons. He is fondly remembered by the fellow members of his church as well as all people who knew him, as the “Hugger” because he greeted everyone warmly with a smile and hug.
Family was so important to Bob and he loved and supported them throughout his life. They remember how his face lit up whenever he was around his family. Along with his children, he shared a home in Chautauqua, NY for decades where many fond memories were created.
On June 19, 1954 he married the former Joyce Cosby with whom he celebrated his 65th wedding anniversary last month. He is survived by Joyce and his children Steve Stokes of Perrysville, Debbie (Dan) McNaull of Ashland and Chris Stokes of Wooster. In addition, he is survived by his grandchildren and great grandchildren Christy (Scott) Conrath, Kelly (Dale) Swearingen, Grant Stokes, Mollie Stokes, Olivia Stokes, Luke Stokes, Owen Conrath and Clara Conrath. Bob is also survived by his beloved sister Joanne Bumpus, brother Don Stokes; a sister-in-law, Audrey Stokes; brother and sister-in-law, Virgil and Inge Cosby; as well as many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, Bob was preceded in death by sisters Kay Frazier, Janice Riley, Jean Oravis, Betty Leas, and brothers Jack Stokes and Ivan Stokes Jr.
Bob received Hospice care at his home from Pathways Hospice. His family is incredibly grateful for their loving care of him during the final four months of his life.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 11 a.m. in the First Presbyterian Church, 320 Church Street, Ashland, OH 44805 with Reverend Mike Parker officiating. Friends may call, Friday, July 12, 2019 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and also 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church. Handicap accessible parking will be available on Church Street and access to the church will be available through the office doors.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Robert and Joyce Stokes Family Scholarship Fund c/o Ashland County Community Foundation, 300 College Avenue Ashland, Ohio 44805, Robert and Joyce Stokes Fund for First Presbyterian Church c/o Ashland County Community Foundation, 300 College Avenue Ashland, Ohio 44805, Pathways Hospice, 1171 East Main Street, Ashland, Ohio 44805.
Online condolences may be shared on the funeral home’s website at denbowfh.com.
Denbow-Gasche Funeral Home & Crematory is handling the arrangements.