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James C. Stokes Jr. Veteran
December 22, 2021


Stokes, James C. (Christopher) Jr., 77, of Wellesley, passed away from Alzheimer’s on December 22, 2021. He was born to the late James and Margaret Stokes, March 19,1944, in Orange, New Jersey. He graduated from St. Peter’s Preparatory School in Jersey City in 1962 and, on a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship, College of the Holy Cross in 1966 with a B.A. in Psychology. While at Holy Cross he spent two summers training at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia and then was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in June 1966. After completing The Basic School, he was assigned to flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in Corpus Christi, TX in April 1968. Five months later he married his beloved wife, Eileen B. Stokes, by whom he is predeceased, in September 1968. They honeymooned by driving cross country in Eileen’s bright blue mustang from Worcester, MA to MCAS El Toro in Southern California, where Jim was stationed. He was deployed to Vietnam in early 1969 as a member of the Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 232, also known as the Red Devils, where he flew the F-4J Phantom which, at the time, was the fastest jet around. While flying one of hundreds of missions in Vietnam he was shot down behind enemy lines and after “some excitement”, as he described it, he was pulled out by helicopter. In addition to being a fighter pilot, he served on the ground as a Forward Air Controller with Vietnamese and Australian forces. When his tour in Vietnam was complete he was stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, where, fortunately, Eileen was able to join him. They lived there for 6 months before being stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii where he qualified to be an F-4 flight instructor. After achieving the rank of Major and earning numerous awards and commendations, he was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1972. Jim continued to fly in the reserves with VMA 322 as he earned his law degree in 1975 from Boston College. Jim and Eileen enjoyed a return to Hawaii where he joined the firm of Carlsmith, Carlsmith, Wickman & Case of Honolulu, and during which he also served in the reserves as the executive officer of the 4th Force Reconnaissance Company. Due to his father’s ill health, they returned to Boston and Jim joined the law firm of Bingham, Dana & Gould and flew again with VMA 322. In 1980 their travels continued to London, England as he became the Managing Partner at the firm’s office there. After five years, and numerous family trips around Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the family returned to Wellesley, MA and Jim resumed work at Bingham’s Boston office where he was a respected colleague and cherished mentor to many as he worked on cross border M&A and capital market matters until his retirement in 2014. In his many years as a resident of Wellesley, he was dutifully and happily involved in the community and the parish of St. John the Evangelist, while simultaneously serving on several boards. At various times, Jim was President of the British American Business Council of New England, President of The Wellesley Club, Chairman of the Board of the U.S.S. Constitution Museum, Chairman of the Personnel Board of the Town of Wellesley and Town Moderator. Jim was a caring and loving father and is survived by three children: Erin S. Majernik and her husband Craig, of Wellesley; Michael C. Stokes and his wife Kim, of Wellesley; and Courtney D. S. Willett and her husband Dave, of Needham. He was a devoted and blissful grandfather, or Baku, and is lovingly remembered by Emma, Madie, Sophie, Tyler, Colin, Parker, Charlotte and Wesley. He is also survived by his brother, Tom Stokes and wife Kathie of Chicago, IL and by several wonderful nieces and nephews. Jim was a voracious reader of newspapers and gigantic books, often non-fiction, and, to him, his wonderful wife of 52 years and his family always came first. He thrived as a grandfather and exuded pure joy while reading to them, carrying them on his shoulders, sledding with them or playing in the water with them during his treasured Nantucket vacations. Ultimately, he was a kind, decent and charitable man who endured much and yet also leaves an impressive and enduring legacy. Visitation will be held on Monday, December 27 from 4-7pm at George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington St. Wellesley and the funeral Mass will take place on Tuesday, December 28 at 12pm at St. John the Evangelist in Wellesley. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in support of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.

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George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Homes
477 Washington Street
Wellesley, MA 02482