In Memoriam: Arthur J. (Art) Stokes
Arthur (Art) J. Stokes of Hudson, Ohio, a prominent long-time member of the AAVSO, passed away on November 6, 2001, just two days after he returned home from the 90th AAVSO Annual Meeting in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Art had been a member of the AAVSO since 1962. Because of his interest and expertise in precision electronics, he pioneered the establishment of the AAVSO Photoelectric Photometry Committee and chaired it for over ten years.
He served in the AAVSO Council for several terms and was elected President for the 1981-1982 term. He was the recipient of the 29th AAVSO Merit Award in 1987 for his "long-standing and faithful membership" and for his many valuable contributions to the AAVSO. In recent years he had been very interested in the Sun and had been making valuable contributions to our Solar Division (now Solar Section) by designing and building a unique SID detector for Solar observers and by editing the AAVSO's SID Technical Bulletins.
Art's interests extended to many other areas of science as well. He was an avid ham radio operator for more than 20 years. During World War II he worked as a research chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D. C., and developed protective clothing for mustard gas. In his home town of Hudson, Ohio where he lived since 1926, he founded Reuter-Stokes Electronics Components, Inc. As a research and development Vice-President of that company he designed a radiation detector that was sent to Mars with the Mariner Mars Lander.
At the Loomis Observatory (the second oldest observatory in the U.S.) of Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, he built the tripod for the old telescope. As a member and President of the Cuyahoga and Cleveland Astronomical Societies he mentored many young astronomy enthusiasts, including our member Chris Stephan. In his home town of Hudson he served in many civic activities and was honored with the Hudson High School Hall of Fame award. He belonged to the ad-hoc club of wise people in Hudson called the "Wisdom Club" made up of retired people of the town. Every morning these wise men met at 9:30 am at the town drugstore which still had the soda fountain to discuss and find solutions to world issues and problems. Art was the Director of the Wisdom Club.
As AAVSO member Marv Baldwin wrote about Art in the online AAVSO-Discussion Group: "Art was a a part of that generation that came through the Great Depression of the '30s and carried us through the war years of the early 40s. He exemplified the ordinary people of that era who did extraordinary things with limited resources simply because they needed to be done. We'll miss Art as we continue to build upon the foundations that he established".
— Janet A. Mattei
The following messages were posted to the AAVSO Discussion in remembrance of Art:
I was sorry to read Janet's note to the discussion forum on the recent death of Art Stokes. I first met him more than 30 years ago when he visited my lab in New York to discuss the commercialization of the pressurized argon ionization chamber that we had developed for low-level environmental radiation measurement. His company subsequently did redesign and market such chambers, and they became well accepted as a standard radiation detector around the world. But once we discovered that we both were AAVSOers, astronomy and VSOing became equally important topics of our conversations. I saw him at many subsequent meetings, thoroughly enjoyed his company (especially his soft-spoken but insightful remarks on people, programs, and issues), and appreciated the many important contributions that he made to the association. It's nice that he was able to spend some of his last days among his many AAVSO friends. Yes, he will be missed. — Wayne Lowder (LX)
I am sad to hear of the passing of Art Stokes. Art is the one who I used for a reference on my AAVSO application form in 1976. When I first became an amateur astronomer, I lived about 12 miles from Hudson, Ohio. I met Art at the 1971 Ohio Turnpike Astronomers Assoc. meeting. He and George Deitrich always ran the meeting. We always had a star party at Art and Helen's home. I loved his observatory with the 16" scope.
Art was a fellow member of the Mahoning Valley Astro Soc, of which I am an honorary member. Art built our photometer unit back in the early-mid 70's. He was a great guy. I still refered to him as "Uncle Arthur". He will be missed. — Chris Stephan (SET)