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Published: Monday, 10/20/2003

Plumber in Sandusky coached youth sports

SANDUSKY - James Stookey, 46, owner of Gilbert Plumbing and an assistant wrestling coach at St. Mary's Central Catholic High School for four years, died Thursday while out walking in Sandusky. The family didn't know the cause of death.

Mr. Stookey coached his children in wrestling and softball. St. Mary's wrestling team was state champion several times while he was an assistant coach, Athletic Director Dennis Faber said.

Mr. Stookey's brother, John, also stressed his love of sports.

“He enjoyed giving of himself to the kids around him,” Mr. Stookey said.

Born in Sandusky, he graduated from St. Mary's Central Catholic High School and studied to become a master plumber. He started work at Gilbert Plumbing in Sandusky about 20 years ago. He helped the business grow and bought the plumbing division three months ago. He also served on the city's plumbing board.

Outside work, he had a passion for wrestling at St. Mary's. He saw his son through the program for 14 years, starting when his son was 4. He also coached and umpired baseball for the Eagles Atom League and St. Mary's Elementary School traveling baseball team for three years and coached his daughter's Girl Scout softball league.

Besides team sports, he enjoyed camping, fishing, and spending time with his family. He volunteered his time as a member of the Sandusky Eagles Aerie 444, the Knights of Columbus, and Central Catholic Athletic Boosters. He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, where he was an usher.

Surviving are his wife, Pam; son, Matt; daughter, Lori Stookey; father, James R.; mother, Jean; brother, John; sisters, Janet Saylor and Julie Baker, and one grandson.

Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. today at the Groff Funeral Home, followed by a Mass at 10 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church. The family suggests tributes to the church, the Central Catholic Athletic Boosters, St. Mary's Central Catholic High School, or the donor's favorite charity.

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