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Published: Sunday, 6/20/2004

Sandusky honored youth baseball chief for service to league

SANDUSKY - James R. Stookey, 68, whose long affiliation with a youth baseball league earned him local acclaim, died Thursday in the Cleveland Clinic of complications from pneumonia.

Mr. Stookey was a director for 34 years of the Eagles Atom Baseball League, sponsored by Sandusky Eagles Aerie 444, of which he was a member. Earlier, he coached for six years, when his sons were young and played. He was still involved when it was his grandchildren's turn to play.

The city named property on Bardshar Road as Stookey Field in his honor. The Eagles named him Father of the Year in 1996. The Erie County Chamber of Commerce in 1998 gave him its Youth Service Award. The city of Sandusky even made Sept. 12, 2002, "James Stookey Day," and presented him a proclamation for his work with youth.

"He was very honored and grateful for the recognition," his son, John, said. "He would be one to tell you that he wanted to share [the honors] with the people around him, rather than draw attention to himself."

Mr. Stookey was a counterman for many years for Famous Supply Co., a wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating, cooling, and construction supplies. He retired in 1992.

"He was keen on taking care of the customer," his son said. "We got many calls in the evening by people who needed things, and he was good about going out and getting it. He knew many people in the industry, and he knew a lot about the business."

In retirement, Mr. Stookey worked part time at the plumbing business owned by his son James Gilbert. James died Oct. 16, 2003.

Mr. Stookey was a graduate of Sandusky High School. He and his wife, Jean, camped for many years at Clare-Mar Lakes Campground near Wellington, Ohio.

Surviving are his wife, Jean, whom he married July 21, 1956; son, John Stookey; daughters, Janet Saylor and Julie Baker; sisters, Rita Singer and Sandra Matter; 11 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Groff Funeral Home, Sandusky, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in St. Mary Church, Sandusky, of which he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to the church or to the Eagles Atom Baseball League.

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