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William Stokes

Obituary of William H. Stokes

William Henry Stokes, affectionately known as “Big Man”, “Pops” and “Bill” quietly and peacefully responded to the master’s call to “come home and live in eternal peace” on February 24, 2022. William was born on August 26, 1947, in St. Louis, Missouri; William was the oldest of six children born to the late Alberta Stokes. William was raised by his mother and grandmother in a Christian home where church values and a strong belief in service were taught. William and his siblings attended Union Memorial Methodist Church, where he enjoyed Sunday School and singing in the choir. William was educated in the St. Louis Public School System; he attended Benton Elementary School and graduated in 1966 from Sumner High School. Afterwards, William attended St. Louis Baptist Junior College for two years, and then he later graduated from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas in May of 1971. This is where he met and eventually married his wife of 51 years, Burma. William was well known as an outstanding athlete. His strength, speed and agility made him a natural tennis and basketball player. Under the guidance of Richard Hudlin, Arthur Ashes’ tennis coach, William honed his tennis skills; however, he found his niche in basketball. He led the Sumner High School basketball team to the Regional Basketball Tournament twice during his high school years, under the tutelage of Coach John Algee. He also led his junior college team to the Region 16 Tourney and the National Junior College Tournament. His university basketball career was equally impressive and noteworthy. William was tracked throughout his college basketball career by the Atlanta Hawks, and he was offered an opportunity to try out as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers, his favorite basketball team. William’s first job after college was with the RCA Youth Development Center in Cornwell Heights, Pa. Here, he was hired as a teacher and assistant coach working with adjudicated youth. William used his servant skills to motivate, mentor and educate young minds in need of a challenge and a second chance to grow. After the closure of the RCA Center, William found employment with the Archdiocese of Camden as an 8th grade math and science teacher at the Sacred Heart School. He loved mentoring urban youth and worked hard to not only improve their academic skills but their future economic prospects. He took great pride in the school’s progress and each child’s academic achievements. He retired from the Sacred Heart School in June 2012. William enjoyed serving others, but he was not an individual who gravitated to large groups. His friendship with a mason led him to join Oriental Lodge #1, F.& A.M., PHA in 1986 where he demonstrated many leadership qualities, throughout his thirty-six years, within the Prince Hall Masonic Organizations. William became the Most Worshipful Master of Oriental Lodge #1, and he was appointed as District Deputy Grand Master for the 1st Masonic District for the State of New Jersey, he was a member of DeHugo Consistory #2 where he received his 32nd Degree. He joined Jeptha Chapter #14 Holy Royal Arch Masons, received his 7th Degree and served as the Excellent High Priest. He was a member of Zamora Temple# 73 where he served as Illustrious Potentate and was appointed as Ambassador at Large. He also served as the Worthy Patron for Integrity Chapter #31 of The Order of the Eastern Stars. Regardless of the various titles and positions he held; William would always say "Let my work speak for me." William was devoted to his family. He doted over his daughter and his grandchildren. While he called his grandsons by numerous loving nicknames, he referred to his daughter and granddaughter as “the Princess” and his wife as “the general”. “Big Man”, as William was referred to by his grandchildren, was very proud of their academic and athletic accomplishments. He enjoyed recounting old stories of his daughter’s childhood antics and treasured his frequent telephone calls with his grandchildren and family in St. Louis. William was a diehard Cowboys fan. He enjoyed bantering with his family members and friends who were fans of other teams in the NFC East. William collected Cowboys paraphernalia. He always had something with the Cowboys logo in his possession at all times. William was predeceased by his mother, Alberta; his brother, Donnell and his sister, Lisa. He leaves to cherish his memory: his wife, Burma Paige-Stokes of Marlton; daughter Dr. Keisha S. Edwards (Regan) of Edison, NJ; grandsons, Asaiah Jacob Edwards of Washington, DC and Ethan Michael Edwards of Edison, NJ; granddaughter, Cameryn Paige Edwards of Edison, NJ; brothers Albert Stokes (Renee) and Melvin Stokes of St. Louis, MO; sister, Lonna Stokes of St. Louis, MO; an aunt, two nieces, eight nephews and a host of great nieces, great nephews and cousins, including Masonic brothers of Oriental Lodge #1, brothers of Zamora Temple #73; Daughters of the Eastern Stars, Integrity Chapter #31, Daughters of Zamora Temple #73 and two very special Masonic brothers, Kenneth McIntosh and Steven Pugh.
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Saturday
5
February

Funeral

11:00 am
Saturday, February 5, 2022
May Funeral Home - Sicklerville
335 Sicklervile Road
Sicklerville, New Jersey, United States
856-335-1461
Saturday
5
March

Viewing

9:00 am - 11:00 am
Saturday, March 5, 2022
May Funeral Home - Sicklerville
335 Sicklervile Road
Sicklerville, New Jersey, United States
856-335-1461
Saturday
5
March

Burial

1:00 pm
Saturday, March 5, 2022
Lakeview Memorial Park
Rt. 130 N
Cinnaminson, New Jersey, United States
856-662-8570