William Lee Stokes, after many years of illness, died at the age of 79, on December 12, 1994 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mr. Stokes, the son of William P. Stokes and Grace Cox Stokes, was born on March 27, 1915 in the coal-mining camp of Hiawatha in Carbon County Utah. He was married to Betty Curtis Stokes in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on September 7, 1939.Among his many achievements he received a Bachelor of Science from Brigham Young University in 1937 and a Master of Science from the same institution in 1938. He went on to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Geology from Princeton University in 1941, where he was also a Research Assistant from 1941 to 1942. His Doctoral Dissertation was an in-depth study of the Morrison Formation which contains a large proportion of the United States domestic supply of uranium and vanadium, two mineral commodities that were of major importance to the U.S. during the second World War.
Dr. Stokes worked for the United States Geological Survey from 1942 to 1947. Some of his awards and honors include Director of the National Science Foundations, the Director of the Institution for Secondary School Teachers, Director of the University of Utah Earth Science Museum, Director of the U of U Cooperative Dinosaur Project, The International Field Institute in the Paris Basin, listed in Who's Who in the West and Who's Who in America. He taught Geology at the University of Utah for 32 years and was head of the Geology Department for 13 years. Membership in professional associations include Sigma Xi; Phi Kappa Phi; American Association for the Advancement of Science; Geological Society of America; American Association of Petroleum Geologists; The Explorer Club; Utah Geological Society; Utah Academy of Science, Arts and Letter and numerous other Affiliations.
Dr. Stokes has written over 100 technical and professional papers and authored a widely used text book of geology titled Essentials of Earth History as well as co-authored another comprehensive text book, Introduction to Geology. He is the author of Geology of Utah, published by the Utah Geological and Mineral Survey. He always enjoyed educating others and as a result published several tourist texts concerning the natural land forms found on the Colorado Plateau and an educational booklet about the Great Salt Lake as well as booklets concerning ancient Native American pictographs and petroglyphs. He was a member of the LDS Church and served as a teacher within his church and as a member of the High Priests quorum of the Federal Heights Ward. In retirement he concentrated on the reconciliation of the differences between scientific philosophy and religious theology which resulted in publication of Scriptures for the Age of Science; Evolution? The Scriptures Say Yes; The Creation Scriptures; The Genesis Answer and other publications on the same subject. Most recently he was the recipient of the "1994 Governor's Metal for Science and Technology Award" and honored as "the father of Utah Geology". The Museum of the San Rafael, in Castle Dale, Utah has honored him by dedicating their paleontology hall to his name.
He is survived by his loving wife, Betty C. Stokes, who was his constant companion and confidant through 55 years of marriage, his daughters, Patricia J. Stokes and Betty Lee Huff, his son, William M. Stokes, and his grandchildren, Christopher Huff, Matthew Huff, Paul Huff and Jason B. Griffith. He is predeceased by his daughters, Mary Susan Stokes, Jennifer Joy Stokes and his granddaughter, Jennifer S. Griffith. His family will miss his gleaming mischievous eyes and his dinner time orations on the wonders of the natural world. His love for understanding and interpreting the natural forces which shaped this earth will survive for generations to come through his writing and teaching. We can all hope and pray that he is now whole of body, with the warm sun on his back, his rock pick in hand, studying the rock formations of the great unknown.
The Department of Geology at the University of Utah has established a scholarship fund in the name of Dr. Stokes. This scholarship fund will assist students to continue with their studies in the earth sciences. Donations can be made to: William Lee Stokes Memorial Fund, Department of Geology, University of Utah, 717 Browning Building, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112.
Funeral services will be held Friday, December 16, 1994, 12 noon, 27th East Ward, 1300 Fairfax Drive. Friends may call at Larkin Mortuary, 260 East South Temple, Thursday 6:30-7:30 p.m. and Friday at the ward 10:45-11:45 a.m. prior to services. Interment, Salt Lake City Cemetery.
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