December 25, 2020, 81, Goldsboro
John David Stokes, 81, of Goldsboro, went to his heavenly home on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020 at UNC Rex Healthcare in Raleigh. John was born August 2, 1939 in Bethel, North Carolina to John Henry and Lillie Highsmith Stokes. He was the third child of ten children.
After graduating from Bethel Union High School, John attended North Carolina College of Durham (now North Carolina Central University) where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education. He continued his education at Western Carolina University and obtained a Master of Arts degree in Education along with his administrator certification from East Carolina University. John was a lifelong learner and a staunch believer that “knowledge is power”. Looking for a home beyond Bethel, he settled on Shallotte, NC for his first teaching job and eventually Goldsboro as one of the first African American teachers at Edgewood School. Throughout his years of service to primary and secondary education, he completed numerous training to expand his skills as a teacher and school administrator for the State of North Carolina.
Never one to shy from work or an opportunity, John opened several businesses and worked many years at Wayne Community College, preparing adults to earn their GED. In the latter years of his career, he was an Educational Consultant for the NC Department of Public Instruction after which he retired with 32 years of service. After retirement, he continued to advocate for and support children whose needs could not be met in the traditional schools. This led to his collaboration with his friend Hilda Hicks Ruffin in forming the Dillard Academy Charter School. He supported Dillard Academy by writing grants, consulting with and training staff and cheering on the children. He even served as its Principal as needed. Up until his death, he remained as the Chairman of their Board of Directors.
If there was one word to describe John, it was “committed”. He was committed to God, his family, the community, his church, and his fraternity. John’s sense of community was developed during his early years in Goldsboro. He sought to improve the lives of his family and community by ensuring that the voices of African Americans and the underserved were heard and considered. Along with being a lifetime member of his beloved Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, he was appointed to numerous commissions and advisory boards and served as a boy scout leader for over 15 years.
He found his spiritual home with First African Baptist Church shortly after arriving in Goldsboro. His service to his church included chairperson of the Trustee Board, chairperson of the Finance Committee, chairperson of the Board of Christian Education, the Laymen’s League and Men’s Chorus, the Homecoming Planning Committee, and chairperson of the Deacon Board.
To cherish his memories and continue his legacy, John is survived by his wife G. Patricia of 57 years, his daughter Annetta Stokes Streater of Chapel Hill; his son John Trevor Stokes (Angela) of Huntersville NC; five sisters – Mary Glover of Brooklyn NY, Ernestine Grimes of New Haven CT, Eula Jackson of Brooklyn NY, Pearline Stokes of Brooklyn NY, Peggy Bryant of Atlanta GA and Christine Stokes of Fairfax VA; three brothers – Harvey Stokes of Brooklyn NY, James Stokes and Eddie Mack Stokes of New Haven CT; four grandchildren – Eric Streater (Kenya) of Seattle WA, Adrienne Streater of Chapel Hill; Olivia Stokes and John Austin Stokes of Huntersville NC; and a host of friends and relatives. He was preceded in death by his parents and oldest daughter, Cynthia LaVeda.
There will be a public viewing on Saturday January 2, 2021 from 1-3pm at Howell Funeral Home and Crematory, 1500 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro, NC.
The fraternal final rites will also be held on Saturday January 2, 2021 at 4pm at the Howell Funeral Home and Crematory.
The family will have a private celebration of his life on Sunday January 3, 2021.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Cures for the Colors, a non-profit organization that provides much needed assistance to cancer patients in eastern North Carolina. For more information, view their website at http://www.southeasterncancercare.org/ or call 919-580-0000.