Posted: Aug 20, 2013 1:10 PM by KBZK News
The long goodbye came to a close for John Philip Stocksdale on August 14, 2013. He passed away in his sleep at Spring Creek Inn Memory Care Community in Bozeman where he has resided for the past 17 months.
John was born in Huntington County, Indiana on April 30, 1923 to Edith (Kriegbaum) Stocksdale and Roland Stocksdale, being the youngest of five children. He grew up a farm boy on the family dairy farm outside of Huntington and graduated from Union High in 1941. While attending Huntington College, John worked as a "soda jerk" at the "Double Dip" where he first laid eyes on Dorothy Jean Lantis. Then life was abruptly interrupted by World War II and John enlisted in the Navy. His stint in the Navy lasted from 1943-1946 and for most of that time he worked as a radar technician on the repair ship "USS Tutuila" in the Pacific Theater. After "winning the war" (as John would say) he returned to Huntington to reunite with his sweetheart, Dorothy. They were married on June 22, 1947, and blessed with 66 celebrated years of marriage. Together they raised three children.
Our dapper businessman's career began in 1946 as a shipping clerk at a Fort Wayne, IN warehouse for Southern Automatic Music Co., an Indianapolis-based amusement machine distributor. After advancing in stages to warehouse manager and sales rep., he moved to the Indianapolis branch of Shaffer Music Co., (jukebox distributors) eventually managing the Cincinnati office. By the mid 1950's John and another Shaffer associate bought the Indianapolis branch and formed their own amusement and vending equipment distribution and route operation known as J&J Distributors.
John and Dorothy fell in love with Bozeman while vacationing out West in 1970. One drive down Gallatin Canyon was all it took. John was then determined to make a life for himself and his family in the area and began investigating business opportunities. He acquired D&R Music, an amusement machine operation serving many restaurants and resorts. In 1982, John's son-in law, Scott, joined the business. The company has since grown and "morphed" into a state-wide coffee distributorship thanks to John's foresight and vision. John dearly loved his involvement in the business. He didn't retire until 2006 at age of 83 and was able to partake in his retirement party honoring his 60 years in business.
John was always strongly committed to supporting the community throughout the years including MSU Bobcat Athletics, United Way, Museum of the Rockies, Big Brothers and Sisters, just to list a few. He was also involved with many state-wide and national trade associations. One of his greatest honors was being elected to the Board of Directors of the Amusement and Music Operators Association (AMOA), an international association for the coin-operated music and games industry with headquarters in Chicago. The AMOA afforded John and Dorothy with the opportunity to experience world-wide travels.
Away from work, John enjoyed anything surrounding Bobcat athletics and was an avid supporter and fan. He and Dorothy had many fun times traveling with dear friends to various Bobcat games. Another passion of John's was refinishing antique furniture. He and Dorothy loved antique hunting, especially during treks back to Indiana. He could be found in his workshop meticulously taking apart a piece of furniture, then refurbishing and refinishing it into a thing of beauty. Some of his most treasured days were spent at Hebgen Lake. How he loved to fish, waterski, work in the yard, and tinker in the shop. John was always in motion until it came time to sit on the porch, look out over the water, and witness the sunset beside Dorothy.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Bill, Bob, and Jere, his sister Virginia Klink, and his grandson David. John is survived by his wife, Dorothy; son John Jr. (Karen) of Santa Rosa, CA and grandchildren Logan, Lauren, and Chuck; son Chuck (Toni) of Indianapolis and grandchildren Samantha, Kelly, and Megan; daughter Teresa LeProwse (Scott) of Bozeman.
How we will miss our beloved husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, friend, and mentor. Here's to you "retired coffee guy", all around great guy, and entrepreneur extraordinaire! May you look back with pride knowing your work here is done.
The family would like to thank the staff at Spring Creek Inn and Hospice of Southwest Montana for their loving care of John. We consider many of you angels. Our deepest appreciation also goes out to Dr. Michael Herring and Dr. Kathryn Borgenicht.
Should you desire, memorials in John's name can be made to the Alzheimer's Association; 3010 11th Ave. North; Billings, MT 59101 or to Bozeman Deaconess Foundation, 931 Highland Blvd., Suite 3200, Bozeman, MT 59715 (please indicate "Hospice of Southwest Montana" in the memo line).
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. Cremation has taken place. A private family graveside service will be held at a later date.