William Howard Stokes 69, died at home, north of Howard Lake, on

Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.

William Howard Stokes (Bill) was born Jan. 27, 1943, the eighth of nine

children born to Ray and Bernice (Keller) Stokes at Chatfield, Minn. He grew

up on the family farm. He graduated from Chatfield High School.

On Sept. 30, 1967, he married Shirley Bow, in Rochester, Minn. The

family moved to Howard Lake in 1977. After working at Lester's Builders,

Air Tech in Cokato, and as a carpenter, he returned to dairy farming and

later raised pigs and steers. He was a farmer at heart and enjoyed watching

the crops and seasons change.

Growing up he spent a lot of time fishing on the Mississippi River near

Wabasha, he also enjoyed hunting in the fall and winter. As a teenager he

enjoyed roller skating with family and friends, as the stories go they would

spend several nights a week going to different towns that had roller rinks

and he became quite a "show off." He received his first guitar as a

Christmas gift as a teenager and continued to "pick away" for his own

enjoyment and later for the grandkids.

He enjoyed trips to McDonalds, especially for their coffee and burgers.

He looked forward to going to Duluth each fall with his daughter and family.

He said he didn't like sports, but often watched a least part of the Viking

game. He was color blind and for no special reason he would bring home

flowers and say aren't these blue flowers pretty - they were probably pink.

He told terrible jokes. Some times he would call his kids - just because he

wanted to hear their voice, even if it was only the answering machine. He

loved desserts, especially pie, cookies, chocolate candy, and egg nog at

Christmas. He liked to ask the grandkids how their day went, what they had

for lunch, and if they had any homework. He was accepting of all and never

had an unkind word to say about anybody. He had a special place in his

heart for the nuns at Clara's Well, the people and priests at Kings House

and the guys at Sunset Ridges. During his illness he enjoyed visits from

friends and neighbors and especially quality time with his kids and

grandkids. He never complained and when asked how he was doing he'd say

"pretty good."

He is survived by his wife, Shirley, of Howard Lake; his sons, Kevin

(Kelly) and Dan, all of Howard Lake; a daughter, Teri (Kevin) Vetsch of

Cokato; grandchildren, Alexa and Colton Vetsch and MacKenzie, Braden and

Jace Stokes; two brothers, Jerry (Betty) Stokes of Rochester, and Mike

(Carol) Stokes of Chatfield.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Bernice, four

brothers, and two sisters.