John Stokel, former principal of Portsmouth Middle School, age 67, passed away Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 at Portsmouth Hospital with his wife and family members at his side. He was born in Portsmouth August 9, 1950 the son of the late Edward Stokel Sr. and the late Florence (Mayers) Stokel.
He is survived by his wife Deborah (Merrill) Stokel, a daughter Jacqualine Stokel of Washington, D.C., son John M. Stokel Jr. and wife Sayeh of Los Angeles, and son Timothy Stokel of Portsmouth. He also leaves behind a granddaughter Violet Guberman, and two grandsons Julius and Jude Stokel. Also surviving are a sister Patricia (Stokel) Roberts (husband William) of Greenland, brother Edward Stokel Jr. (wife Marie) of Rye, sister-in law Cindy Soto (husband Frank), and brother-in-law Bob Merrill. He is further survived by three sisters-in-law Barbara, Pinky, and Shirley MacDonald, one aunt Stella, one uncle Phillip, many very special nieces and nephews, and several close cousins.
In addition to his parents he was predeceased by a sister Theresa (MacDonald) Beaulier, three brothers Raymond, James and Charles MacDonald, nephew Mark Beaulier, and two brothers-in-law Robert Beaulier and Richard Merrill.
We remember John Stokel as a great man who contributed immeasurably to the community. John lived in Portsmouth his entire life and was a graduate of Saint Patrick’s School and Portsmouth High School. He earned his B.A. in mathematics from Keene State College and his Master’s Degree from UNH. He started his 40+ years in education as a teacher at Portsmouth Junior High in 1974. He became principal in 1982 and remained in that position until his retirement in 2015, recognized as a NHASP Outstanding Role Model.
His professional life was dedicated to the children of Portsmouth. His strong belief in the Middle School concept motivated him to take the lead and, along with teachers and other administrators, develop Portsmouth Middle School. His unique understanding and appreciation for adolescents was genuinely expressed daily as he greeted each student by name every morning. As a dedicated member of the Joint Building Committee, John worked tirelessly on implementing the recent renovation and expansion of PMS to the beautiful facility it is today.
Personally he was most proud of his family and took great pleasure in visiting his children, Jackie, Johnny and Timothy and taking pride in their accomplishments.
SERVICES: Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. at J. Verne Wood Funeral Home – Buckminster Chapel, 84 Broad St., Portsmouth. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 at 11 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Church, Summer Street, Portsmouth, N.H. All friends are invited.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The John M. Stokel Memorial Fund at TD Bank, 333 State Street, Portsmouth, NH, 03801. Make checks payable to: John M. Stokel Memorial Fund. For online condolences, visit: www.jvwoodfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the J. Verne Wood Funeral Home – Buckminster Chapel.