JAMES LANCE (JIM) STOKOE
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WEAVERVILLE - James Lance (Jim) Stokoe, 66, of Weaverville, Oct. 11, 1946 - Dec. 11, 2012. Jim graced the Earth and those who knew him, even in his illness and dying. His journey with aggressive brain cancer lasted 14 months, yet there was a magnetic spirit about him the whole time. He lifted off softly, with amazing gentleness and peace, in Care Partners Solace Center, tended by his wife and son.
Jim was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, the only child of Veta and George Stokoe. He graduated from Michigan State University and then served in NOAA and around the country in work that related to his geology degree.
He moved to Asheville in 1978 and began a varied, distinguished 30-year career at Land-of-Sky Regional Council. His work included environmental projects like the River Access System, water quality, Green Infrastructure and so much more. He also served as Assistant Director and Director of the Local Government Services Section, where his staff flourished under his guidance. A practical visionary, Jim was passionate about preserving and protecting the natural resources on which we all depend, especially in these mountains that he loved so much.
Before retiring from Land-of-Sky, Jim embarked on his MLA degree at UNC-Asheville, where he focused on climate science. He was in the midst of heavy coursework when he became ill.
Jim is survived by his wife of 23 years, Linda McLean; his son, Daniel Stokoe, daughter-in-law, Sherry and granddaughters, Kayla and Kira; two dogs and three cats; and many friends. He will be deeply missed.
Jim spent as much time as he could out in these mountains: hiking, exploring and scouting for mushrooms, blueberries and new trails. Time alone in the mountains fed his soul. Jim also loved animals (especially dogs), gardening, his men's group and other friends, trips to the Pacific NW with Linda, singing and playing piano, and growing spiritually.
Jim was bright, wise, strong and compassionate. He was a synthesizer, pulling from many sources to find new ways to look at things. Had he lived longer, Jim may have come up with an idea that could change the world. In the way he lived his life, especially this last amazing year, he may have done more than that. He has shown us how to live - and die - fully, with kindness and love, embracing it all.
A celebration of Jim's life will be held on Saturday, December 15 at 2 p.m. at Jubilee! Community in downtown Asheville. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Linda's non-profit Little Pearls; to Jubilee! Community; to Care Partners Solace Center; or to any animal welfare or environmental organization you love.
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Dec. 13, 2012