Gale Stokes, age 79, died unexpectedly at home on November 4th. He lived with his wife Roberta in West University for 41 years and is survived by his wife, son John, daughter-in-law Deborah Warshaw, grand-daughters Maya and Hannah, his daughter Karen Stokes and son-in-law Yves Delepine, his sister Jane Ingram, her husband Sam, niece and nephew Victoria and William.
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A Rice University professor for 44 years, Gale was past Dean of Humanities, Chair of the History Department and three-time winner of the George R. Brown award for superior teaching.
He specialized in the history of Eastern Europe, Balkan history and nationalism and was past president of the national organization in his field, AAASS. His book "The Walls Came Tumbling Down," about the fall of the Berlin Wall and its effects in Europe won the national prize for the best book in the field of Eastern European Studies. Professor Stokes was the author of six books and numerous articles and book reviews. He was chair of the Joint Committee on Eastern Europe of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council. Stokes r eceived the Distinguished Alumni award from the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University and served on the editorial boards of several professional publications. He made eighty presentations at regional, national, international meetings and gave more than one hundred lectures of other kinds since 1990 with guest appearances on the MacNeil-Leher News Hour, CNN, NPR, Washington Post, Newsday, World Monitor News, CBC, VOA, and local TV. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, The Institute for Sino Soviet Studies at George Washington University, and a Sawyer Scholar at the University of Michigan.
Before going to graduate school at the University of Indiana, Gale was a Commissioned Officer in the Air Force for nine years. He completed his tour of duty in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, where he also was the President of the Unitarian Fellowship and active in the civil rights movement. At that time, he made a practice of getting up at 5:00 am to study French and German in preparation for graduate school. In graduate school he was chairman of the local Democratic Committee and the top-ranking student out of a class of three hundred. The research for his dissertation was done in the Belgrade, Yugoslavia archives where he and his family lived for a year-and-a-half after the completion of his coursework at Indiana University.
Gale's life was filled with many loves and pleasures; his family, friends, reading, research, writing, being a Professor at Rice, the arts, watching sports events, eating and drinking well, folk dancing, trips to Europe, playing "Texas Hold'em Poker," spending summers in Redstone, Colorado, and so much more.
A memorial service will be held for Professor Stokes on Sunday December 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm at the Rice University Chapel in Houston, with reception to follow at Brochstein Pavilion.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Nov. 25, 2012