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Sydney N. Stokes

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DORSET -- Sydney Nelson Stokes of Dorset died peacefully Sept. 6 at his home in Naples, Fla. He was 95. Stokes had been an executive in the chemical industry, a golf historian, author, and philanthropist. His wife, Anne Denny Stetson Stokes, and his son, Stuart C. Stetson Jr., predeceased him.

He is survived by his daughter, Sandra Stetson Martinuzzi; his son, Sydney N. Stokes Jr.; two grandchildren, Stuart C. Stetson III and Evelyn Anne Schickram; and his wife, Gwendolyn Lugar Dunlop Stokes.

He was born in New Haven, Conn., on May 8, 1911. His father, Sydney Stokes (1881-1953), came to America in 1896 from Stourbridge, Staffordshire, England. His mother, Hilda M. Nelson (1878-1963), was born in Sehon, Sweden, and came to America about 1900.

Stokes’ early education was in the New Haven public schools: the Milford School, Milford, Conn., (1928-1930); and the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School (1930-1934), where he received a bachelor of science degree in economics, marketing, finance, and business law. He was secretary of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, chairman of Class Day, undergraduate manager of the football team, president of the Sphinx Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa.

During the World War II, and after training at the Harvard Business School, Stokes served as lieutenant and supply officer in charge of all supplies at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. Meanwhile, between 1934 and1953, Stokes was sales manager and assistant to the president of Merck & Co. in Rahway, N.J., In 1953, Stokes left Merck & Co. to help form International Flavors & Fragrances, where he was assistant to the president in charge of advertising, public relations and corporate development. He retired in 1962.

As golf historian and curator, Stokes authored two books on the history of his favorite golf club, one of the so-called “legendary golf clubs of the American East,” the Ekwanok Country Club in Manchester. He helped design and build Ekwanok’s “Founders Room,” a library and museum that houses a special collection of golf books, vintage golf clubs, trophies and artifacts that relate to the club’s 107-year history. Stokes also served as a member of the Library and Museum Committee of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and was a former member of the board of directors, executive committee and chairman of the Invitational Tournaments Committee of the United States Seniors Golf Association (USSGA).

Sydney Stokes’s civic career included: president of the Drug Chemical and Allied Trades Association of New York (1954); president of the United Fund and Community Chest of Plainfield, N.J.; board of directors of the New York Board of Trade (1957-1963); founder and trustee of the Ministers Retirement Fund of the First Congregational Church of Manchester; board of directors (1971-1978) and emeritus trustee since 1979 of the Southwestern Medical Center of Vermont in Bennington; secretary/treasurer of the Ekwanok-Arkell Trust of the Ekwanok Country Club; director of Mack Group Inc. of Arlington; and founding board member of the Jefferson Legacy Foundation of Ripton, established 1993.

Other philanthropy includes the Arlington Library and Arlington Children’s Center in Arlington; the Long Trail School and Dorset Theater in Dorset; Hildene and the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester; and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

There will be a memorial service for Sydney N. Stokes at the First Congregational Church in Manchester on Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Ministers Retirement Fund, the First Congregational Church, Manchester, VT 05254.
Published in Bennington Banner on Sept. 9, 2006
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