PEORIA - Thomas Edward Stonebock, 62, of Peoria died at 6:45 p.m. Friday, July 4, 2014, at his home, with his family at his side, after a courageous battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS).
Born March 3, 1952, in Peoria to Ed and Bettie Stonebock, Tom grew up in a loving home and learned a lot about life and the game of baseball from his father. Some of his best childhood memories were of his days in Little League at Russell Field, and being the bat boy for his father's Manual High School baseball teams. He looked up to his dad, and was spoiled by his doting mother.
Tom formed many friendships with wonderful people at an early age that would last his lifetime. He attended Peoria High, where he and some of his mischievous friends would pester his older sister, Char (then a teacher at Central), for passes out of study hall to go to the gym. He loved sports, especially baseball and basketball, and this passion for competition never left him. He accepted a baseball scholarship to Bradley University and graduated with a degree in accounting in 1974.
Tom did not last long as an accountant because his true vocation was to be a teacher and coach. He earned an education degree and worked at Spalding and Manual. He spent the majority of his career teaching accounting, co-op, marketing and business law at Woodruff High School. He was the director of the Little League at Von Steuben and worked tirelessly with friends to improve the facilities there and the baseball experience for youths in the area. He coached underclass basketball and baseball teams at Woodruff for several years, until getting the chance to be the head varsity baseball coach in 2003. He respected the game by committing himself to being a lifelong learner. He loved attending clinics and talking the game with his peers. More than anything, he enjoyed teaching the game to his players and watching them grow up to be solid young men with families of their own.
Tom married the love of his life, Marty, on July 21, 1979, in Kirkwood, Mo. The two were happily married for 34 years. Their ideas about how to have fun were not always aligned, such as the time when Tom decided that camping in the wilderness of Canada would be an ideal honeymoon. Tom, who was fun-loving and spontaneous, and Marty, a sensible pragmatist, often joked that she was the string to his balloon. Despite their differences, Tom and Marty were made for one another and shared many special times together, enjoying family gatherings, vacations and making memories at their second home in Fort Myers. Their example of unconditional love and commitment to one another will never be forgotten by their children. Tom was a family man who always cared for others before thinking of himself. His greatest joy in life was his four children.
Tom is survived by his wife, Marty; two sons, Kyle and Tommy (Ashley) Stonebock; two daughters, Kelly and Lynne Stonebock; his sister, Mrs. Charlynn (Roger) Allen of Peoria; and numerous nephews and nieces.
Tom was a lifelong member of St. Philomena Catholic Church, where a funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday at 1 p.m. Father David Richardson will officiate. Visitation will be today from 5 to 8 p.m. at Davison-Fulton-Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7:30 p.m. Entombment will be in Resurrection Mausoleum.
Tom's family would like to thank his friends for all of the kindnesses they showed to him during his illness. They would also like to acknowledge Team 403 for their support and generosity to the cause of raising awareness and finding a cure for ALS.
Memorials may be made to the ALS Association.