Irma Ford Stockton
November 25, 1931 – June 16, 2021
Irma Stockton died Wednesday June 16 after a long struggle with dementia. She was at home, with all three of her daughters.
I have had trouble writing this, I finally realized, because nothing short enough to be an obituary could to her justice. Consider this a mere hint, a sketch, of Irma Stockton.
Two threads run through her adult life: the importance she placed on family, and her wide ranging hospitality. Her greatest joy was her marriage to Bill Stockton, cut tragically short after a mere 61 years when he died in 2014. She kept close to her parents, her sisters, and her nieces and nephews. In particular, she was very grateful for her niece Sara, who was born on her 16th birthday.
She worked for a few years as a medical technician, and taught me how to pronounce sphygmomanometer, for which I am grateful. I think that she and I are the last two people on earth who know how to pronounce that. Now there is only me.
She spent the years when her children were young being there for us in many ways. As we got older she went to work for the Presbytery office of the Presbyterian church. She was always proud to be a Presbyterian, and attended Silver Spring Presbyterian church with her husband Bill for over 50 years. During that time, between the two of them, I think they did every possible volunteer position in the church. About the time when she stopped going to church, due to her difficulties in getting out, Silver Spring needed a new pastor. I wondered if they would be able to find a new pastor without her on the search committee, but apparently her legacy included people who could take up her mantle. Fortunately, Silver Spring Presbyterian Church has a new pastor.
Later she took a volunteer position as a tour guide at Washington National Cathedral. Although she never persuaded the Cathedral to become Presbyterian, she very deeply loved the beauty and history there. She was often in demand , as people who took her tours would specially ask for her again. Her favorite tour to give was the Angel tour.
She loved to have people over to her house, and feed them, whether a casual drop in, a large family gathering, or a formal dinner party. Except for the formal dinner parties, with seating charts, us kids always knew that if we asked if we could bring a friend, the answer was yes.
For a couple of years while I was in high school I hosted a Bible study at my house. It did not occur to me until many years later, when I had my own house and kids, that it might just possibly have been inconvenient to have a large group of teenagers descend on the house every week. She never complained about them and in fact many of them continue to think of her as a friend.
When she became a grandmother, her happiness knew no bounds. She was one of those that inspired the sign “Warning! Grandmother within!” As she later also became a great grandmother it rejuvenated her, and she helped with babysitting for many years after a reasonable person would have thought it was time to sit in the rocking chair. Even when she slowed down a bit, she still invited the great grandchildren over regularly, and always had good food and fun times for them.
She will be greatly missed.
I am sure that nearly everybody who knew her will read this and think of something I left out, and they will all be different things. She was so full of life, so interested in people, that everybody who knew her will have something to tell. I am sorry this is so relatively little. It is a measure of how much there was to her life that so much is left out.
Saturday, June 19, 2021