Alfred Jehu Stokely, retired President and Chairman of the Board of Stokely Van Camp, died on July 10, 2005 at his home in Whitestown at the age of 89 after a long illness. Born March 26, 1916 in Newport, Tennessee, he was the son of James Rorex and Janie May Jones Stokely. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University in 1938 and came to Indianapolis the same year to work for Stokely Van Camp, formerly Stokely Brothers, founded by his father. He was married to Betsy Home in 1940 and the couple had three children. Mrs. Stokely died in 1952 at the age of 37and he remarried the former Jeanette Tarkington Danner, who had two children from a previous marriage. The couple had a daughter, Martha.
Mr. Stokely was elected President of Stokely Van Camp in 1960 and became Chairman of the Board in 1966; one of his more notable accomplishments was bringing the then-unknown product, Gatorade, under the Stokely label in 1967. He retired from Stokely Van Camp in 1981, shortly after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. His interest in food production did not end with his retirement, however. One of his greatest ongoing pleasures was a large vegetable garden on his farm in Whitestown.
During his long and distinguished business career he served on many corporate boards, including Indiana Bell, IPALCO Enterprises, AFNB, Bank One, L. S. Ayres & Co., American United Life, Hobart Industries and Mead Johnson. On a national level he was a member of the board of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Food Manufacturing Council and the National Canners Association.
Mr. Stokely was active in many community organizations in Indianapolis, on the boards of the YMCA, and the 500 Festival. Through his sons he became particularly active in Little League and was appointed to the national board of directors of Little League Baseball, Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Stokely Field, the regional playing field in Indianapolis, is named in his honor.
He was also chair of the Indiana Saving Bond Drive and on the Dean's Advisory Council of the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and served on the William B. Stokely Foundation.
He took a strong interest in education and was on the Board of Trustees of Berea College, Butler University and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Orchard School. Butler University awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in Public Service. Other awards were a Sagamore of the Wabash by Governors Branigan, Bowen and Orr and a Kentucky Colonel under Gov. Lawrence Wetherby. He was a member of Second Presbyterian Church, Woodstock Club, the University Club, Indianapolis Athletic Club, the Skyline Club and the Trader's Point Hunt.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Jeanette Tarkington and four children, Alfred J. Stokely, Jr., Randolph H. Stokely, Barbara E. Stokely, Martha T. Stokely Parson and two step-children, Linda T. Danner and William B. Danner, fourteen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. A sister, Janie Stokely Weinberg of Chattanooga, Tennessee also survives. Two brothers, James R. and Ben D. Stokely preceded him in death. In lieu of flowers, Memorial contributions may be made to Orchard School or Second Presbyterian Church.
A memorial service will be held at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian Street, at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday July 13th with reception at the church to follow.
Final arrangements entrusted to Crown Hill Funeral Home