Celebration of a Life


December 11, 1933 — June 6, 2018

June 29, 2018 Celebration of a Life

Pampa Band Leading Parade


Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us to celebrate and remember the life of Fred Stockdale. Depending on when you crossed paths with him, you may have called him Fred, or Freddy (ending in either a “y” or an “ie,” apparently), Brother, Cousin, Daddy, Uncle, or Papa. Or in more than a few cases, “Mr. Stockdale.” We gather together today to share our love, our memories, and our experiences of this man that I call, “Daddy.”

As the program suggests, my brother Freddy, my sister Lizann, my niece Jessica Bridges, and I have prepared some words and music and photos. But please note the program item called “Guests’ Reflections” … we want to give everyone an opportunity to tell a story or convey an anecdote or express whatever you’d like to share about this particularly unique man.

First I’d like to introduce three people who are present and acknowledge one who couldn’t make it. Daddy’s younger brother, my Uncle John (or Johnny to me … that’s okay, for today you can call me Stevie as payback) is here. His sister Linda Sikes lives in Washington state and couldn’t travel. However, their cousin, Penny Hults Johnson from Dallas is here, and Barry Eitelman from Abilene is here.

Now I’d like to ask Jessica to offer the invocation. Then my brother Freddy will provide some biographical information about our father’s life.


(adapted from Rob Stoner on progressivechristianity.org)

Let us be still in the presence of God …

Creating God, we thank you for the gift of life; from the moment of conception and birth to the moment of our last breath, we live amidst the wonder and beauty of all life and marvel at the gift of what it means to be fully human, fully alive. And today we particularly thank you for the gift of Fred Stockdale’s life, a gift to us and to many others in this world.

Ever-present and loving God, we ask your blessing on this celebration of Fred’s life. May each story shared be a gift to you, to each person here, and to Papa.
In your name we pray – Amen.


Let me tell you about my Dad and mascots.

He was born 84 years ago in Fort Worth to Ernest Frederick Stockdale and Alice Eitelman Stockdale. He graduated from Morton, Texas, High School (home of the Fighting Indians) and earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music from Eastern New Mexico University (home of the Fighting Greyhounds). He married Jo Wanda Armstrong of Clovis in 1953, resulting in me, that guy and that girl.

Mother died in 1996 from the long-term effects of scleroderma, an autoimmune disease.

Daddy’s career includes two stints in Olton (home of the Fighting Mustangs) from 1957-59 and 1968-1976.

In 1959 he leap-frogged from Olton to Lubbock Monterey (Home of the Fighting Plainsmen). During that time he also performed with various dance bands and as a percussionist with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra (home of the Fighting Tubas).

In 1962, he took command of the Pride of Pampa band at Pampa High School (home of the Fighting Harvesters). His greatest achievement at Pampa perhaps was a two-night concert series in January 1965 with Carl “Doc” Severinsen, who later would become leader of the band featured on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.

Pampa’s Rodeo Band, a subset of the full band was invited to play at the 1964 Rodeo Cowboys Association championship in Los Angeles. Also, the Pride of Pampa Marching Band performed at halftime of a Dallas Cowboys football game at the Cotton Bowl in 1962. And the amazing thing is that he accomplished all of this before age 32. I looked at my life during this same frame and discovered that my only notable accomplishment was actually turning 32.

So, in 1968, after two years in private business, including one of his own, Daddy returned to band-directing in Olton (home of the Fighting … never mind) and in 1969 was named Olton’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year, which followed his 1958 award as Olton’s Teacher of the Year.

Bridgeport (home of the Fighting Bulls) became his, Mother’s and that girl’s new home in 1976. There he re-established a tradition of sweepstakes-winning bands. He twice took the Bridgeport marching band to the state finals, and his 1983 senior class never played in a band that didn’t earn 1st Division ratings.

His next stop, in 1983, was Azle (home of the Fighting Hornets) where he directed the band for three years before being asked to become the first Director of Fine Arts for the Azle lSD. He coordinated music, drama and art programs, as well as a variety of in-district communication, training and grant initiatives. He retired in 1998.

Daddy was selected to the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity in 1960. He was active in the Texas Music Educators Association, and in 1984 he served as President of the Texas Bandmasters Association. His professional career culminated in 2001 when he was elected to the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame (home of the Fighting Batons).

After Mother’s death, he married Donna Wagoner in 1997 and combined families to include her children and grandchildren. They moved to Tulsa, where Donna died from cancer in 2005. He later married Juanise Ableson in Tulsa and again expanded his relationships. Juanise died in 2017. My Dad died in his sleep on the morning of June 6. He was 84.


Daddy was a band director. Primarily, but not exclusively. Since it was his professional passion for over 40 years, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge how important music, musicians, and students were in his life. (Click on the square-ish icon in the lower right corner of the YouTube video to enlarge to Full Screen.)


Daddy was a very humble man. So many of the stories about Daddy were told to us by other people. He didn’t talk about his life – he lived his life.

He was surrounded by lots of family who loved him, spent time with him and helped him grow into the man he became. He spent a great deal of time and summers with his grandparents in the home in Fort Worth where he was born.

I found a letter in one of his scrapbooks a few years ago and when I read it, it was as if I could hear Daddy as a young boy because he was always so expressive. It captures what he always described as a very happy childhood.

Daddy wrote this letter to HIS daddy on June 30, 1946 (72 years ago tomorrow)

Dear Daddy,

I have been having lots of fun. I have been attending my “Y” swim classes. I just lack one more stunt and I will be a flying fish. When I receive my flying fish I will be half way to pass my shark test. The hardest thing in the shark test is to swim 450 feet then I can take “Junior Life Saving”. Tuesday we are going to “Rocky Pool” again.

Monday we went out to Kennedy’s and I pulled out 4, 10 lb loggerheads and don’t think that was an easy job. I caught some more fish besides that.

Friday we went to Legos big lake and guess what I caught – a little blue gilled that weighed about ¼ lb but before I got that sucker out of the water, I thought I had a 10 pound barn. They pull like everything!

Monday I went to a General Motors banquet with Uncle Harold and guess what all I got. First I met boys from all over then we had a contest. It was a punching contest and the prize was a fine baseball mitt. I don’t know the boys’ name who won it.

Afterward we had a delicious dinner and the shrimp was out of this world! They intended to have it at the Baker Hotel at Dallas but because of the fire, they had it at the Adolfus.

Saturday Grandmother and Grandad and I went to the Palace Theater to see the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and that night we went to a rodeo. Mrs. Tadlock gave us some free tickets and had reserved seats. Porter Randall the news commentator was the announcer.

Thursday I went to Edwards’ and we went riding all morning on the horses and that’s what I’ve been doing up to now.


P.S. Write me and tell me what’s been happening (send this letter to Mother)

Daddy could play almost any instrument. His main instrument was clarinet which he could play beautifully, but when he played drums, that was where he felt more at home.

Every summer we went to San Antonio where the Texas Bandmasters Association held their convention. Right after the Tower of Americas was built, we were having dinner in the tower restaurant with other band directors and their families. After dinner everyone was visiting and I was ready to go back to the hotel and go swimming. Where was Daddy? He was in the cocktail lounge playing drums with the lounge band.

Daddy was always fair – as a teacher and as a parent. He treated everyone the same. It didn’t matter if you were rich, poor, black, white Hispanic – 1st chair or last chair – everyone was treated the same. He taught inclusion by example.

He didn’t favor anyone over another including his kids. Some people think if you have a parent for a teacher you get extra help or privilege. This couldn’t be further from the truth with Daddy.

When I started beginner band, I was so excited to learn the fingerings for the notes on my flute so on a Friday evening I went into the living room and asked Daddy how to finger E flat. He looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, “You’ll find out Monday morning like everybody else!”

Even though he loved teaching and was able to work in a job that brought him so much satisfaction, he was ready for retirement and approached retirement just like he did the rest of his life. He had lots of hobbies – his ham –radio, his koi ponds – He volunteered as a DFW Airport ambassador and later volunteered at the Tulsa Airport, he served on the Tarrant County United Way Board, and he was a judge for band contests. He was able to travel and stayed busy enjoying life.

He was a Stephen Ministry leader and active in his church. There were five men in his church in Tulsa who met each week to eat lunch and just share and support each other. One time I was up there and Daddy was getting back from lunch and he said, “We call ourselves the 5 ROMEOS – Retired Old Men Eating Out.”

Even though I visited him in Jefferson and Tulsa as often as I could, it wasn’t the same as having him close by when we moved him to Bridgeport last year after Juanise passed away. I loved having him close to me so I could see him almost every day. His memory had faded but He did remember he played drums and told many people this when they asked him what instrument he played. He was kind to everyone and almost always had a big smile. The things he most recently enjoyed were simple – but worthwhile. He didn’t talk a great deal but he continued to have his same mannerisms and expressions and often times his sense of humor would show itself. He always knew me, Tom, Steve, Freddy and all of his family. That was such a blessing.

I’ve never known anyone who expressed his appreciation and gratitude like Daddy. Britni and I talked about how great he was at receiving gifts. Besides saying thank you, he would go on and on … This is the greatest thing I’ve ever gotten! How did you know I needed this! She said he would be excited over a crummy kid gift! He never forgot how to express his appreciation. Even until his last days, it didn’t matter if you brought him candy, opened his blinds or even when the nurses gave him medicine, he would say thank you.

To say we appreciate all of his caregivers at Bridgeport Medical Lodge and more recently a couple ladies who came from the “Right At Home” service is really an understatement. They provided wonderful care with love, compassion and dignity. They loved Daddy and he loved them right back. We couldn’t have hand picked a better roommate for Daddy who he called his buddy. We love Charlie.

My Daddy lived each day with dignity, grace, faith and gratitude.  In just this last year, he taught me to slow down and enjoy the little things each day brings and when life changes or throws you a curve, you deal with it, make the best of it, find things that bring you joy and continue to live each day as a gift.

For all of these things Daddy taught by example, I am truly grateful.


Since the early 2000’s I’ve been digitizing family stuff – photos, scrapbooks, letters, all kinds of stuff. So we had a lot of content to go through after Daddy died on June 6th. In looking at over a thousand photos, I observed an apparel choice that seemed to frequently appear. Without these photos, I would have never made this particular connection. (Click on the square-ish icon in the lower right corner of the YouTube video to enlarge to Full Screen.)


I mentioned earlier that my dad was passionate about music, especially about teaching music, but that wasn’t all he was passionate about. To name a few things that easily come to mind:

  • He was a ham radio operator. His call sign was W5CHX.
  • He got his private pilot’s license in 1963.
  • He owned a sail boat, inspired by his Uncle Harold Hults.
  • He got in and out of photography about every other decade or so.
  • He went through periods of making bread. And beer. Not together.
  • He taught himself to play the banjo. Thankfully, briefly.

Some other things he did:

  • He took a year off from college to work for the Santa Fe railroad, like his father-in-law.
  • In 1964, he bought one of the first Ford Mustangs in Pampa, Texas a bright red one with a glistening white interior.
  • As the band director at Pampa, at least twice he commissioned tape recordings of his bands and made record albums. During that time he learned about recording equipment, auditorium acoustics, microphone positions, and the technology required to convert magnetic tape into a phonograph record. Less than four years after leaving Pampa, he created Stockdale Associates, a recording company that also produced records for high school and college bands, choirs, orchestras, and band camps.
  • His father, Ernest Frederick Stockdale, Sr., was an attorney and a judge. My father followed in his father’ footsteps … sort of. Throughout his long career he was regularly asked to judge band contests.

Theses contests included marching, concert and sight-reading for official school competitions and festivals, as well as solo and ensemble contests.

And that’s my meandering way to get to ensembles … as a metaphor for families.

While his “hobbies” or personal passions often took the form of a solo avocation – sailing, piloting, photography, ham radio operator – the more constant and central theme of his life was family. But not a solo family, not “his” family, but an ensemble of families.

Daddy was the product of a union between the Stockdale and Eitelman families. We don’t know that much about his father’s family, but we know a LOT about the Eitelman’s of Fort Worth. His mother was Alice Elizabeth Eitelman. Her father, Edward Frederick Eitelman, was a farrier – he shoed, or shod, horses. Ed owned a business with his father Michael, Eitelman & Son Shoeing and Carriage Shop. Michael Eitelman, Daddy’s great-grandfather, was a blacksmith. Until the business closed in 1926, their shop was located in the building that’s now the Dickie’s Outlet Store on Vickery Blvd just south of downtown Fort Worth.

Growing up, Daddy was very close to his Eitelman grandparents. And as the letter that Lizann just read indicates, he was also close with his Uncle Harold Hults. After grandfather Ed died in 1961 and his own father died suddenly in 1966, Daddy turned to Uncle Harold as his senior family role model.

So starting out, Fred Stockdale’s ensemble included the Stockdale, Eitelman, and Hults families.

In the fall of 1952 he met my mother, Jo Wanda Armstrong, a freshman beauty from Clovis. They married in January 1953.

Add the Armstrongs to the ensemble.

His sister Linda followed him to Eastern New Mexico, where she met and married Perry Sikes from Hobbs. Seat the Sikes in the ensemble.

His brother John married Diana Ferstyl – can’t forget the Ferstyls.

In the late 70s and early 80s his children married, adding the Latimer, Givens and Bridges families.

Then in December 1996 my mother died. She had suffered for over 30 years from a variety of ailments that, just a few years before her death, were finally given a name – scleroderma, an autoimmune disease for which there is currently still no cure.

Daddy’s ensemble had lost a featured and irreplaceable partner. He was close to retirement. He knew himself. He knew what he could and could not do as a soloist. The following year he married Donna Wagoner, a family acquaintance who had taught school with my grandmother in the late ’50s in Albuquerque. Donna and her family did not replace Mother, or me or Freddy or Lizann or any of his grandchildren – they were incorporated as additional voices to play new roles in the ensemble. Donna’s family included her son David and his wife Cicely, her daughter Cindy who was married to Bill Webb, a minister in Tulsa, and Jeannie, who died just a few years later.

And I know this is starting to get complicated, but I want to emphasize one point here for future reference … Donna’s son-in-law, Bill Webb, participated in the wedding ceremony of Daddy and Donna. I’ll come back to that.

After living in Azle for a year and retired, Daddy and Donna bought a house in east Fort Worth. They settled in, traveled, were active in the Cumberland Presbyterian church, participated in the DFW Airport Ambassadors program, and life was good.

In the early 2000s they moved to Tulsa to be closer to Cindy and Bill’s family, with their children Kathryn and Alex. In April 2005 however, Donna succumbed to cancer, and Daddy – now having nursed two wives to their earthly ends – faced another empty, irreplaceable chair in the ensemble.

Enter Juanise and the Ableson family.

Just as Daddy had a previous connection with Donna through my grandmother, he and Donna’s family had a previous connection with Juanise and the Ableson’s. Through their church, but more importantly because Donna’s son-in-law Bill Webb, the minister, was close friends with Juanise’s son Brad, a high-ranking chaplain in the US Navy.

The ensemble transformed and once again, grew.

More changes were ahead. Brad died tragically in 2009 when he was just 50 years old. Juanise was devastated at the loss of her only son. The following year my dad started showing the first symptoms of dementia, and what would develop into Alzheimer’s. We followed his progress – or regress – through Juanise’s regular email reports.

In late 2013, Daddy and Juanise moved to Jefferson, TX, where Juanise’s daughter Ann had retired with her husband Ron Harper. But within just a few months, Ron died. In 2015, Ann, Daddy and Juanise moved back to Tulsa.

Juanise was stricken with a near-fatal stroke in 2016. She and Daddy moved into the Zarrow Pointe long-term care facility in Tulsa. Last July, she died, his last irreplaceable loss. A month later we moved him back to the Bridgeport Medical Lodge, just blocks away from Lizann and Tom’s house, where he died peacefully, in his sleep, just after midnight on the morning of June 6th.


Our third and final slideshow is an attempt to distill as much about Daddy and his ensemble as 4 minutes and 34 seconds will allow. Since the first instrument he learned to play was clarinet, the music starts with the famous clarinetist Artie Shaw and his hit version of Cole Porter’s, “Begin the Beguine.” Then you’ll hear Doc Severinsen featured with the Pampa High School Swing Kings stage band, conducted by Fred Stockdale, on “There’ll Be Other Times.” (Click on the square-ish icon in the lower right corner of the YouTube video to enlarge to Full Screen.)

Finally, I’d like to read two tributes that support this metaphor of families as ensemble. Cindy and Bill Webb, who were there for Juanise’s last days just 11 months ago – Bill delivered her euology – could not travel here. Cindy emailed me her regrets, but included this testament from her daughter Kathryn who’s getting her doctorate at the University of Virginia. Cindy wrote:

Kathryn shared with me some very special memories of Papa Fred and Grandma Donna last night. She said she always felt “safe” in their home and felt like Papa took a genuine interest in her activities and events. She loved the beautiful homes and gardens they created together – especially the Koi ponds! It means a great deal to me that my children had a loving grandfather figure in Fred and retain such sweet memories.

Another prominent figure in the ensemble for both Daddy and Juanise was Father Ed Roling from Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa. He also regretted he couldn’t be here today, but sent these heartfelt words:

In my 47 years as a priest, I met and became friends with many people, as I nurtured and pastored them on their spiritual journeys. While loving all of them, I truly treasure the relation-ship I had with Juanise and Fred. They were cultured by the music of life and filled with the joy that becomes us through relating to the complexities of many and varied personalities. Family was of greatest importance to them, especially in the pride that was theirs through the care of their children in their last years. And the grandchildren were the apple of their eyes, their delight. Words could not say enough!

The ways Fred and Juanise touched others’ lives brought hope and growth to them. In turn, that touching brought them, in the last weeks and months of their earthly lives, hope and trust in the God of everlasting life. No more sickness and suffering for them now, only “the light, happiness, and peace” of those living in the arms and heart of our God, united as a family.

For me, Juanise possessed “elegance in her appearing and eloquence in her speaking.” She radiated joy and was fun to relate to, always and IN all ways.

And for me, it is Fred I think of when I read, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”

And with that, now we’d like to hear your stories, remembrances and recollections of Fred Stockdale.


(Prepared comments by Mr. Larry Veale, Pampa High School Class of ’65)

I was a member of the Class of ’65 Pride of Pampa Band. We didn’t know we were really a group of rural middle America kids who were destined for survival and mediocrity. But Fred Stockdale and a few other teachers would widen our horizons and help us become successful beyond anything we could imagine.

Mr. Stockdale was a hard case. Band started in the summer while everyone else except the football team was enjoying the last days of freedom and irresponsibility before returning to the grind of learning. In those days, our high school had only three grades. We spent grades 7-9 in the junior high building. In our town, we had two junior highs that fed into the high school, so the first time we joined the band, we were sophomores. He expected much more of us than he expected of freshmen. Which is exactly what we needed. He had a limited number of students to form into his only band. We had no “freshman” band to learn the routine of high school, we had to learn on the job, and fast.

And learn we did. From Mr. Stockdale and all the upperclassmen. They impressed upon us the legacy of excellence. And instead of pleading with us to learn the music and routines, they told us we WOULD be practicing until we learned them in our sleep. That was my first lesson in teaching: Don’t expect excellence, demand it. Then don’t accept less.

As we practiced our music over and over, it finally occurred to me that if I were ever to escape this infernal punishment, I would have to play it perfectly. Practice I did- over and over, hour after hour. And we played hard music, not the simple stuff. And finally, out of perfect practice came perfection. It was exhilarating what I could do with endless effort! Second teaching lesson: Nothing worthwhile comes without practice, and more often than not, significant sacrifice of time and effort.

One of my outstanding memories was of the Stage Band playing on New Year’s Eve in Memphis. That’s Memphis, Texas, not the other one. Mr. Stockdale would load up several cars and trek us the 70 or so miles, help us set up and then have fun. We were our own version of a big band. We would play from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am. If they wanted us to stay later (and they did), our rate doubled or tripled. One of those years I remember being paid $165 for one night. This was when the minimum wage was $1/hour. Here I got the third lesson of teaching: Teachers always want the best for their students and sacrifice more than students know to provide it. Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s time, sometimes both.

Pampa High School Swing Kings

I graduated from college with an engineering degree and worked for over three decades in the oil and chemical industry. But somewhere in that last decade, I wanted to help the next generations be their best. I think partly, largely, because of four of my heroes: Howard Graham, Aubrey Nooncaster, John Plaster, and Fred Stockdale, I aspired to teach high school. After seven years of evening classes, I got certified, and taught chemistry, physics, and math for fourteen more years after I retired from Celanese. I used the three lessons I learned from Mr. Stockdale every day in my teaching. And I continue to use them with the students I mentor through high school as an adult friend helping them mature in an uncertain and often unforgiving world. Too many children today have absentee parents who don’t or can’t do that.

So, to the Fred Stockdales of the world, I say to you: Speaking for your students, your influence is infinite, your impact eternal, and you helped us mature and succeed beyond our expectations. We became happy, successful, and productive, largely because of your influence and insistence. Thank you, Mr. Stockdale! Job well done!

John Price, Pampa

In 1961 our football coach loaded us up and took us to West Texas State to see the Pampa band perform, we didn’t know they were going to do the halftime – we went to see the football game. The band was under the command – excuse me – the direction of Bill Tregoe. And my good friend Larry and I were watching this halftime with this Pampa High School band and he said, “Man, if I get the chance to be in a band like that, I’ll quit football!” I said, “I’m with ya, I’ll do it, too!”

Well, in ’62, my dad loads us up and we moved to Pampa, Texas. And there’s a new band director – Fred Stockdale. And here we go … [digression on the Stage Band’s New Year’s Eve gig in Memphis, Texas]

Mr. Stockdale, there was one way to do things and that was the right way. And I was not … your best citizen. I didn’t usually get caught, but … [digression about beer bottles on the steps of the band hall]

Pampa Band at DisneylandWell, in ’65 we graduate. And my girlfriend and I, we go to UNT. And I forgot to mention one other thing … being in Stage Band was more fun than Custer had Indians. It was a blast, it was great! We went to the national finals rodeo, went to Memphis and played for New Years Eve, did this, did that …

Poor Mr. Stockdale had no idea in 1970, me – I took my first teaching and coaching job in Decatur, Texas. I taught and coached in Decatur for four years. Then I went to Keller for 27 years. I’m in Keller and I get the word that the band director in Bridgeport is Fred Stockdale! So I’m doing drivers ed that summer, and I get out of the car. I walked up to him, and said, “Mr. Stockdale, I’m John Price and  you’re not going to believe what I’m doing.” He just kind of went, “I don’t believe it either.”

Anyway, we stayed in touch with each other for the next few years. The main thing I can say about Mr. Stockdale – he wasn’t “Fred” to me, he was “MR. Stockdale” – he was fair. It didn’t matter who you were, who your momma or daddy was, how much money they made, what color you were, you were all the same. He was a great influence on my life. [digression about the musicals put on at Pampa from ’63-’65, The Music Man …] He directed the pit orchestra, I played in it a couple of years and my mother played in it every year – when you go to the Juilliard School of Music you can usually play the violin.

Mr. Stockdale was fair.  What’d I leave out, Larry? Larry: “South Pacific.” Thank you. South Pacific, too. Boy, it went quick, I’ll say that much.

Mark Watt, Olton

I told Lizann there was something I wanted to tell her before her dad died, but I never sent it.

My name is Mark Watt. I’m from Olton, Texas. I was in his band there.

I’m a retired band director. About a year ago, I had a former student who put on Facebook that she wanted to put her kid in band like she had been in my band. But she couldn’t afford it. I told her, “Go talk to your band director.  You never know, most of the time these directors want your kid in band and they’ll come up with a way.” And then I told her my story.

My brother and I were raised in a single-parent home. In fifth grade we did tonette the first half of the semester. And I loved it, I really liked it. I went hom and I told my mom, “I want to be in band!”

She got this kind of sad face and said, “I can’t afford an instrument.” And I said, “but I still want to be in band.” She said, “well, I’ll go up and talk to Mr. Stockdale.”

So she did, and he told her not to worry about it, we’ll work it out. About a week later he shows up with this old cornet, a Conn cornet that I’m sure he bought from Earl Ray, cheap. And he told my mom to just pay him whatever she could whenever she could. She gave him three or four or five dollars a month, whatever she could, and eventually paid off the horn. She had in mind I wasn’t going to play that more than a year. And sure enough, at the end my fifth grade year, before the sixth grade, he told me he wanted me to play tuba next year. I told him alright, that’ll be fine.

So then he calls me, or called my mom, and she said, “Mr. Stockdale wants you to get a head start on the tuba. So he’s going to be here Monday morning at 7:00 and pick you up, there’s going to be a band camp in Plainview at Wayland.” He’d come by my house, every day at 7:00 that week, pick me up and take me to band camp in Plainview, and bring me back home.

We didn’t pay for that camp.

I’m sure his family doesn’t even know some of these stories. He probably did a lot of things like that for a lot of kids. The neat thing is, I went into band, and I lost count but I have something like 50 former students who are band directors now. And some of them, I was able to return the favor. And some of them already now have students who are band directors.

He never knew, when he did that for my mom, that somewhere down the line I’d be a band director. I don’t know how many former students he had who are teaching, some something other than band. But I can tell you, I’ve got some, I’ve got one whose in a professional orchestra for thirty years in China. There’s people that he influenced, directly and indirectly, that they’ll never know about. His legacy is not only going to live on in his family but in students that’ll never even know what he did for me – ultimately what happened for them because of what he did.

Pat (Lambright) Bolin

In 2000, 18 years ago, was the last time I saw Mr. Stockdale. And yes, it was “Mr. Stockdale,” never anything else. Somebody organized a band reunion in Pampa for band students from 1960 to 2000 – 40 years. He was there and I got to see him, didn’t really have a chance to talk with him, but we had such a good time.

As you folks have been talking today, I figured out some things that we really had in common. In 1980, my husband and I built, or completed a small sailboat. We sailed it to Hawaii, and stayed there 30 years. In 2003, we bought a much larger one, a 45-footer, and lived on it for eight years, we cruised for eight years, then three and a half years in Mexico, then came back up to Texas. I really wasn’t aware of Mr. Stockdale’s sailing, I wish I had.

"That" Ham Radio

Also the ham radio part … I don’t know anything about ham radio but my brother does. And we can’t figure out the date, but sometime in the mid-60s, my little brother – he’s three years younger – bought Mr. Stockdale’s ham radio. And he LOVED it. To this day – he doesn’t have that one anymore, but he just loves his ham radio.

Also, I was a drummer. Now with the girls, we had the highstepper drums … you have big thing out in front and play them up here while you’re marching. I don’t know if they let the girls do that anyway, but during marching season I played the cymbals. No, I never practiced at home, my mother would not let me play the cymbals in the house. Of course you don’t have to practice much on those anyway.

Now, we saw Mr. Stockdale approximately four hours a day. We marched an hour before school, went to our classes, our band time was in the middle of the day, like 12:30, and then after school there was probably another hour and a half. Now in the Texas panhandle, it didn’t matter if it was blowing dirt, so that you couldn’t see – we marched. We marched in the snow, they had to clean off the yard lines on the football field so we could see them. And there were these things we called marching “the boards.” I HATED that, even the thought of them today is terrible. I don’t think Pampa even does it anymore. Most take steps or strides (six steps to five yards) when they march, but at Pampa we marched with knees up (eight steps to five yards). To practice they put 10-15 yards of these boards this high (6-8″) and you had to play AND step over those. Scared me to death, I was so afraid we were going to fall.

Marching "the boards" in Pampa

At the 2000 band reunion, we got this book of contributions that we made about our years in band. I just found this the other night and want to read what I wrote for that book.

BEST BAND MEMORIES: The “Pride of Pampa” was something instilled inside each of us. We became proud of our accomplishments, our perserverance, and our appearance which carried over in our lives outside of band. With hard work and teamwork we produced something great. Mr. Stockdale was a wonderful leader. When he was tough on us, we wanted to work harder and and did not feel shamed. He cared about us as individuals. It was good to have the band members to see every day. I felt like I belonged and had a sense of purpose. I felt safe inside the group. Band exposed me to many people. We had no family that lived in Pampa, so band members became my extended family.

And it’s nice to see two of them back there today.

Anyway, we just appreciate him so much.


We’ve made several references to the Doc Severinsen concert with the Pampa band in January 1965. This (holding up the Not For Sale album cover) is the record that was made from the recording of those concerts. And if you open it up you see there are pictures of Doc inside. And for those of you under … 40, maybe, who don’t recognized the name Doc Severinsen, think of it this way.

Jimmy Fallon now has “The Tonight Show.” The Roots are the house band for the NBC “Tonight Show.” And the leader of The Roots is their drummer named Questlove. So Questlove is to the “Tonight Show” now what Doc Severinsen was to the “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” So it would’ve been like having someone like Questlove come to Decatur or Bridgeport and give a two-night concert with the local high school band.

"Not For Sale" AlbumI was eleven years old, or almost eleven, when this concert happened. The Beatles had been big for a year, I had one of their records. I was very aware of what records were and that people made money with records. So when we received the first pressings of the album in a box at the house, I was there when it was unpacked. I looked at the cover and I was completely dumbfounded because I couldn’t understand, why was it not for sale? How are we going to make any money on this if it’s not for sale?

So, first of all he had the foresight to have the record made. He also had the foresight, and this was a double album, to write, with Warren Hasse who was the local radio announcer in Pampa who broadcasted all the high school football and basketball games, a narration to introduce each of the tracks. This gave some context to the whole concert experience. And especially on the stage band record, he took care to introduce the piece, but then also the students in that particular section that was featured – whether it was the saxophones or the trombones or the cornets. So credit to him for thinking through that. And of course he credited Doc for coming, and Doc had some very nice things to say about Pampa, and the band and the band parents.

But the conclusion, the very last track on the album, Warren Hasse, and I’m sure they both kind of wrote this together, but I know that my dad had a hand in saying this, here’s what was said on the last track.

“Music has often been described as the universal language … The value of a band program is pointed out through a musical experience of a night like this, which happens to many people only once in a lifetime. Unlike the commercial recordings on the market today, the memories of this night, the musical lessons it has taught, are … well, like the cover on the album says … NOT FOR SALE.”

I think that might be my first recollection, or my first understanding, of what metaphor is.

On behalf of the Stockdale’s and the entire ensemble of family represented here today, we are blessed by and appreciative of your presence here to share this NOT FOR SALE experience with us.

Please feel free to stay and visit as long as you’d like.


We close with words from the Breastplate of St Patrick, which Papa and Juanise came to treasure, as they prayed them with Father Ed Roling in the Anglican rosary:
‘Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.’

These words of St Patrick paint a picture of being surrounded by God’s love. And may we each go forth with a sense of the love that surrounded Papa and that spilled over into each of our lives.

Pampa Band Marching Away