James Aaron Stocks Jr. was born in Dayton, Ohio on July 19, 1937. He passed away peacefully in Dayton on Friday, March 31, 2023, at the age of 85. Stocks was born to the late James Sr. and Nellie (Commodore) Stocks and was the youngest of five children. He was married to his loving wife Eleanor Stocks for 59 years and was a devoted father to Kevin and Kim.
Stocks graduated from Dunbar High School and attended Bowling Green University for two years before joining the United States Army Corp in 1959. After completing his service in the Army, he obtained his undergraduate degree at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. He then went on to earn his Masters of Education at Xavier University in 1969 and pursued doctoral studies at Ohio University.
Stocks was a pioneer in promoting diversity and inclusion in higher education and an important figure in the history of the University of Dayton. He served as the Director of Afro-American Affairs at the University of Dayton for over a decade, starting in 1971. During his time at the university, he helped establish the first Black Cultural Center on campus and advocated for increased representation of Black students, faculty, and staff. During his tenure, Stocks brought a number of influential and inspiring speakers to the university including James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Julian Bond, Nikki Giovanni, Dick Gregory and Jesse Jackson. His contributions to the University of Dayton and the Dayton community helped create a more inclusive and diverse environment for all.
After his time at the University of Dayton, Stocks continued to support his community by changing careers and working as a dedicated and compassionate agent with State Farm Insurance for 33 years—serving the greater Dayton area.
He was an enthusiastic runner, enjoyed playing golf and chess and had an immense appreciation for jazz. He was a lifelong member of McKinley Methodist Church and also worshipped at Trinity Presbyterian. He will long be remembered for his dedication to making a positive impact on those around him.
He is preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Frances Stocks Greene, Martha Grinner, and Barbara Stocks; brothers-in-law, Vernon Stroud, Henry Grinner Jr., Walter Locust and David Locust. He leaves to cherish his memory, beloved wife Eleanor; son, Kevin (Glenda) Stocks; daughter, Kim (Matt ) Hammond; grandchildren, Julius and Josie Hammond; beloved sister, Dorothy Stroud; nephews, Eric Stroud, Scott Stroud and Stuart (Greta) Stroud, Hank (Tonya) Grinner III, Jonathan (Jasmine) Locust Jr., Jason Locust, Walter Locust; nieces, Tera Shockley, Angela Shockley, Jessica (Lamar) Daugherty, Lynne (Navery) Moore; brothers-in-law, Jonathan (Valerie) Locust and Jimmy Locust; sisters-in-law, Paulette Shockley and Coretta Locust; and a host of other family and friends.
Memorial service 11 am Saturday, May 6, 2023 at McKinley United Methodist Church at 196 Hawthorn St., Dayton, Ohio 45402. Calling hour 10 am at which time family will receive friends.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of James Aaron Stocks Jr., please visit our floral store.