Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gilbert Thomas Stocker, end of watch 07/31/72

Today is the 41st anniversary of our brother Tom's death. He was a Detroit police officer who was killed in the line of duty. He was a devoted husband, a loving father, and a cherished son, brother, and friend. He left behind his wife and three children. He was 31 years old.

Tom's Police Academy graduation photo.

From the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC.


Tom was known to everyone at work as Gil. Here are some comments about him that have been made on the Officer Down Memorial Page:

"Gil was my partner and close friend. He was very devoted to his family. He loved his wife and children very much. He had a passion about serving the City of Detroit and helping others. No one was more proud to be a police officer than Gil. He was very quick witted and always kept others laughing. Gil had a great influence on others to better themselves. He was one of the first officers at our Precinct to attend college and encouraged others to do so. His influence resulted in my achievement of a college education that enabled me to greatly enhance my career. Gil is still missed by those who had the pleasure to know him."

"He was the most quick witted person that I have ever known. He once responded to an individual who was expressing his uncertainty about submitting to being placed under arrest, 'you talk like a man who has a choice'."

"There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you, glance at the picture of you that still remains in my wallet , miss your stinky little Italian cigars, your quick wit comments, the things we did together as partners, friends & families. Dora, Tommy, Annmarie & Jimmy he loved you more than life itself !! I miss my FRIEND & PARTNER still to this day !!!!!"

"I was proud to have known and served with Gil, your husband and father. I served with him at the 2nd precinct from Jan. 1968 until my transfer to the Motor Division in 1971. I was on routine freeway patrol on July 31, 1972. I was one of several motor vehicles that escorted Gil to Detroit Receiving Hospital where I discovered the wounded officer was Gil Stocker. The loss touched me deeply and I have never ceased remembering and prayering for all of you on the anniversary of his passing. Gil was an unforgetable kind of guy. Much love to his family."

"I met Gil while attended Police classes at Macomb County Community College. Gil had a great sense of humor and was always in the face of the liberal college Prof, Erick Beckman. Gil would get me into hockey games at Olympia Stadium. I remember he worked the Big 4, which was a kick butt assignment back then. He was a great guy. I attended his funeral as did Prof. Beckman and thousands of others. After all these years I still think of him. He helped shape me and be the officer I was for thirty years. To the family, I am so sorry for your loss. Gil was a cops cop and a man's man."

Our aunt had this memory of him: her oldest child, Frank, was newly ill with MS and was in the hospital. Tom and some of his police buddies went to the hospital where Frank was on the ground floor. These reprobate Detroit cops pried the screen off the window, got the patient out of bed, put a robe and slippers on him, and took him to a bar. They brought him back later that night and replaced the screen. The next morning, when Frank had some lab work done, the doctors couldn't fathom why his test results were so cockeyed. Better yet, they returned another time and went to Frank's room where they handcuffed him and took him out the front door, telling the nurse that he was under arrest. 

This is the kind of man Tom was - big-hearted, light-hearted, and devoted to his work and his family. He was one of those rare individuals who leaves a lasting influence wherever they go. We miss him still.

Tom and his daughter AnnMarie. I don't know the date of his photo but judging from AnnMarie's size, it may have been 1971. If that's so, he died the next year.

Tom's name engraved on the wall at the National Law Enforcement Memorial.

Thoughts of the day. Yes, my brother was and remains my hero.

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. (Benjamin Disraeli)

It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.  (Norman Schwarzkopf)

Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They're just braver 5 minutes longer. (Ronald Reagan)

I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel. (Florence Nightingale)

   Every society needs heroes. And every society has them. The reason we don't often see them is because we don't bother to look.
   There are two kinds of heroes. Heroes who shine in the face of great adversity, who perform an amazing feat in a difficult situation. And heroes who live among us, who do their work unceremoniously, unnoticed by many of us, but who make a difference in the lives of others.
   Heroes are selfless people who perform extraordinary acts. The mark of heroes is not necessarily the result of their action, but what they are willing to do for others and for their chosen cause. Even if they fail, their determination lives on for others to follow. The glory lies not in the achievement, but in the sacrifice. (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyone)

To be heroic does not have to mean possessing the ability to stand against the evils of the world, either well or successfully, but just that one is willing to stand. (Mike Alsford, Heroes and Villains)

Yes, there are plenty of heroes and heroines everywhere you look. They are not famous people. They are generally obscure and modest people doing useful work, keeping their families together and taking an active part in the health of their communities, opposing what is evil (in one way or another) and defending what is good. (Edward Abbey, Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast)