Doyle Edwin Stockton
Aug. 19, 1917 to July 25, 2009
Doyle E. Stockton passed away in Medford, Ore. on July 25, 2009, weeks before his 92nd birthday.
An Oregonian for 74 years, he will be greatly missed by his family, friends, neighbors and the Medford community he so dearly loved.
Doyle was born in 1917 in Cassville, Mo., where he lived with his parents and nine other children on the family farm. During the Depression, Doyle took advantage of an opportunity to help his family by joining the Civilian Conservation Corps when he was 16. He traveled the country with the Three C's which took him to Minnesota, the Great Lakes and finally to Rogue River, Ore. Doyle appreciated what the New Deal program did for him and considered it as a model of government at its best.
"My salary in those days was $30 a month," Doyle told the Medford Tribune in 1981. "Five dollars of it went to me, and $25 was sent to my family back in Missouri. It worked out well for me, though, because I was a pretty good poker player."
In 1935, he settled in Southern Oregon and joined the Oregon State Forestry Department. Soon after, he met Myrtle McLaren, a cheerleader and native of Rogue River, who fell in love with the "shy, sleepy-eyed southerner" in the words of her mother and his future mother-in-law.
In early 1941, Doyle was assigned to Johnston Island with a group of contractors. One week after attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese shelled the 50 acre isle and landed with the intent of taking P.O.W.'s, but the contracting group survived.
Doyle returned to Southern Oregon in 1942 and married Myrtle in September in Reno. Later she would joke, "I married Doyle for his hair and his car, then he lost his hair and sold the car."
Doyle was drafted immediately after the wedding. He went from boot camp to boot camp in the next four months preparing him for what was to come in Europe. He was first trained as a radio technician in Camp Roberts, Calif. From there he went to Army installations in Oklahoma, Missouri and Mississippi. Myrtle followed him with each assignment until finally, he was sent overseas to the European theater. Myrtle returned to a Southern Oregon community rallying around the war effort - sacrificing with food rationing and even stationing watchtowers to look for enemy aircraft.
Doyle earned two bronze stars during the war, with the 63rd and 36th infantry divisions, which took him from Marseilles, France through Germany and ultimately to Austria.
After the war he returned to Oregon and resumed his job in the Oregon State Forestry Department where he dedicated himself for 37 years, retiring as the Southwest Assistant District Warden. Doyle helped to usher in the shift in firefighting from primitive trucks (with a few barrels of water in the flatbed) to the systems of today with bulldozers and chemical retardant dropped from bomber planes.
"After a while, we found out how to get in there and stop it. You have got to figure out a way to cut off the head of a fire or it will kill you," Doyle told the Tribune in 1986.
While he was involved in fighting several dramatic Southern Oregon wildfires, he was especially proud of his work in helping to establish rural fire districts, and breaking down the barriers between various agencies to build a more efficient firefighting system. "I am happy to be part of the development of the central communications center because I feel cooperation is the name of the game," he said. The love and pride he felt for his job set an incredible example for all who knew him.
Myrtle and Doyle raised a family that was an active part of the Southern Oregon community. He built a unique home on Crestbrook Road, including the beauty salon that Myrtle ran for over 50 years, resisting a raise in her rates the whole while. They raised three sons and were active in their support of Medford high schools and sports programs. They also reached outside the Medford community and hosted an international exchange
daughter, Toshiko Funabashi, now of Rhode Island.
Doyle retired in 1977 and he and Myrtle remained in Medford during their golden years, spending much time with friends and family while also traveling. Although his family had since spread across the country, to places including Portland, California, and Washington DC, Doyle insisted on staying in the Medford community he loved in his final years. He enjoyed the vegetables grown from his own garden and generally making people laugh. Doyle's fiesty wit and child-like sense of humor endeared him to all including his beloved grandchildren, who knew him as the "head honcho."
Myrtle and Doyle were married for nearly 60 years until Myrtle passed away in 2002. They celebrated their 50th anniversary amid throngs of family and friends in Medford in 1992.
Myrtle and Doyle were true examples of what it meant to be part of "the greatest generation". They will be missed by all who knew them.
Doyle was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Myrtle Stockton; and his brothers and sisters, June Brassfield, of Braggs, Okla., Hazel Norman, of Arlington, Texas, Carl Stockton, of Fort Worth, Texas, Cleo Stockton, of Muskogee, Okla. and Orville Stockton, of Muskokee, Okla. Doyle is survived by his three sons, Darryl, Steven and David and their wives, Cheryl, Joan, and Jeannie. His loving family includes seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers and sisters, Don Stockton, of Fort Gibson, Okla., Jean Treadway, of Muskogee, Okla., Bobby Stockton, of Muskogee, Okla., and Tony Stockton, of Tahlequah, Okla.; many nieces and nephews; and his good friend, Georgia Coggins who made his final years so special.
A service will be held at Eagle Point Cemetery on September 5th at 11:00 a.m. and a celebration of Doyle's life with a reception for family and friends will be at the Stockton residence from 2:00 to 4:00.