Obituary of Fred Stockdale
Fred Stockdale, former band director at Bridgeport High School from 1976-1983, died in his sleep early on the morning of June 6, 2018, in Bridgeport. He was 84 years old.
While at Bridgeport, he grew the band program to a high of 140 members and re-established a tradition of sweepstakes-winning bands. Twice during his tenure, the Mighty Marching Maroon went to the state marching finals in Austin. Band students who graduated in 1983 never played in a band that made less than a first division in high school competitions.
Previous to Bridgeport, Stockdale was band director at Olton, Lubbock Monterey and Pampa. His Pampa bands achieved notoriety on three occasions. In January 1965, the band hosted two nights of concerts featuring the acclaimed trumpeter Carl “Doc” Severinsen, who would later become leader of the band for NBC’s The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. The “Rodeo Band,” a subset of the full band, was invited to play for the 1964 Rodeo Cowboys Association championship at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, CA. The Pride of Pampa marching band also performed at halftime of a Dallas Cowboys football game in the Cotton Bowl in 1962.
Stockdale was elected 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. He retired in 1998 as Director of Fine Arts for the Azle (TX) Independent School District. His professional career culminated in 2001 when he was honored with election to the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame.
Stockdale was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Ernest Frederick Stockdale, Sr, an attorney, and Alice Eitelman Stockdale, a teacher and artist. He graduated high school in Morton, Texas, and earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in music from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM. He married Jo Armstrong of Clovis, NM, in 1953. The couple had three children – Steve, Freddy and Elizabeth Ann (Lizann) Bridges. Jo died in 1996 from the long-term effects of scleroderma, an autoimmune disease.
After Jo’s death, he married Donna Wagoner in 1997 and combined families to include her children and grandchildren. They moved to Tulsa, OK, where Donna died from cancer in 2005. He later married Juanise Ableson in Tulsa and again expanded his family relationships. Juanise died in 2017 from the effects of a stroke suffered the previous year. For the past few years, Stockdale lived with increasing symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. He died at the Bridgeport Medical Lodge, just a few blocks from Lizann’s home.
He is survived by brother John Stockdale (Albany, TX), sister Linda Sikes (Snohomish, WA), sons Steve (Albuquerque, NM), Freddy (with wife Kay, Gilbert, AZ), daughter Lizann (with husband Tom Bridges in Bridgeport, TX), grand-daughters Addie Bridges (Aurora, TX), Jessica Bridges (Portland, OR), Britni Bridges (Denton, TX), Stacy Stockdale Trotter (McKinney, TX) and his expanded family totaling 10 children, 13 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions for research to discover treatments and cures for scleroderma or Alzheimer’s disease. They also encourage everyone to enjoy their favorite music and support teachers, tutors, directors, and conductors in the development of young musicians and artists.
Fred Stockdale will be remembered on June 29thin the Chisholm Trail Suites at the Decatur Civic Center in Decatur, TX. A private family luncheon will be held at 12:00 noon, followed at 1:30 with a celebration of his life. Friends, former students and colleagues are all invited to attend.