Robert Glenn Stokes, 84, went to his heavenly home on April 26, 2020. In departing this world, he leaves a legacy as a devoted husband, beloved father and grandfather, respected friend, mentor and community leader.
Born in Lake Wales to Pauline and Robert Ewell Stokes, Bobby was President of Key Club and participated in high school football, basketball, baseball and golf. He attended Emory University on a baseball scholarship and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order. Because of his interest in his family’s citrus business, Bobby earned a B.S. degree in Citrus at Florida Southern College. He served as a Captain in the Air Force Reserves before graduating from Stetson Law School with a J.D.
In August of 1961, Bobby married his hometown sweetheart, Patricia Kelly, and shared his life with her for almost 59 years. They moved to Tallahassee where Bobby worked for the Florida Secretary of State and Attorney General.
Being appointed to the District Court of Appeals in 1963, Bobby moved with Patsy to Lakeland. After the birth of their son Jeffrey in 1966, Bobby established his private practice. Daughter Jenny Kay joined the family in January 1971. He was appointed judge in the 10th Circuit Court by Governor Rubin Askew in 1973.
Through the years, Bobby continued his private practice while managing his family’s citrus and cattle ranch. His children will always remember the way he picked a tree-ripened orange and peeled and cored it just for them to taste. Many Thanksgivings were spent at the ranch as well as riding horses and feeding the cows from the back of a pick-up truck.
An early leader in mediation services, Bobby partnered with Buddy Clark with their company Sunshine Mediation. Recognizing his skills in the field, Governor Bob Graham appointed Bobby as the first Official Mediator in Florida. During his 59-year legal career, Bobby was a member of the law firm of Lane Trohn and Gray Harris then later Gray Robinson.
In addition to his many professional accomplishments, Bobby was a committed member of the community. He served as the Lay Leader of the First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, and a long-time and much-beloved teacher of the Vanguard Sunday School Class. He was a long-term Board Member for Citrus & Chemical Bank and served as Trustee and Member of the Education Committee for Florida Southern College. Being an active member of the Citrus Center Kiwanis Club, Bobby was elected President and State Governor. His leadership skills were put to good use as a Member and President of the Polk County Farm Bureau.
Bobby’s love of his community involved support of many ministries and charities, including the Madison Youth Ranch, Anchor House, Youth for Christ, and Bok Tower Gardens.
Bobby was a fan of Will Rogers, of whom, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” He was quick with a story or two, and a smile that was warm and inviting. Among his favorite things were times spent with his family and friends at Daytona Beach and Blowing Rock, North Carolina. His enduring legacy is highlighted by his wife of 59 years, Patsy; his children Jeff and Jenny Kay; daughter-in-law Kim; and granddaughter Katherine.
During this unusual time, graveside services are limited to family. However, a silent vehicle memorial procession is allowed at Oak Hill Burial Park 11:00 am on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Flags will be provided.
Memorial donations may be made to United Methodist Church Madison Youth Ranch at 51 Children’s Way, Enterprise, Florida 32725 or Youth for Christ, P.O. Box 2584, Winter Haven, Florida 33883-2584.
Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.