Mary J. Stocker

Honored by:Diane M. Meyer
Brick location:B:12  map

Message from Paul, referring to Phoebe who was visiting Rome. (Romans 16:2) "I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you for she has been a great help to many people, including me." N.I.V.

brick/brik I. a unit of building 2. a good-hearted person

A brick is the most symbolic tribute we can think of to honor our mother with. She is solid. She is strong. She is a good-hearted person. She realizes that all individuals are just building blocks; one is nothing by itself, but many together can create an amazing, beautiful, all-enduring, structure. One that will face adversity and withstand the test of time. A brick has insulating properties; it surrounds, it protects, and provides shelter to that which is within its walls.

This is to introduce Mary J. Stocker to those of you who have never met her. Many of you may know someone like her; where you work, in your community, at your church, or if you're lucky (like we are) in your family. We hope you know her I because our future depends on women like her who are out there quietly giving their generous gifts of time, spirit, and money.

Mary J. Wiley, graduated salutatorian of her high school class in 1950. She didn't go on to a formal college education, but elected instead to enter the work force took the Merit System Test and worked for about seven years as a secretary for the Department of Health in the tuberculosis division and later for Vocational-Rehab. Mary then married E. Dean Stocker in 1955 and spent the next two years helping support her husband while he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University. She would enter the work force again in 1977 when he ventured into his own practice. She continued to work outside the home while two daughters were in college, then all three were there at one time! This is just one of many ways she would show support for her family over the years.

Nineteen fifty-seven, 1960, and 1964, brought three daughters into the family. All three would mature and receive degrees from Iowa State. Three sons were born in 1963, 1967, & 196S. Two survived and received college degrees from the University of Northern Iowa. This is one of the reasons we feel this tribute is fitting. Very few parents can tout that all of their children are college graduates, but Mom always encouraged us to do the best we could in school and gave us the freedom to choose our occupations based on our interests and abilities. She ensured that we had a foundation in the church and taught us to live our lives with no sex-role stereotypes or prejudice. She encouraged individuality and supported whatever clubs, organizations, or hobbies we had. She became involved in Girl Scouts, 4-H, Tap Dance & Ballet lessons, Band Parents, PTA, & Drama to name a few; lending a hand in whatever way we needed.

She saw us through childhood, puberty, teens, and adulthood. She is there now as she was then with a listening heart that helps us sort everything out without extending advice. Whether its business, relationships, or family concerns, she always seems to have just the right thing to say. Her life has changed some since all of us have left the homestead. We know it's much quieter but she now has more time for herself and Dad. They are doing lots of traveling and she spends many hours working in her garden and greenhouse or enjoying the habits of birds as they come and go outside her sunroom.

And then there is her life-long involvement with church activities. Her love of music has been displayed in a variety of ways whether she's at the piano, the organ, or most recently with bells as part of a choir. She has worked hard to overcome her shyness in order to become an effective public speaker. We enjoy teasing her about the "hot potatoes" she keeps bringing to the front burner; topics like AIDS, homelessness, and racism. She is concerned about missions both at home and away and continues to quietly go along doing what is right and seldom receiving any recognition for it, which is her way.

But this is our way, the three daughters of Iowa State, to proclaim to all who gather here that our mother is the most important woman in our lives. She is not a doctor or scientist - just one of the many women throughout the world who, day-by-day, in both big and small ways, makes a difference within her own family and the community in which she lives. She belongs in this community of women, these "bricks" that have formed a foundation for the rest of us to build upon. What beautiful structure will we create? Only time will tell, but for now we are proud to dedicate this brick into the Plaza of Heroines to honor Mary J. Stocker, our mother.

Diane Marie Stocker Meyer
Carol Sue Stocker
Nancy Lynn (Stocker) Lanqstraat

(Isiah 40:31) "but those whose hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” N.I.V