One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
— Robert Frost

Thomas Virgil Stockdale (Tom), age 82, passed away on June 9, 2016 at his home in St. Louis, Missouri. He was born on July 27, 1933, in Peoria Illinois.

Tom was class president of Manual Training High School, graduated from Bradley University and received his Bachelors of Divinity from the University of Chicago in 1960. He was an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and served churches in Arcadia, Michigan, Nelsonville, Ohio, Hays, Kansas, Bellevue, Nebraska, Camp Springs, Maryland, and St. Louis, Union Avenue Christian Church (UACC), where he was honored as Minister Emeritus. In addition, he served as interim minister of Webster Groves Christian Church and Lees Summit Christian Church in Missouri, and as interim area minister of the Southeast Gateway Area of the Christian Church in Mid-America.

As Senior Minister of UACC Tom was devoted to his congregation as well as to various community outreach initiatives, including opening the doors of the church to Food Outreach, which fed men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS. Later he was instrumental in welcoming youth groups from all over the country to stay in the Urban Mission Inn and serve in various outreach ministries in St. Louis. Tom encouraged and supported one of the most stellar choirs in any congregation and for the music director to begin the Union Avenue Opera. He was a founding creator of the Interfaith Sidebar (Film and Faith) of the St. Louis Film Festival.

Tom was an avid photographer, golfer, and a lover of Labrador retrievers. He was a patron of the arts in many forms, including photography, painting, sculpture, music, cinematic arts, theater and poetry.

Tom married Patricia Gibson (Pat) in 1955 and they were married for more than 61 years; a marriage his children describe as one of those rare friendships and loves that lasted a lifetime. He is survived by his wife Pat, four children and their partners: Pam Milley & Roy Krieger, Peggy Stockdale & Michael Heck, Tim & Liz Stockdale, & Katie Horner, and his nine grandchildren: Sarah, Chelsea, Mary, Margo, Susan, Hannah, Geoffrey, Anna and Ava, his brother, Jim Stockdale, and his trusted Labrador, Harry Truman. He was preceded in death by his parents, Catherine and Virgil Stockdale.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 11 a.m. at Union Avenue Christian Church on Saturday, July 30, 2016 (733 Union Blvd., St. Louis 63108). Donations and remembrances may be sent to Union Avenue Christian Church.