Werner Walter Stocker, 76, of Fort Myers, passed away peacefully, on July 9, 2020, of cancer, at Health Park Hope Hospice in Fort Myers, FL.
He was a husband of 41 years, a father, teacher, soccer coach, history teacher, German teacher, translator, historian, and Lee County Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 1987. He was also sponsor of the WBBH Student A-Team Quiz Bowl contest, sponsor for over 25 years of Lee County Schools student foreign travel education program for high school students, and mentor to many students to further their interest in history, humanities and culture.
He was a member of the Austrian Aircraft Historians, the International Plastic Modelers Association, and served on many committees in the Lee County Schools to write curriculum.
One accomplishment of which he is very proud, was to author a book on World War II military history. He also translated many books from German to English for Classic Publications, England.
His interest in aviation history had its origins in the environment in which he grew up in post WWII Vienna. His most vivid memories are of playing in bombed out ruins. Almost all male members of his family served in the military fueling his interest in the time period.
His interests were building military models, researching WWII military history and he was a member of the Caloosa Plastic Modelers in Fort Myers, RLM website contributor and author. As well as, being a lover of classical music and music by the Beatles.
Werner was born in Vienna, Austria on September 11, 1943, to Erna Marie Stocker and Walter Wilhelm Stocker. He emigrated with his parents in 1956 to Massachusetts, where he attended school and received his Masters Degree in European history and German from the University of Connecticut. He taught 29 years at Cypress Lake High school, 1979 to 1999. He is survived by his wife Susan Stocker, son and daughter in law, Kristen Stocker and Lilian of San Rafael, CA., daughter and son in law, April (Ketron) Weich and Bradley, and grandsons Tyler Ketron and Richard Weich; all of Fort Myers, FL.
Considering current Covid 19 Pandemic restrictions, matched with the family’s wishes, a memorial service will be held at a later date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to Hope Hospice at Health Park for the children’s programs and needy families at Hospice. Baldwin Brothers Funeral & Cremation Society, Fort Myers, assisted with arrangements.
He had a heart for people and loved being a teacher for so long. As the years passed, we spent so many good times in Europe and his affect on so many of his students has been such a joy to read. He made a difference. To them and to me.
You know I'm here for you.
I met Werner Stocker through our wives, who remain closest friends some 40 years hence. We have eaten, drunk, vacationed, laughed, commiserated and argued ever since. If there were any things Werner loved as much as Susan (however remotely possible) it would have been good arguments. And he was a great debater.
Werner loved talking politics, although we more often commiserated than argued in the Age of Trump. We were unabashed flaming liberals who counted Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 among the worst imaginable days of our lives. If he can, I have no doubt he somehow will mail in his 2020 vote from the great beyond, just to spite The Donald's predictions of fraud.
Werner was a great American, perhaps as only the foreign-born can be. His father, he did not mind saying, fought for the Nazis in WWII. But Werner came of age in Massachusetts, as American as those forebears who tossed their king's tea into Boston Harbor. No one loved the Red Sox ever more, although he had reservations about the Patriots. He couldn't abide cheaters. Walked out of the house once, when I wouldn't take back a Scrabble play he deemed illegal.
Werner wasn't what you'd call a serious angler, but he loved to go fishing. Once, at Punta Rassa, he landed a dandy redfish that, I was obligated to note, was too big to legally keep. Werner might well have liked eating fish as much as catching them, and he never quite got his mind around the concept of a fish too big to keep. He never let me forget how I ruined his perfect day.
Werner was the personification of perfection in many other ways: teacher, mentor, historian, soccer coach, and friend. His stentorian recitations of how it was, and why, will be remembered forever by the thousands of high schoolers who passed his way. And by Grace and me.
Godspeed, my friend.
Our sincere condolences, Susan. You both have been such great friends to my sister, Grace and her husband, Byron.
Mike & Julie Durrance
A wonderful trip together