Yale University

In Memoriam

Lowell Stokes, Jr.

Lowell Stokes, Jr.
1964 graduation


Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY
September 5, 2002

Dr. Lowell Lee Stokes Jr., MD, died Tuesday, September 3, 2002, in Louisville. Born December 26, 1942, in McMinnville, TN, he was the son of Lowell L. Stokes, MD and the former Bennie Hester, both of Tulsa, OK. Growing up in Tulsa, he was a 1960 graduate of Edison High School and continued his education at Yale University, graduating with a degree in economics in 1964 and from the University College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1968.

Dr. Stokes and his young family moved to Louisville in 1969, where he completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Louisville. He was a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy from 1973 to 1975, serving in Memphis, TN. He and his wife, Susan, returned to Louisville to rear their family when he opened his medical office at Baptist East Doctors' Building and practiced for 27 years.

He served on the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and was president of the Kentucky Academy of Ophthalmology. He was a member of
the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Kentucky Academy of Ophthalmology, and both the Kentucky and Jefferson County Medical

Survivors include his wife of 36 years, former State Representative Susan Bush Stokes; three children, Stacey Stokes Roussell, MD and her husband, Scott C. Roussell, of Louisville, and Lowell L. Stokes III, JD and his wife, LeAnn Simmons Stokes, MD, and Andrew K. Stokes and his wife, Carrie Little Stokes, all of Nashville, TN; three grandchildren, Christopher, Benjamin and Beatrice Roussell; his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Lowell L. Stokes of Tulsa; his sister, Farryl J. Stokes of Tulsa; and a nephew, Martin Scott Parker of Louisville.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, September 5, 2002, at Second Presbyterian Church from 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A celebration of life will be held at Second Presbyterian Church on Friday, September 6, 2002, at 11 a.m., with burial at Cane Station Cemetery. Pearson's Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Expressions of sympathy are encouraged to be in the form of contributions to the Lowell L. Stokes Jr., MD Memorial Fund at The Community Foundation of Louisville, Inc., 625 West Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202, in memory of his gentle, caring life.


by Sheldon Leader '64
read at our 40th Reunion
June 4, 2004

I thrived with him ― that's the first thing that comes to mind. We were friends at 15. We shared discovery of penny poker, girls, the anxiety of school work, and whiled away afternoons with such dares as who would cross a canal on top of a narrow wall. In all of this there was a gentle balance. Lowell helped me to see what strength there could be in drawing a tacit line between stretching yourself to meet a challenge and pursuing some image of yourself that takes you close to self-inflation. He was modest, but not timid. It was a modesty built out of an inner balance he had ― where things occupied their instinctively proper place. For those of us who did not have such an instinct, we could see from him what they provided in the large and small things of daily life. But I ― and his other friends ― would not have been so inclined to see this in Lowell had he not had his taste for sheer fun as well. I remember the laughs as we cruised the neighborhood; the drive-in movies with a whole crowd crammed into the back of the station wagon; and our performance at basketball so terrible we could only joke about it. In the fun, as in all else, there was gentleness and balance.

Sometimes there slices across a life an event that ends it in a way totally out of character with the way it has been lived. It ends arbitrarily. In February 2002 Lowell had back surgery, under anesthesia for several hours. During his recovery he fell into a deep depression as an after-effect. In his despair, he took his own life in September.

He has left behind people who can truly say that, with him and through him, they have thrived.