Plane crash victim was
June 12, 2008 · Updated 9:59 AM
"Tom Stockley, one of the 88 people killed in an airliner crash off the California coast Monday, was just a great guy, said one of his former South Kitsap High School classmates.He was very kind--not an enemy in the world, said Merle Stedman, who graduated with Stockley in 1954.Stedman said the two remained close friends. Stockley and his family usually attended an annual Memorial Day picnic at Stedman's house in the Hood Canal area.It was always his job to make the guacamole, because his was so great, Stedman said of Stockley, a longtime wine columnist for the Seattle Times.Stockley and his wife, Margaret, were aboard the Alaska Airlines plane that plunged into the Pacific Ocean. Federal investigators said the pilots struggled with mechanical problems in the aircraft for several minutes before the crash. The flight began in Mexico and was en route to Seattle when the accident occurred.Stedman said he knew his old buddy and wife were in Mexico because a mutual friend told him over lunch a week before the crash.Stockley moved to the Port Orchard area from Bremerton as a teenager. His parents once owned a gas station and store--now known as PJ's Market--on Mile Hill Drive. They died years ago, according to Stedman.In high school, Stockley was the master of ceremonies for the student talent show and worked on the student newspaper. He went on to Olympic College and then to the University of Washington to study journalism, graduating in 1958, Stedman said.Two years ago, the Stockleys got their first grandchildren from daughters Paige and Dina, both of Seattle. That really seemed to make Tom and Margaret's life complete, Stedman related.Four Kitsap County residents--Robert and Lorna Thorgrimson and Bob and Patty Williams, all of the North Kitsap area--also died in Monday's crash."