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Carole and Craig Stokely

Carole and Craig Stokely

Carole and Craig at Nippert Stadium in the early 1980s. Check out those fashionable pants!

Craig and Carole made the move from Minneapolis to Cincinnati in the early 70’s when Craig’s employer, General Mills, transferred him to their Kenner Toy division.  While Craig learned the toy business as Vice President of Marketing and Product Planning, Carole decided to return to school full-time and finish her degree.  At age 30, Carole enrolled at UC and earned her BA in Management and Marketing in 1977 and her MBA in 1978.  Carole, who was “directionally challenged” with a great spirit of adventure, enjoyed the daily drive from their apartment in Mount Washington to the UC campus where she was President of the UC Women’s Honor Society and a Junior Achievement advisor - and a UC Bearcat to the core.

Their love story began in June of 1969 when Craig, just out of graduate school with an MBA from The Wharton School, was recruited by Carole’s boss at General Mills’ corporate headquarters in Minneapolis.  Carole quickly caught Craig’s eye and even though she turned him down twice when he asked her for a date, the third time turned out to be a charm.  For five months they managed to keep their relationship secret since in those days General Mills - and most other companies - frowned upon employee dating.    They married on January 3, 1970, on a freezing cold day in Minneapolis, and because Craig had not yet accrued vacation days off chose Chicago as their honeymoon destination.  During their three-day weekend, Chicago experienced a major blizzard.  And this was the start of their 40 year marriage.

They moved to Chicago in 1978 and settled in Wayne, where they purchased a historic home built in 1880.   While Carole was working as a branch manager for H&R Block and subsequently with her own tax practice, she found time to personally restore their house, become a Kane County Master Gardener and earn her black belt in Tae Kwan Do - to name a few of her accomplishments.  Craig and Carole founded The Stokely Partnership, a management consulting firm, in 1992 and Carole served as Vice President.  She also served as President of the UC Chicago alumni club.

Carole and Craig Stokely

Carole and Craig on Speaker’s Podium, U.S. House of Representatives

Carole was diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumor in 2007 and for the next 40 months she fought an inspiring battle with brain cancer.  Craig says that Carole never had a bad day and shared her positive and joyful outlook on life with all those she touched with her contagious smile, enthusiasm and spirit.   Although Carole’s illness was treated locally, when they discovered that UC was developing a Brain Tumor Center, Carole, ever the true Bearcat, and Craig decided to make a significant legacy gift to the Brain Tumor Center at the UC Neuroscience Institute for their work in discovering the causes of brain tumors and developing effective treatments.

Carole passed away on November 3, 2010 and is deeply missed by her family and friends, the UC community and, most of all, her devoted husband, Craig.  Thanks, Craig and Carole, for your inspiring story and your gift to UC.