Jack Stokes is a retired professor of speech and theatre from Southwestern Illinois College. He has degrees from three colleges BA (English and Social Studies), Indiana State; MA (English), University of Illinois; and Ph.D. (Speech and Theatre), Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. At Indiana State he was awarded the William C. Ball English Prize in 1950, and at SIU-C, a fellowship in 1968.
He has taught in high school at Basin, Wyoming; in high school at Oblong, Illinois; and in high school and junior college at Belleville, Illinois.
He is a three-year veteran of World War II and a member of the VFW, having spent two and one-half years overseas during the war. One good thing that came out of this experience (besides the satisfaction of having helped save the world) was being stationed in Salzburg at the time of the rebirth of the Salzburg Festival at the end of the war. As he writes this, he is listening to a symphony by Sir Edward Elgar only one of the many composers whose work he enjoys.
He is the author of many plays and readers theatre pieces, among them Wiley and the Hairy Man, published by Dramatic Publishing Company and anthologized in the collection Plays Children Love; The Incredible Jungle Journey of Fenda Maria, anthologized in two collections Contemporary Children’s Theatre and Eight Plays for Youth; and Mama Medea, a one-act play which won first place honors at a national junior college contest in 1974 and is the basis of a movie Mama Medea, produced and directed by Dennis Vaughan.
He is the director of the RSVP Readers Theatre in the county in which he resides. He enjoys directing and acting in local community and college theatrical productions (In November, 2005, he portrayed Mr. DePinna in You Can’t Take It With You. In an earlier production of the same play at McKendree College, he played Grandpa).
In 2001, the Illinois Theatre Association presented him with the Children’s Theatre Award.
He is one half of a marriage (the other half is named Bettie) that has produced four children (Deirdre, Tamara, Shaun and Jay) and, indirectly, three grandchildren (two grandsons and one granddaughter, the latter named Aislinn Johnson). He is proud that one of his grandsons shares his middle name of Tilden (Alexander Tilden Stokes) and that the other will one day, when he learns to talk, answer to his first name of Jack (Jack Theophil Stokes).