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A Wetzel and Son Obituary for:
Charles Sommers Stokes III
April 24, 1929 - July 4, 2022

Public Events and Locations

Memorial Service - Saturday, July 30, 2022, 2:00 PM at Spring House Estates, Lower Gwynedd


Funeral Home - Wetzel and Son Funeral Home - 501 Easton Road, Willow Grove, PA 19090 - 215-659-0911 - Map
Clergy - First Presbyterian Church of Warminster - 500 Madison Avenue, Warminster, PA 18974 - 215-675-0801 - Map
Place - Spring House Estates - 728 Norristown Road, Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002 - 215-628-8110 - Map
Donation - ACTS Legacy Foundation - 420 Delaware Drive, PO Box 2222, Fort Washington, PA 19034 - 215-628-8110 - Map
Donation - American Chemical Society - 1155 16th Street NW, Washington , DC 20036 - 202-872-4094 - Map

Charles Sommers Stokes, III of Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania passed away on Monday, July 4, 2022 at Spring House Estates.  He was 93 years old.  Charles was born April 24, 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of the late Charles Sommers Stokes Jr. and the late Marion Ray Riedemann (nee - Gery) and her husband the late Walter Joseph.  He is the beloved husband of Suzanne (nee Boyd) Stokes; father of Carol S. Barker and her husband Jeffrey, and David G. Stokes and his wife Kathryn; grandfather of Heather Stemp and her husband Christopher, Timothy Smith and his wife Danielle, Paul Stokes and his wife Allie, and Emily Stokes; great grandfather of Austin and Finn Stemp, a Smith baby boy on the way, and Wyatt Stokes. Step-brother of Mary Sorensen and the late Walter J. “Mickey” Riedemann and uncle to their children.

Charles was born, raised, and educated in Philadelphia. He graduated from Central High School, in the 188th Class (1947). He continued his education at Ursinus College, with a B. S. in Chemistry, in 1951. He then went on to earn a M. S. in Chemistry from Temple University, in 1953. Charles and Suzanne were high school sweethearts. They have been happily married for over 67 years. 

Charles worked for many years as a Principal Scientist and Research Program Director for the Franklin Institute (later Franklin Research Center) and Germantown Laboratories. He had a long career in research and development of satellite chemical release instrumentation and upper atmosphere chemical release sounding rocket payloads, having participated in more than 100 payload launches for NASA and the Air Force. His studies included the earth’s upper atmospheric winds and composition, and the earth’s magnetic fields. He also performed research in plasma jet chemistry, detonation studies, coal-oil combustion, and high temperature reactions. When he first retired, he taught science majors for 10 years in the Chemistry Lab of Penn State University. He has over 60 publications in his fields of expertise and holds 5 patents.

Charles was also an avid member of his church. He served as an elder, deacon, clerk of session, and on various committees at the First Presbyterian Church of Willow Grove, the First Presbyterian Church of Warminster, and the Presbytery of Philadelphia. During his later years, he served as president of the Resident’s Association and served on the A/V, Safety, Liaison, and Concert Forum committees at Spring House Estates. Charles was a proud member of the American Chemical Society for over 60 years and served as president of the Pennsylvania section of the American Institute of Chemists. He also served as vice president of the local section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Charles enjoyed family events, cameras, sporting events, music, and travel.

Relatives and friends were invited to his memorial service on Saturday, July 30, 2022 at 2:00 P.M. at Spring House Estates, 728 Norristown Road, Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002.

Religious services were conducted by The Rev. Mindy Campbell from First Presbyterian Church of Warminster, 500 Madison Avenue, Warminster, PA 18974.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Chemical Society (supports scholarships and mentoring for students from groups underrepresented in chemistry) 1155 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036 or the Acts Samaritan Fund, 420 Delaware Avenue, PO Box 2222, Fort Washington, PA 19034 (provides financial support for Acts members in need) in his memory would be appreciated.

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