Beth K. Stocker (Anne Elizabeth Kilpatrick) was born on March 15, 1908 in Faribault, Minnesota to Walter M. and Elizabeth (Smith) Kilpatrick. Before settling on a 30-acre farm near Delaware, Ohio, she and her family lived in several different communities because of her father’s ongoing work as a superintendent of State Residential Schools for the Deaf. Beth had one younger brother, whom everyone called Pat.
Beth graduated at age 20 from Ohio University with a BS degree in Biology. From 1928-1935, she was employed as a research bacteriologist by the New York City Board of Health Research Laboratories, working on the development of vaccines. She married C. Paul Stocker on August 5, 1930. Beth wore her grandmother’s wedding dress for the marriage ceremony, which was performed by her grandfather, a retired minister.
After they were married, the couple moved into an apartment in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. For the next two years, Paul and Beth enjoyed the pleasures of excellent jobs and the cultural offerings of metropolitan New York City. When the Great Depression hit, Paul was “terminated with regret” from Bell Laboratories. Paul and Beth were no longer able to afford their apartment in Lyndhurst, and moved to Rutherford, New Jersey. Although Beth maintained her job, her salary was reduced to $80 a month, which represented the couples’ sole source of income.
Beth resigned her position in November 1935 to join her husband in Lorain, Ohio, the location of his newly founded company, Lorain Products. On January 1, 1936, Lorain Products announced the official opening of its business. Under Paul’s steadfast leadership, the company continued to grow, developing and manufacturing hundreds of products for communications and industry. Lorain Products grew to over 1,000 employees and had numerous plants in northern Ohio, Canada and Mexico. To this day, the Sub-Cycle remains the longest continuously manufactured part in the telephone industry. Paul Stocker retired in 1973. Paul and Beth spent the next several years traveling. Paul’s health began to decline, and he died on August 23, 1978.
In 1979, Beth established The Stocker Foundation and served as president of the board until 2003. She often described the foundation as a “business with a heart” and was particularly pleased that four generations of her family were actively involved with the foundation either by serving on the board, the Junior Board, or a standing committee.
Beth’s personal philanthropy was quiet but significant and reflected strong personal and family values. She was a long-time community leader and volunteer. Beth was a 70-year member of First Congregational Church UCC of Lorain and of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Among her many civic involvements over the years, she had a leadership role in Girl Scouts of Erie Shores, Boy Scouts of American – Heart of Ohio Council (Distinguished Citizen Award), Lorain YWCA, Lorain Palace Civic Center, LCCC Foundation, Round Table, Wimodaughsis, Alpha Pi Sigma, Sorosis, and Eastside Literary Club. She was also an active volunteer at Kendal. Over the years she was recognized for her volunteerism and leadership, including Woman of the Year (Quota Club 1968); Women of Achievement (YWCA 1998); and the Eric C. Nord Leadership Award (Leadership Lorain County 1999). In 2003, Ohio University presented her with an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree. In 2005, LCCC honored Stocker by naming their art gallery, The Beth K. Stocker Art Gallery and she was also honored by Camp Timberlane Girls Scouts of Erie Shores. Ohio University also awarded her with a Founders Citation for her exemplary service to O.U. Beth especially enjoyed time with her family and friends, reading, world travel, and gardening. On August 23, 2005, Beth died at her home in Oberlin, Ohio. She was 97.