Marvin Edward Stokely, 94, piloted his final flight on Saturday, May 16, 2020, passing away peacefully at his home near Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He was born April 15, 1926, in Washington, D.C. to the late Henry Edward and Helen Tillett Stokely. He attained his pilot’s license as a teenager, and was training in Texas as a U.S. Army Air Corps aviator when World War II ended.
In 1948, Marvin signed on as a purser with burgeoning Piedmont Airlines of Winston Salem, North Carolina. Three years later he moved into the cockpit as a First Officer, but soon became one of Piedmont’s youngest Captains. Marvin flew and piloted DC-3s, F-27s, Martin 404s, YS-11s, and Boeing 737s out of Norfolk, Virginia (1948-1960); Wilmington, North Carolina (1960-1974); and then Norfolk again (1974-1984). He made his last landing in Norfolk after thirty-six years with Piedmont.
In retirement Marvin enjoyed life on the water. He loved boating and exploring the sounds, creeks, and historic sites near his home on Bells Island in Currituck County, and then on Symonds Creek in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. He designed and constructed boats and houses, including his own homes in Wilmington and on Bells Island and Symonds Creek. A skilled handyman and jack-of-all-trades, there was nothing Marvin could not build, fix, or repair. He was also an avid radio control aircraft hobbyist, and willingly shared his passion for flight with young enthusiasts.
Marvin attended Cann Memorial Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth City, and was a member of the Naomi Masonic Lodge No. 87 in Norfolk, the Willis V. Fentress Masonic Lodge No. 296 A.F.& A.M. in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and the Sudan Shriners Temple Divan in New Bern, North Carolina.
Marvin is survived by his daughters, Susan S. Anastasio (Steven) of Lexington, Virginia, Nancy S. Fonvielle (Chris) of Wilmington, North Carolina, and Amy S. Gardner (Eric) of Virginia Beach, Virgina. He also leaves behind his grandchildren, Robert Anastasio (Kate), Laura Anastasio McCulley (Joey), Mary Fonvielle, Anne Fonvielle, Grace Gardner, and Sophie Gardner, and great grandchildren, Jack and Henry Anastasio, all of whom he shared with his former wife, Constance Evans Stokely of Leland, North Carolina. The family wishes to recognize Marvin’s cherished friend Peggy West of Elizabeth City and her family, with whom Marvin shared a treasured friendship during the past twenty years.
Everyone and anyone who met Marvin knew him as a kind and giving person, and a true Southern gentleman. He will be missed greatly, but remembered fondly. Fly High, Piedmont Speedbird.
Memorial donations in honor of Marvin Edward Stokely may be made to the American Cancer Society, 930 Wellness Drive # B, Greenville, North Carolina 27834, a food bank, or a charity of choice. Twiford Funeral Home, Memorial Chapel, 405 East Church Street, Elizabeth City 27909 is serving Marvin’s loving daughters and their families. Online memorial condolences may be sent to the family at www.TwifordFH.com.
Twiford Funeral Home (Elizabeth City)
405 East Church Street,