Glenn Stockwell

In all this writing over the past couple days, what I have not written about is the passing of Glenn Stockwell. I want to offer beautiful sentences that reflect my respect and appreciation of the man, which would be easier to do when I’m not tired or busy. But since I’m always tired and busy, I’ve instead said nothing. That won’t do.

I met Glenn – always “Stockwell,” back then – when taking poli sci at CR. My anticipations, colored by high school history teachers, were low. The children’s school hadn’t started when CR’s semester did, so I had Nick and Kaylee both with me, sitting on the steps of the theater-seating classroom. One of them ruffled some drawing paper during Stockwell’s opening lecture, and he asked them to be quieter, putting me on the defensive. But after class, he made a point of being kind, winning me over right then. I learned over the years of his own jobs and travels, his own experiences raising children – but first, I learned, for a brief and shining moment, how the electoral college worked. He explained the workings of politics in better terms than anyone. It was akin to having a mechanic tell you how to rebuild a transmission in such a way that you understood and were confident you could show someone else how to, too.

That was the spring semester I’d bought a surfboard with my student loan check. While asking advice from a fellow student, Stockwell happened by. The guy I was talking to pulled him into the conversation and from there evolved a surf-buddy relationship that included many lifts out to the Jetty, several day trips to Crescent City and an endless supply of surf advice and stories.

Glenn was sharp, offering up commentary to the radio news, and funny, never at a loss for a smart ass remark – as often directed at himself as his friends, and never mean. Charming – a bit of roguishness in his teasing. He was kind, welcoming Nick or Kaylee to accompany us on a surf run, encouraging me when I felt like a kook beyond hope. I never thought of him as a father figure, but I often thought if my own dad hadn’t gone the Rush-Limbaugh-Republican route, he’d be a lot like Glenn.

I knew Glenn’s chances of recovery were slight, but what my brain knew and my heart felt didn’t match. The news that he had passed away still shocked me. He was just so alive a moment ago. His departure feels abrupt. I want to yell out, Don’t leave!

I will really miss him.

I also really admire and appreciate his son Eric for taking on the added responsibility of keeping us all informed about Glenn’s status. Thank you.

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8 thoughts on “Glenn Stockwell”

  1. I enjoyed reading about your first experience with Stockwell. Mine was a bit different. He was already a legend in my mind by the time I got to take his political science class because Scott had already taken his class and Glenn had already gotten Scott totally addicted to surfing. I went into that class knowing full well that I was going to be utterly entertained while learning all about my government. The added bonus for me was that Glenn was testifying before congress for Surfrider at the time so I got to hear all about that in class. He really taught me that if you believe in something you SHOULD stand up and do something to make a difference. He was one of the greatest teachers in my life.

  2. Charming – a bit of roguishness in his teasing. When you work at CR, even for a while, you hear about Glenn Stockwell yet I had not met him until I “waitressed” at his table at CR’s 40th birthday tea. He didn’t seem like a tea and cakes kinda guy so it was fun listening to him with his table mates. I felt included and, as they say, you tell a lot about a person by how they treat the little people. Your comment is exactly how he struck me. I’ve heard warm memories from Bill Hoopes and Mike Wells over the past months about surfing safaris, dawn discoveries of naked Solstice celebrants at Camel Rock and other such adventures. I’m sorry I never got to take one of his classes. You can also tell a lot about a man by the people who grieve for him. Condolences to all.

  3. Really nice thoughts, Jen. Thanks for sharing them and for being such a great friend to my Dad and our family. I’m proud of my Dad for many things, and the diverse community that emerged in support of him is a good reflection of the reasons for my pride.

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