David Stocks, who passed away at age 87 at his Penticton home on Sept. 26, 2020, directed $50,000 in his will to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.
David was the youngest child of Lumb and Marion Stocks and the brother of the late Jack Stocks, who preserved an extensive collection of photographs from the early-to-mid 1900s in what is known as the Stocks Family Collection. Born in Penticton, David spent much of his early school years at a boarding school in Vernon. He eventually became an accountant, living in Vancouver, Toronto and other cities before returning to Penticton.
Brian Wilson, executive director of the Okanagan Archives Trust Society, said he first met David in 1979 after Jack Stocks passed away from cancer. Jack had taken over the Stocks Cameras shop in downtown Penticton following their father’s death in 1948. “Most of the historical information we have in our (Archives Trust) Society is basically from that period when Jack was a very prolific photographer,” Wilson said.
Following his brother’s death, David Stocks asked Wilson to help him assess all the photos kept at the shop. “We discovered 180,000 negatives and photographs in the basement of the store – all well-catalogued and in boxes,” he said. “I then took all those negatives and photos and sorted them.”
Many of them were family photographs from the Stocks’ customers over the years. However, others were of much more significant historical importance – also involving other photographers from the early 1900s.
“It was about 60 years of history which they had kept together in one place, which is a miracle actually. We sorted it down to a collection of about 5,000 pieces which were of historical importance.”
A few years later, David Stocks approached Wilson again to create a more formal catalogue of the Stocks photos which was presented to the Penticton Museum. David and some other local photographers later decided to establish the Okanagan Archives Trust, with Brian Wilson becoming its executive-director.
David Stocks was very aware of the historical significance of the family’s photo collection and was proud to help preserve it. A Stocks photo looking north over Okanagan Lake was depicted on the back of the Canadian $100 bill for many years, after being purchased by the federal mint.
“Penticton would not have a real record of its history – everything from Native folks to people working, to the boats, trains and planes – if not for this amazing collection,” Wilson said.
David Stocks also became involved in the SS Sicamous Restoration Society, acquiring the salon of the SS Okanagan paddlewheeler and helping fund the restoration of CN Tug No. 6, now moored beside the Sicamous.
David also sang with the Naramata Choir for a number of years, as well as men’s choirs in Toronto and Vancouver. The Stocks Chair at Apex Resort is named after Jack Stocks, who was active in Scouting and Apex during its early years. David Stocks’ health declined in recent years and he spent considerable time in hospital which was a key reason he donated to PRH through the SOS Medical Foundation.
The colourized photo of Skaha Lake (shown at top) from years ago is part of the Stocks Family Collection.