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Remembering David Stockstill

Local historian David Stockstill passed away at the age of 77 on Saturday, Feb. 21, but the impressions he left on the city of Picayune can be heard in the words of the people who knew him best.

“He was my oldest brother, and I always admired him because he worked and studied so hard,” said Diane Alsobrooks, “He loved theology, music and history, and he dedicated his life to studying those subjects.”

A native of New Orleans, La., Stockstill lived in Picayune for most of his life. After retiring from education, he volunteered as the city’s historian and was a key figure in securing grant funding for the development of the Intermodal Tourist Center, according to his obituary.

Stockstill also served as an instrumental contributor to the Lower Pearl River Valley Transportation Museum, which is located inside Picayune’s Intermodal Tourist Center. Museum Railmaster Gary Herring said he knew Stockstill for 10 years, but wishes he had known him longer.

“Whenever anyone had a question about anything, we would say ‘Call David,’” said Herring, “He knew everything about the town’s history.”

Herring said Stockstill was a multi-faceted individual who was skilled in the arts of photography and music. When the two men were working together in the development of the museum, Herring said he and Stockstill spent four days sifting through stacks of photographs to hang in the museum. To this day, most of the pictures that hang on the wall were donated by Stockstill.

Herring added that Stockstill would be missed throughout the community.

Fellow Picayune historian Don Wicks said Stockstill was an expert on music, religion and history, and added that he never turned away anyone who sought help or knowledge in any of those subjects.

Picayune Main Street Director Reba Beebe praised Stockstill for his contributions to the museum and added that he was a great man.

Picayune City Manager Jim Luke said that Stockstill was a great historian and a great writer who strongly influenced him when he was writing his book.

“Winston Churchill said, ‘Without a knowledge of history, how can we understand the present or plan for the future,’” said Luke, “David Stockstill helped us understand our history.”

Luke added that Stockstill was a class act and a true southern gentleman.

Funeral services for Stockstill were held on Monday, Feb. 23 at McDonald Funeral Home in Picayune.