SALT LAKE CITY - On January 19, 2014, the Materials Science & Engineering family lost a budding young alum, brilliant engineer and great friend on the passing of Jason Lynn Stoker (B.S./M.S., Utah '11). Jason was remembered by the MSE department as being brilliant, engaging, the kindest of friends and a risk taker. A true engineer. It wasn't surprising to have Jason come to school with a broken arm, sitting in a wheelchair with two broken ankles or a new "battle wound" to show off. Risk was the spice of Jason's life.
Jason's kindness, friendship and distinct laugh will never be forgotten. He was quick to find a solution to a problem whether for a friend or his lab. His selflessness to offer a willing hand will be extremely missed.
A number of Jason's friends, faculty and staff from the Materials Science & Engineering have offered to share a few of their own memories of him ...
"Jason was a brilliant student with a fine brain and a heart pure as gold. He joined my group in Fall 2006 as an undergraduate researcher and graduated in 2012 with a MS degree. In those 6 years, he did so much work for the lab and the department that it will be impossible to forget him ever. Even after graduating, Jason was in constant touch with me. He was full of ideas and always ready to help other students in the lab. It is extremely painful to believe that the most important stone of our landscape will henceforth be missing, we are all the poorer for it."
Dr. Ashutosh Tiwari, MSE Professor & Jason's Faculty Advisor
"I remember Jason attending my Thermodynamics class several years ago. He stood out as someone who showed a high level of curiosity and would often ask questions after class. My condolences to his family at this difficult time."
Dr. Feng Liu, MSE Department Chair
"Jason was a student in MSE during my term as Chair. He often used to come to my office to ask me questions on various subjects even though he was not in any of the classes I taught. I noted that he had a sincere desire to learn. He would also often use equipment in my lab for departmental undergraduate labs. There were several instances when many pieces of equipment were not operating properly. He took the initiative to either fix the equipment himself or arrange to have it fixed. This required considerable effort and time on his part. His willingness to this without any personal benefit to himself showed me he was truly committed to the MSE department, students, staff and faculty. Above all, Jason was a very pleasant individual. I will miss him."
Dr. Anil V. Virkar, MSE Distinguished Professor & Former MSE Department Chair
"Jason Stoker was a natural leader and one of my closest friends. I can truly say that I am a better person for having known Jason. He always inspired me to push harder whether it was during late night study sessions, research in the lab, or backpacking trips in the back country. His passion for science was contagious and he loved the many volunteer hours he spent teaching kids through our department outreach program. Jason stood up for what he believed in and was never afraid to speak his mind. He was the kind of friend that would drop everything and spend the weekend helping a poor college student (me) fix his car. Jason – you will be profoundly missed."
Jason Merrell, Classmate & Friend (Ph.D. candidate)
"Jason Stoker was one of those rare individuals that could positively affect those he came in contact with. He had a constant upbeat personality and always greeted me with a bear hug. His inquisitive mind made him a great engineer, scientist and a great friend to have around, always will to go out of his way to help you out. He loved his family, he loved adventure. Jason will be deeply missed by me."
Michael Sygnatowicz, Materials Characterization Lab Director, Classmate & Friend (PhD candidate)
"There was no downtime when you were with Jason, his mind was always going. Whether it was trying to understand the thermodynamics equations or fixing the SEM (again...), it was always an adventure and a new goal for him. You could tell that Jason was a true engineer. Jason was an amazing friend and I always felt honored to be part of his life. It was so much fun to see what he would think of next and how he would always accomplish his goals. I will miss him extremely, but he will always live on in our memories."
Ashley Cook, Classmate & Friend(BS, Utah '10)
"The two things I will always think of when I think of Jason is his infectious personality and sense of adventure. It was never a surprise when you would hear about Jason's latest broken bone. What would you expect from someone who constantly look for adventure in his life? More than anything I am going to miss Jason's laugh and willing heart. He would do anything for anyone on the drop of a dime. A trait that all Stokers are known for. He's missed by many.
Joshua Snow Hansen, MSE Office Clerk & Family Friend
"From the moment Jason walked into my office I have enjoyed his contagious personality. He lit up any room he entered. He was always quick to make you laugh or to cheer you up if you were having a bad day. He knew how far he could push to get what he wanted without over stepping the bounds ... most of the time. He was as big as life itself. He lived life to the fullest and I believe enjoyed every minute of it. He was not only book smart, but he was also applied smart. He could solve any problem put in front of him and was a true engineer. He will truly be missed."
Ashley Quimby, MSE Academic Advisor
“Everyone’s life changed when Jason Stoker enrolled as a student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. There was no possible way not to know Jason….he was not just another student…..he was an individual that when he walked out of your office you realized that you would always remember him as he had touched your life and that memory would always be there. I had the opportunity to work closely with Jason when he was assigned to work in the Materials Characterization Lab as the student supervisor. Some of the equipment in the lab was showing signs of aging and needed “help” I gave Jason a list of contacts that he could call to have the necessary repairs done. Jason looked at the list, gave it back to me and said I can fix that, remember I was a plumber before I became a student … not a problem, just give me your approval and I will take care of … and take care of it he did, time after time after time. I finally told him he had more important things to do, like study and spending time with his family and he certainly needed some down time. He just laughed, his contagious laugh, “don’t worry, I will make the time”… I loved his laugh and the many hours we talked and planned department business and the many times when he came in my office, limping or in a cast and I voiced my concern. He looked at me with his twinkling eyes, laughed and said ”I’m fine, I will heal, I was just having fun”. Jason was brilliant, he was a true scientist and engineer. He loved visiting the schools teaching students of all ages the wonders of science and the excitement of being an engineer. Jason would do anything to help anyone. He loved his family and was so proud when his son was born. I will miss his visits, his enthusiasms and sometimes his frustrations … but I will never forget Jason.”
Marilyn Bishop, MSE Administrative Officer