Of Cabbages and Kings
An article in the Sept. 30, 1982 Cheney Free Press states, “Another new dentist has moved to Cheney and will be opening a new practice at 1705 Second Street in the Morlan Homes complex.”
Bob Stockton received a degree in pharmacy from Idaho State University. He said it was a great background for the field of dentistry, for which he received a degree at the University of Washington. He and fellow graduates practiced writing prescriptions as legibly as possible, helping to erase the old story that doctors always scribble. He has also taught clinical dental hygiene courses at EWU over the past 20 years.
The Stocktons, like many other people, noticed Cheney’s friendly, small town atmosphere, a place they could call home and become active in the community. They already had one friend in town. Bob Stockton and Tom Whitfield, another local dentist, had gone to school together at the University of Washington. Shawnna Stockton had gone to graduate school with Marian Whitfield (Tom’s sister) and both received their masters in speech communications in 1981.
The Stocktons said, “October this year is our 30th anniversary in opening the dental clinic. We had an open house that year, inviting Cheney to get acquainted with us.” Shawnna Stockton had invited her grandfather, Dr. Rex Walenta, a professor at the University of Idaho School of Law. In walked Cheneyite attorney Bob Corlett. He and professor Walenta looked at each other in surprise. “What are you doing here?” they both exclaimed. Walenta had been Corlett’s professor at the Law School in the 1960s.
Is the Stockton story full of surprises? Maybe. Here’s how Bob and Shawnna met: Bob Stockton was a greeter at a 1973 “little sister” fraternity party at Idaho State University in Pocatello. Shawnna was the first person he greeted. She was also the last. They talked for two hours. Bob Stockton made up for his discrepancy later, but he never let go of Shawnna. They were married in 1977 and celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary Sept. 17.
The Stocktons had two little girls, Stefanie and Nancy. Nancy was born in 1985 and at the age of two was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Shawnna Stockton, with her degree in speech communications, was teaching at Whitworth University. She stayed home with her girls for several years in order to monitor Nancy’s health.
Shawnna Stockton became active in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, serving as governmental relation chair for Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana.
She met with congressmen and senators, urging them to provide increased funding for NIH and stem cell research. Congressman George Nethercutt, who also had a daughter with Type 1 diabetes, was honored as volunteer of the year at a Spokane fundraising gala event at the Davenport. Shawnna chaired the event.
“Nancy at age 11 was selected as the first child to attend the Juvenile Diabetes Children’s Congress in Washington D.C.,” she said.
Over the years Shawnna Stockton has given of her expertise to a wide variety of organizations in Cheney and elsewhere. She has served on school district committees, Friends of the Cheney Library, PEO, Pathway to Progress, and the Museum of Arts and Culture. She is presently on the board at Cheney Care Center.
Bob Stockton served as president of Cheney Chamber of Commerce in the late 1980s.
“In the 1990s EWU had an advisory committee in the College of Math, Science, and Technology,” he said. “I represented Cheney businesses in this organization and was the president of the organization as well.”
He is presently serving a 10th year on the City Council.
“Shawnna and I work well as a team,” Bob Stockton said. “It is a fun partnership, being involved in the community.”
The Stocktons, two very busy people giving of themselves and loving it as they share their talents with others.
Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.