Marion Stokes, coproducer of TV show

Marion M. Stokes
Marion M. Stokes
Posted: December 21, 2012

Marion Marguerite Stokes, 83, a librarian and social justice advocate who was a coproducer of a 1960s Sunday morning TV talk show entitled Input, died of lung disease Friday, Dec. 14, at her home in Rittenhouse Square.

From 1967 to 1969, Mrs. Stokes and her future husband, John Stokes Jr., were co-producers, with David Van Meter, of Input, on which a panel would discuss key issues. The show aired on Channel 10.

Mrs. Stokes often appeared on the show with her future husband.

"The television show was something she was enormously proud of," said her son, Michael Metelits. "She felt that it had an impact on Philadelphia. It was rare for a black woman to be on television."

A 1968 article in the Bulletin described the show as "unusually forthright," tackling such issues as birth control, environmental pollution, student unrest, and racial divisions.

It said "conservatives, radicals, blacks, whites, Catholics, Jews, Protestants, and agnostics" appeared on the show - sounding off with such verve that it should be named "Output."

Mrs. Stokes was born on Nov. 25, 1929, in Germantown. She graduated from Philadelphia High School for Girls.

After high school, Mrs. Stokes worked as a librarian for the Free Library of Philadelphia from the 1940s to the early 1960s.

She then went to work for Wellspring, a Christian social service organization, which developed the show, Metelits said.

She was married three times and was twice divorced. In 1960, she married Melvin Metelits, a teacher. She later married John Stokes Jr., her coproducer and a retired engineer. He died in 2007.

In the early 1960s, Mrs. Stokes was the Philadelphia chair for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a national organization opposed to the economic boycott of the communist country.

She was active in the effort to integrate Girard College. Mrs. Stokes also helped organize five buses from Philadelphia to the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, her son said.

"She had a keen sense of any injustice," Metelits said. "She was incredibly intelligent, with a sense of politics that was fierce."

In the 1980s and '90s, Mrs. Stokes was an early investor in information technology companies, her son said.

"She loved Macintosh computers and anything to do with Apple products. . . . She gave me my first one in 1985, and she would give them to people going off to college," Metelits said. "Technology was a passion of hers."

She also enjoyed watching cable news shows and collecting dollhouses, Metelits said.

He said that when Hurricane Katrina struck, one of her stepchildren was working as a reporter in New Orleans, so she sent a pallet of hand-crank radios there.

"She just bought it and shipped it down there so people could know what was going on," Metelits said.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Stokes is survived by two grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.

Visitation will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, followed by a funeral at 11, at the Bringhurst Funeral Home, 225 Belmont Ave., Bala Cynwyd. Burial will follow at West Laurel Hill Cemetery.


Contact Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.

|
|
|
|
|