Bessie Lee Stokes, Wife of US Department of Energy Recognized Chicago Inventor Dr. Rufus Stokes, Succumbs to Illness

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Family Remembers Assistance of Chicago Media, Inclusive of Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times and WGN, In Helping to Recover Mobile APC-100 Unit Stolen in 1978; Mrs. Stokes was great-grandaughter to 2nd Cpl. C.C.H. Wood of the 61st Alabama Regiment Mustered in 1863, on the Side of the Confederacy


Chicago, IL October 13, 2010 (PressReleasePoint) - Bessie Lee Stokes, wife of Dr. Rufus Stokes, a Chicago scientist and inventor recognized by the United States Department of Energy ( among other institutions, as an environmental innovator, succumbed to illness on October 3, 2010 in Palmetto, Florida.

She was born Bessie Lee Wood on November 25, 1925, in Camp Hill , Alabama, to Victoria Pulliam and Columbus E. Wood, and was the great-granddaughter of C.C.H. Wood, a 2nd Cpl. with the 61st Alabama Regiment mustered in 1863, who fought on the side of the Confederacy.

She later moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and graduated from Parker High School. Thereafter, Mrs. Stokes attended the historic Tuskegee Institute, home to the famous “Airmen”, and while there met, Rufus Stokes, a young Army soldier stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia – a kind and gentle man who soon became her husband.

A draft encyclopedic narrative from Wikipedia sheds additional light on the early life of this young couple:

Dr. Rufus Stokes as Young Soldier Image: US Army

“Rufus Stokes grew up in the rural South and attended public school in Alabama until he was 18 years old. On November 5, 1940, just before receiving his high school diploma, Rufus Stokes enlisted in the US Army at Fort Benning, Georgia in the Quartermaster Corps. In the Army, he attended a technical school where he received auto mechanic training. He was deployed in Western Europe and served predominantly in the Rhineland campaign and served with the famous “Red Ball Express” unit supplying Gen. George S. Patton’s race across Europe. Upon his discharge, he was decorated with an American Defense Service Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and Good Conduct Medal.

"Before being deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), Stokes met Bessie Lee Wood, his future wife, of Camp Hill, Alabama when she was attending Tuskegee Institute. Army records indicate that he was married at the time of his discharge in 1945. Soon after, they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where Stokes was employed as a part-time auto mechanic.

"In 1947, they moved once again, to Waukegan, Illinois where he found temporary employment as a pipe and sheet metal worker. Between late 1947 and 1949, Stokes was employed as an orderly at the Chicago Veterans Administration Hospital, specifically in the Tuberculosis Sanitarium. It was during this time that he first saw the negative health effects of the city's pollution. In 1949, he left the hospital and found work at Brule Inc., an incinerator manufacturing company in Chicago. He quickly learned the process of combustion and was thought to contribute heavily in the designs of new incinerators, but was never credited for his work. For that reason, he left to pursue his own interests.


Air Pollution Control Device

"He later created a smaller domestic version and a larger mobile version of the air purification device to show its versatility. This device further reduced the ash emissions of the furnace and power plant smokestack emissions. Moreover, it was not limited by design and configuration, meaning that its efficiency remained excellent regardless of industrial or residential applications. This was not true of typical air pollution control technologies, such as electrostatic precipitators, bag houses, and wet scrubbers. Conversely, the larger the device that utilized these approaches, the more cumbersome and inefficient it became. The core of Dr. Stokes technology was a unique utilization of what he described as "the three Ts": Temperature, Time and Turbulence.

"In his patent applications (U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan), he provided only data sufficient to obtain patent approval. Other critical processes involving variations of physics were not revealed, but nevertheless manifest in demonstrations to municipal, State and Federal officials and engineering firms such as A.T. Kearney. The ability of the APC-100 to convert particulate matter and toxic gases resulting from the burning of rubber tires and other combustibles to steam was a constant source of intrigue to those who witnessed its operation.

"The efforts were not without their difficulties: a mobile unit of the APC-100 mounted on a semi-truck donated by General Motors as a transportation platform, was stolen 2 times in 1978 by unknown parties. And in each instance, the Chicago media, inclusive of the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, brought the matter sharply to the attention of the public.

"The unit was returned, and the family sent a telegram to all media thanking them for their assistance.

"In 1982, Rufus Stokes was granted, through the efforts and collaboration of fellow Chicagoan the late Dr. Nathaniel Willis, a doctor of science degree from Heed University in Hollywood, Florida on account of his scientific achievements. In 1985, he moved to Claremont, California where he died of mesothelioma in 1986, the result of being exposed to asbestos will working for Johns-Manville in 1951. Ironically, his death coincided with his being brought in as a consultant to the Los Angeles Hyperian Waste Water Treatment facility.

"Stokes' inventions led to a direct improvement to air quality, but more importantly, brought attention to the idea that scientists could work to reduce pollution and harmful gases in the atmosphere. Notably, he has been honored with inclusion in the aforementioned United States Department of Energy's (DOE) list of "Energy Pioneers", as well as being acknowledged in the technology white paper "Quantum Parallel" (

Many of his research and development papers, correspondence and diagrams are included in archival data donated to the University of Illinois at Chicago Library ( by publisher/graphic artist and Tuskegee Airman Eugene Winslow, a longtime friend and business colleague. They are accessible to researchers subsequent to appropriate inquiry.”

Soon after their marriage and a brief stay in Phenix City, Alabama, the young couple moved to the Chicago area where they raised six children. In 1985, Bessie moved with her husband to Claremont, California, to spend more time with their children and grandchildren and to work with the City of Los Angeles on pollution issues. Sadly, Dr. Stokes died less than a year later. After a few years in California, she made the decision to move to St. Petersburg, Florida – a city she loved.

She found special delight in the beauty of sunsets and roses. She loved listening to the song "Unchained Melody" (The Righteous Brothers)

In 1955 she was baptized in symbol of the dedication of her life to her God, Jehovah. She found great joy in sharing her faith with others, and in later years she increased her joy by entering into the full-time ministry. She remained in that service until her health prevented her from continuing. Her companions often spoke of her zeal and how she could "out last" even younger ones in a day spent in the ministry. She endeared herself to many.

She deeply loved, and was beloved, by her children. They are ever grateful for her wonderful care and for the many sacrifices she made for them while growing up. Most of all, they appreciate her example of faith, courage, and remarkable endurance, and for the rich spiritual inheritance she passed on to them.


Mrs. Stokes in 1986 with children ( R) Myron, Roslyn, Deborah, Douglas, Sonja, Barry

Three brothers and three sisters preceded her in death. She also leaves to cherish her memory six children -- Deborah Robbins of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Dr. Sonja Gildon of Lakewood Ranch, FL; Barry Stokes (wife: Sandra) of Palmetto, FL; Global HeavyLift Holdings Managing Member and eMOTION! Publisher Myron D. Stokes (wife: Deadra); Roslyn Stokes of Chicago, IL; and Douglas Stokes (wife: Sharon) of Altadena, CA.

She is also survived by seven grandchildren: Tracy Robbins-Pierce (husband: Darryl) of Burbank, CA; Derek Gildon (wife; Kelly) of Farmington Hills, MI; Brandon Robbins (wife: Mary) of Rancho Cucamonga, CA: Derek Gildon (wife; Kelly) Angenique Stokes of Chicago, IL; Marlon Stokes (wife Tracie) of Romulus, MI; Adrian Webster of St. Petersburg, FL; Dennen Stokes (wife: Melissa) of St. Augustine Beach, FL: and Jessica Stokes of Altadena, CA.

Her 14 great grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and a host of other family members all held a special place in her heart. And, what can only be described as bittersweet, a new great-granddaughter, Janaiya Stokes, was born to grandson Dennen and wife Melissa on October 13, just two days after her memorial service…

Mrs. Stokes was interred alongside her husband at Riverside National Cemetery, and in a completely unexpected gesture, she was saluted by a military honor guard upon the arrival of her casket.

The family is deeply grateful and honored by the care and respect demonstrated by Riverside officials, and all those friends who were of great support and comfort during this difficult period.

# # #

About Global HeavyLift Holdings, LLC:

GHH Managing Member Myron D. Stokes is a veteran automotive/aerospace industry analyst and spent several years as an industry correspondent for Newsweek, Newsweek Japan and Newsweek International.

He is Publisher of eMOTION! (; an automotive/aerospace industries research and analysis site targeting professionals within the academic, media, corporate and government sectors. The site also created a pathway through which white papers and other scholarly works such as "Crisis On Asimov: A Vision of 2085" by national security strategist Dr. Sheila Ronis; "Quantum Parallel: The Saint-Hilaire Quasiturbine as the Basis For Simultaneous Paradigm Shift in Vehicle Propulsion Systems" and "Super-Globalism: Strategies For Maintaining a Robust Industrial Base Through Technological, Policy and Process Improvement", could be presented to a broadened yet specific audience.

Stokes maintains strong interest in global affairs, and continues to be involved in a range of nation building and humanitarian/disaster relief efforts. Among these were acting as initial intercessor between UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the then warring governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia; an activity which helped lead to the cessation of hostilities in October 1999; the coordination of relief activities with US, European and Middle-East based colleagues subsequent to the Bam, Iran, earthquake of 2004, the Pakistan earthquake of 2005, and co-structuring of academic and industrio/economic base developmental programs with colleagues in Pakistan and India.

Founded in 2002, GHH is a strategic air transport solutions that was born of a multi-year public/private effort among forward thinkers in both the private sector and government to mitigate emerging and observable vulnerabilities in the U.S. industrial base global supply chain. Such vulnerabilities are represented by the fact that no ocean-borne shipping is in U.S. hands at present, thus potentially subjecting American corporations, especially automotive, and their global operations to the whims and perhaps economically hostile activities of and by foreign governments. Add to this the risk of terrorist activities, which have, according to the Department of Homeland Security, targeted maritime operations; i.e., ships, ports and ocean containers.

Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) listed, it is the goal of GHH and its strategic partners around the planet to work with key logistics personnel within these corporations and government agencies to conceptualize, craft and structure long-term global supply chain alternative transportation methodologies through continuous -- not stop gap or emergency -- air augmentation solutions. Its most important mission, however, has been in the co-development of global architecture for infrastructure of a new American controlled industry, Heavylift, utilizing the excellent airlift performance characteristics of the Boeing BC-17.

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