In Our Yellow Submarine – On the Death of a Dear Friend

My good friend & classmate died yesterday.

a-Stockhausen, Gerard (1)

Gerry Stockhausen, SJ died of complications following bone marrow transplant in August. His body just shut down. Unbelievable.

He told me last Friday he had not planned his funeral. A bit unlike him since he was an Eagle Scout and otherwise quite thorough & attentive to details. “We’ll just sing Yellow Submarine, then!” I threatened. We just laughed.  Stock and I and Candice Tucci sang it when we taught on the Rosebud reservation so many years ago. It’s a great song. And more…


“And our friends are all aboard; many more of them live next door…  As we live a life of ease, everyone of us has all we need – sky of blue and sea of green in our yellow submarine AHA!”

I do live in a yellow submarine. That is, I dwell constantly in my assumption that all my family & friends will be with me and around me and near me throughout life and we’ll have a life of ease.  I don’t know about you, but that simply hasn’t been true, though I’ve tried to make it be true.

Life is so precious and fragile. And Gerry is one of those people who made life for me and so many others wonderfully precious. His gentleness and kindly presence touched many. He was maddeningly fit and gloriously tan. He seemed to hang in the air for hours taking a jump shot. He was good at whatever he did.

Leukemia took all that away this past year. And gentle throughout. And secretly angry at the gargantuan losses imposed on him.

I’m missing the Stockman mightily. And I’m ticked off at him and God for torpedoing my yellow submarine.


Oh Jolly Captain of the Seas, you who toss depth-charges indiscriminately round about,

You who engulf proud vessels and overwhelm the meek

You who torpedo dreams and vanquish schemes

You who salvage sunken freighters and frolic among the shipwrecked

            Bringing treasures up from the abyss

Throw us a line from time to time

Lest we drown in the over-much-ness of life.


I’ll see you when it’s time, Stockman. Love ya. –roc,sj


  1. Peg says:

    Roc, I am so sorry for your loss and, at the same time, grateful for your beautiful tribute to a friend.


  2. Larry Ehren says:

    The Stockman will be missed. Sorry for your loss ROC, and ours.


  3. Such pain at the loss of a dear friend, too young, too soon. Thank you for your tribute and honesty. Praying for your peace.


  4. Janie mccarthy-cheney says:

    Lovely sentiments. Sorry for your loss. Sounds like a wonderful man.


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