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Seattle Times Wine Writer Killed in Alaska Airlines Crash

Dana Nigro
Posted: February 2, 2000

Wine writer Thomas Stockley, 63, a longtime columnist for The Seattle Times in Washington, and his wife, Peggy, 62, were killed in Monday's crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 off the coast of California.

Stockley started working for the Times in 1967; he began his wine column in 1973, when the Washington wine industry was still in its infancy, and continued to write it even after he retired from the paper, in 1989.

Stockley's colleagues and the people he covered remembered him as an honest journalist who remained humble even after his reputation grew, bringing him invitations to be a judge or panelist at wine events around the world. A strong supporter of Washington wines, Stockley kept his focus on making wine enjoyable for the average consumer, writing about what was affordable and accessible.

"Tom grew up with the Washington wine industry," said Steve Burns, executive director of the Washington Wine Commission. "He always wrote about wine in a positive way. I'm sure he tasted some wines he didn't like, but he didn't write about them. He didn't embarrass anybody, and the consumers got what they wanted -- great wine recommendations." Stockley was always willing to provide feedback and discreet advice to winemakers who asked for it, Burns added. "He was vital in that role."

The Stockleys are survived by two daughters and a grandchild. The family has tentatively scheduled a private memorial service for Tuesday, Feb. 8. Chateau Ste. Michelle will host a memorial service on Feb. 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at its winery in Woodinville, Wash. For more information, call the Washington Wine Commission at (206) 667-9463, ext. 200.

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