James Stokley, native of Philadelphia, died December 29, 1989, at age 89. Best known as a science popularizer, in 1925 Stokley started a 53-year association with Science Service. From 1926 to 1977 its "Science News" magazine featured his regular column describing events in the night sky. Author of seven books, his most successful were "Atoms to Galaxies" and ''Electrons in Action."
In 1931 Stokley was appointed the first director of the Fels Planetarium in Philadelphia, and in 1939 he became director of the Buhl Planetarium in Pittsburgh. Later he was publicist at the General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady. He ended his career at Michigan State University with dual faculty appointments in journalism and astronomy.
Stokley graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with B.Sc, and M.A. degrees. He was a full member of the American Astronomical Society since 1983 (and also its historical division). He joined the National Association of Science Writers in 1940.