Who is the Stockdale family? Members of the bluegrass band lived, worked and performed together

Posted at 11:31 AM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 12:36:25-04

Investigators say Jacob Stockdale, of the Stockdale Family Band, killed his mother and younger brother before turning the gun on himself on Thursday.

In a Friday morning press conference, the Stark County Sheriff said the 25-year-old killed brother James William Stockdale, 21, and mother Kathryn Barbara Stockdale, 54 with a “long gun." The same weapon was used in Jacob’s self-inflicted gunshot wound that led to a life flight to Cleveland MetroHealth Hospital.

RELATED: Double homicide, attempted suicide in Stark County involves members of bluegrass family band

Musical family

James and Jacob Stockdale were members of the Stockdale Family Band, a bluegrass group formed in 2004 that prides itself on sharing bluegrass north of the Mason-Dixon line," according to the band website.

The band performed on Tuesday at Wild Cat Ranch and had concerts scheduled throughout the summer. Kathryn, the mother, worked as the band’s manager, helping book all concerts.

The band previously consisted of five members of the Stockdale family, including brothers Calvin and Charles, and father Tim in addition to Jacob and James. According to the website, after older siblings Calvin and Charles moved out of Stark County, the band became a four-man ensemble. Tim, Jacob and James played shows with family friend Joe Steiner.

On Friday, Tim Stockdale issued a statement about his late wife:

"Kathy has been my beloved wife of 32 years and a wonderful mother to our four sons. She loved nothing more than being a mother and grandmother. She had a strong love of learning and was passionate about her Christian faith, natural health, and organic farming.”

The band’s websitedescribes Jacob as “the man in the middle, who sees the important things,” saying he “adds a great measure to the band with his compelling bass and tenor harmony vocals combined with his devotion to his instrument and attention to detail, he keeps the standard high for himself and the band.”

The site describes James is the youngest in the family, the one with “the sparkle in his eye that can create excitement when he wants to on stage or off.”

The band created three-albums as a family, including "Take a Little Time for Jesus." an ode to the family’s faith.

James and Kathryn

James Stockdale is listed in the school’s directory as a sophomore Business Management major at Kent State University. He studied at the university's regional campuses, taking courses at Kent State University at Stark and Kent State University at Tuscarawas. According to his Facebook page, he worked at Amish Country Theater.

Calvin Stockdale, the eldest brother, released this statement on Friday:

"James, our youngest brother, has always been a catalyst of family fun. Aside from being a gifted musician, James enjoyed dancing and had a innate love of people. James was working on a business degree and hope to go into the business side of entertainment. He leaves behind many friends and a family that love him dearly.”

"My brother, Jacob, is still in critical condition and we are praying for his physical recovery as our family makes funeral plans and begins the healing process."

Dean Denise Seachrist and Dean Bradley Bielski, who lead Kent State's Stark and Tuscarawas campuses respectively, released a joint statement on Friday: 

"We are saddened by the news of the tragic death of one of our students at Kent State University. James was a sophomore business management major who studied at the Tuscarawas and Stark campuses. We offer our sincerest condolences and support to his family, students, staff and faculty and all those who knew James as they deal with this tragedy."

In 2007, Kathryn Stockdale was featured on ABC’s WifeSwap reality show. She was described as a mother who “insists (her kids) adhere to wholesome values, untainted my modern culture.”

“My life is centered on the home and the boys. I am the mother, school teacher, cook and band manager in this family. I get the boys up and schedule their day from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep. I don't believe in having idle hands or idle boys so I try to keep them busy and teach them a good work ethic. I provide a safe wholesome environment for the boys to grow up in and I monitor and control the inputs into their life so that they receive the right education,” Kathryn said in her on-air interview.


Jacob Stockdale is the family's fiddler. In 2012, he won the State of Ohio Grand Fiddle Championship. In 2015, he released a duet album with brother Jacob and joined the Amish Country Theater's house band. 

Life on the Family Farm

The family lived on the Stockdale Family Farm, the residence that became a crime scene on Thursday evening. They moved to the farm in 1999, raising farm animals and selling beef and pork in the community. (Story continues below map)

“The family enjoys gathering around the table when called to supper and it is with sincere thankfulness that we ask for God’s blessing,” the family website states.

Calvin Stockdale now resides in Michigan, according to his Facebook page. Charles Stockdale has also moved out of Stark County. Neither was present during the time of the homicide.

According to police, Tim Stockdale was also not at the home at the time of the shootings. 

Police were called to the 9100 block of Dolphin Street on Thursday, responding to a 911 hang-up call from the home’s landline.

Once police arrived on scene, two members of the Stockdale family were found dead from gunshot wounds. A third family member was found with self-inflicted gunshot wounds and was taken to Cleveland MetroHealth hospital.