Les Stoch was born in C.T. Nov 1925, to Barney and Minnie Stoch. The family lived in Kalbaskraal, which is between C.T and Malmesbury. He left for High School and University in C.T. where he graduated as a Land Surveyor, later known as Geodesy. Les joined Habonim Hachshara and made Aliyah with the garin in 1950, which joined the newly established Kibbutz Tzora. This had been a mishlat of the Palmach, many of whom had been part of it.
In Tzora he was an active member. Among other things, Les is remembered for having laid out the orchards and contours of the fields, even after he had left the kibbutz.
Technion had advertised for an instructor of astronomy, in the faculty of Civil Engineering. Les was accepted and joined the faculty of the Technion in Oct 1953.
Les and Reena Shevel met on hachshara at Brits; she came on Aliyah in 1951 each lived on Tzora, till they married in Oct 1953, and moved to Haifa.
At the Technion he lectured for 35 years, researched, participated in special national projects such as the National Water Carrier, building various tunnels , deepening the Haifa Port etc.
He loved singing in the Tech choir led by Dalia Atlas. In Haifa he was among the founders of the Bowling club, oversaw laying out the greens, and helped in the upkeep.
Les travelled widely, mostly on professional trips: He studied at the International Training Centre for Photogrammetry (I.T.C.) on a scholarship in 1959-1960, getting M.SC in Photogrammetry (the forerunner of GPS.). This was a particularly important stepping stone, because of the many relationships he forged there. Among the faculty, Prof Schmerhorn, head of the I.T.C. and Prof van de Wele, who was his mentor for his doctoral thesis, became his friends. Fluency in Afrikaans, and his quiet dignified demeanor, were no doubt assets! Some colleagues who studied there, also became lifelong friends – Australian, Danish ,
Norwegian, American, and English geodesists. He was a good ambassador for both the country and the Technion: Many visited and became friends of Israel thanks to him, during the years when Israel was still a place to be admired!.
From 1964 to 1966 Les lectured at the Nkruma University , Ghana. Sabbaticals were spent : a year with Energy, Mines and Resources in Ottawa, Canada; at Wild – instrument factory in Heerbrugg Switzerland, at A&M College Station Texas, and several times was visiting professor at U.C.T.
Les left his mark in these places, among professional colleagues and Jews of the community, who subsequently put Israel on their map.
Les was an accomplished pianist. He loved playing duets, at first with his sister Belle, and later with his musical grandson Roi, to his great joy.
On retirement, Reena and Les built their new home in Kfar Vradim. Retirement gave him the opportunity and time to pursue multiple interests! He volunteered to coach Maths, and established the thriving Petanque club: was involved in musical capacities, painted, gardened, hiked, and even went to “Protest” while sitting in a wheelchair, with the help of his friend and competent caregiver, Dinesh from Kerala, India.
Reena and Les had three children. Their eldest Livia daughter tragically lost her life in 2013. Their daughter Batsheva is a member of Kibbutz Eilon, and their son Dvir, and his wife Michelle are members of Kibbutz Amir. The 6 grandchildren are “The Jewels in the Crown”: Carmel, late Livia’s daughter, with husband Tzachi, children Ivri, Hallel, and Dolev live on Kibbutz Beth HaEmek; her son Roi lives in T.A., also Batsheva’s daughter Tav, as does Oliver, Dvir’s son. (All three in High Tech). Dvir’s daughter Lily is on an after-the-army jaunt, at present in N.Z., while Talia is serving in the Air Force.
He is sadly missed, May his memory be blessed.