UCPD Office of Emergency Preparedness director Stephen Stoll dies at age 69

Dana Stoll/Courtesy

Stephen Stoll, director of the UCPD Office of Emergency Preparedness, died May 31 at age 69.

Stoll was born on June 14, 1948, in Indiana, according to a statement provided by his family. His career in crisis management began with 10 years of service in the U.S. Navy on the nuclear submarines USS Guardfish and USS Archerfish. After working with UCPD for 10 years, Stoll leaves behind a legacy of emergency preparedness through his help in founding the Berkeley Medical Reserve Corps.

In 2012, Stoll worked with student emergency responders to transform what was previously called Bear Emergency Medical Services into the state-certified Berkeley Medical Reserve Corps — the national Medical Reserve Corps is a network of volunteer emergency responders who are qualified to support emergency services in a crisis.

“The thing that impacted me is that he really trusted students and believed in us,” said Sharon Yau, BMRC deputy director of emergency preparedness. “The disaster plan of a university is not a small thing. The fact that he gave us that agency was really powerful and motivating.”

Stoll urged UC Berkeley administration to work the student emergency responders into the campus disaster plan, according to BMRC Director Thibault Philippine. Yau said that from 2015 to 2018, BMRC’s membership increased from about 30 to 100.

Stoll’s leadership was lauded by BMRC volunteers for its direct and empathetic style. Former BMRC deputy director of emergency preparedness Harshika Chowdhary appreciated Stoll’s respect for student input and said he would always add to what students said rather dismissing or minimizing their contributions.

Each semester, the training for BMRC members involves a simulated “mass casualty incident” that realistically models disasters such as earthquakes, fires, explosions and active shooter incidents. Yau noted how Stoll always made sure students and community members involved in simulations felt comfortable interacting with law enforcement and emergency services personnel.

“He wanted to make sure that every little detail was taken care of,” Chowdhary said. “He would make sure that everybody had coffee and bagels in the morning. He really did care about everybody; he would make sure that all the volunteers knew that they were appreciated.”

Stoll’s focus on getting involved with those around him was also mentioned by members of his family — Stoll’s daughter Sarah Wyman recounted in a Facebook message how he would always take her and her sister, Dana Stoll, to everything from their tennis practices to horse-riding lessons to diving and gymnastics meets.

Wyman also noted how her father’s desire to be involved later extended to her children and his grandchildren, Amelia and Aiden.

“It really amazed me how important his grandkids … were to him and how fortunate they were to know him even if only for a short time,” Wyman said in the Facebook message.

Contact Ryan Geller at [email protected].