STORKE, Thomas More

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STORKE, Thomas More (1876-1971), Santa Barbara-born son (November 23, 1876) of Charles Albert Storke (1847-1936) and Martha 'Mattie' E. More (1854-1928). Tom Storke was a major figure in Santa Barbara history. He was graduated from Stanford University in 1898, and shortly thereafter took a position as reporter for the Santa Barbara Morning Press, thus beginning his lifelong newspaper career. In 1900, Storke purchased the Daily Independent which he sold at a profit in 1910. Three years later he bought the Daily News, rival to the Morning Press. Storke eventually bought out the Morning Press and merged the two papers into the Santa Barbara News Press in 1938. He took an active interest in education and made large gifts to the University of California, Santa Barbara. Storke Tower bears his name. Storke, a lifelong democrat, served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from California in 1924, 1932 and 1936. In 1962 Tom Storke won a Pulitzer Prize for his editorial condemning the John Birch Society. In 1964 at almost 90, he sold the paper and his namesake radio station, KTMS. Thomas More Storke died in Santa Barbara on October 12, 1971 at age 94. He is buried in the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

Storke married twice and had four children. He and his first wife, Elsie Smith (1880-1916) had:

  • Jean Isabel Storke Menzies (1904-1993)
  • Elsie Margaret Storke (1908-1918)
  • Charles Albert Storke II (1911-1998)

Two years after Elsie’s death storke married Marion Elizabeth Day (1892-1981). They had son:

  • Thomas More Storke Jr. (1922-1994)

Thomas More Storke died at 94 in 1971. The Storke and More families have a large family plots area and a mausoleum at the Santa Barbara Cemetery.


  • Storke, C. A. The English Storkes in America Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara News Press Publishing, 1936. First edition.
[original in SCIF archives]



In the News~

July 11, 1895 [LAT/SB]: “A mining party left today (Wednesday) by the schooner Restless for Anacapa Island. The gentlemen comprising the expedition were Messrs. Lansley, Pratt, Storke, Dodge, and T. Storke.”


July 3, 1899 [SBDI]: “Thomas M. Storke arrived on the steamer Santa Rosa last night from San Francisco where he had been for the past two weeks on a pleasure trip.”


July 31, 1899 [SBDI]: “Thomas M. Storke will leave tomorrow morning for Santa Rosa Island.”


April 6, 1900 [SBDI]: “The young wild hog sent to Mr. George Sherman by Thomas Storke from Santa Rosa Island, attracted a great deal of attention on State Street today. The animal followed its master like a dog and the number of tricks it has been taught in so short a time is quite surprising.”


May 23, 1900 [SBDI]: “Thomas Storke was in town yesterday from the island.”


June 1, 1900 [SBDI]: “Mr. Thomas M. Storke, who returned yesterday from Santa Rosa Island, expects to remain here permanently in the future.”


June 2, 1900 [SBMP]: “T. M. Storke returned from Santa Rosa Island Wednesday, together with Messrs. Bradley and Hanchette.”


July 6, 1900 [SBDI]: “Mr. Thomas M. Storke expects to leave in a few days for Santa Rosa Island.”


July 25, 1900 [SBDI]: “Mr. Thomas M. Storke returned yesterday from a short trip to Santa Rosa Island.”


October 10, 1900 [SBMP]: “T. M. Storke has gone to the islands on a business trip.”