Ralph Edward Stone
1928 - 2012
Ralph Edward Stone, 84, died peacefully on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, in hospice care in Los Alamos, N.M. He was born May 21, 1928, the son of Carl and Minnie Stone and brother of younger sisters, Hazel and Jean. After graduating high school and attending two years of junior college in Jefferson City, Missouri, Ralph moved to Fort Worth, Texas to enroll at Texas Christian University. Following graduation with a B.A. in Philosophy in 1950, he studied at Brite College of the Bible, now Brite Divinity School. He also received a Master of Sacred Theology from Union Theological Seminary in 1962 and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity from Texas Christian University in 1972. During those years at TCU, he established a 26-year relationship with University Christian Church, first as student intern and concluding as Associate Minister for Student and Social Ministries. It was also in those years that he met and married his wife and partner of 59 years, Jan Riddle Stone. In 1976, they moved to Dallas, Texas where he became the first Executive Director of Thanks-Giving Square Foundation. They retired in 1991 and moved to their beloved mountains of northern New Mexico. The years in New Mexico were not a time of disengagement. Ralph was active in two programs through the Santa Fe National Forest Service - the volunteer fire watch and the site steward programs. The first, for three years, entailed two days per week atop a tower where he kept watch for any signs of fire in the forest. The second involved monitoring various archeological sites. He was also active in the Horseshoe Springs Association, serving as President during the time of an historic land-swap between the property owners and the National Forest Service. A chronology only sets the parameters of a life; it is how one lives that brings vibrancy to it. Ralph Stone was an accomplished photographer, playwright, composer, lyricist, director, sailor, teacher and theologian. He was mentor, spiritual adviser, teacher, friend and colleague to five generations of students and countless others in his boundary-less parish. He was active in social justice ministries and efforts to increase awareness of the inter-dependence of humanity and the environment, frequently blending his love of the arts with building bridges between communities and giving voice to his spiritual ecology. His life was founded on an abiding faith in the human spirit, a commitment to the human community and an understanding of the convergence of faith and reason. His energy, enthusiasm and creativity provided the framework by which those values were shared with others. Ralph is survived by his wife and partner, Jan Stone of Jemez Springs, N.M.; sister, Jean Zimmerman; nephew, Shaun Zimmerman; niece, Leanne Rhoads of Jefferson City, Mo. and nephew, Aaron Zimmerman of Kansas City, Mo. A celebration of Ralph's life was held in Jemez Springs, N.M. on July 29, and another will be in Dallas, Texas on August 11. To perpetuate his ministry and to continue his influence on future generations of students and the wider church, The Ralph E. Stone Fund for Religion/Theology and the Arts has been established at Brite Divinity School, TCU Box 298130, Ft. Worth, TX 76132.
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