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Betty J. Stone

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Stone, Betty J.
83, died quietly Wednesday evening, October 24, 2012. Betty was born in Painesville, Ohio, in 1928. Soon after graduating from high school, she and her husband, Ross Deters Stone, moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they brought five sons into the world. In 1962, the family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. She and Ross loved the wide blue skies, warm winters, deserts, and mountains of Arizona. They took great pride in the homes they built, furnished, and landscaped. They enjoyed shopping and dining in Scottsdale and Sedona, especially with their family and friends. Shortly after their move to Arizona, she and her husband became deeply involved with the Episcopal Church, which provided a spiritual home for them throughout their lives. When Ross lost his eyesight and was forced to retire, she took an office position at Sentry Insurance where she worked until retirement. At a time when women were just beginning to advocate for equality with men, the roles in her home had reversed: she drove to the office each weekday morning while her husband took over the household duties of laundry and cooking. She managed a household with five growing, active, competitive boys. They eventually went off to college and succeeded in various careers. David Ross Stone became a paramedic; Mark Thomas Stone, an electrician (now deceased); Michael Aaron Stone, a high school teacher; Richard Carl Stone, a business executive; and Kenneth Robert Stone, a U.S. customs agent. In time, these sons brought her four grandsons: John, Kevin, Aaron, and Joel. Soon after her husband of 52 years died in 2000, she moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, to live out the last decade of her life near her son, Richard. People were important to Betty. Once she made a friend, she remained true and committed thereafter. Testament to this is the fact that when her sons' marriages ended, she remained connected to their spouses. No animosity. Just warmth. Why break off a perfectly good relationship? The conflict was between husband and wife, not between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, she'd reason. Betty wasn't judgmental, so people opened up to her. She gave many people comfort by listening to them. Surely she carried off many a secret when she departed this life. And she never stopped loving her children and friends, even when it occasionally hurt. She was a simple woman; always gracious, always grateful. For Betty, the setbacks we experience in life were lessons, opportunities to grow. She read many books in her lifetime. She was an informed and intelligent conversationalist. Finally, Betty was a lady in the classic sense, always decorous in her conduct, always "put together" in her appearance. That's one of the things Ross found so appealing about her; he commented many times that he considered her a "beautiful swan." Her favorite song, "Send in the Clowns," sung by Judy Collins, reveals a bit of Betty's temperament. The voice, in the poem, is melancholy yet bemused at the ironies of life. Here are a few lines from that song that seem fitting to close out her life, words she might say at this moment. Isn't it rich? Isn't it queer? Losing my timing this late in my career. And where are the clowns? There ought to be clowns. Well, maybe next year. There will be a Memorial Service for Betty at St. Elizabeth's in Farragut, TN on Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 3:30PM. The Rev. Carol Westpfahl, Rector will officiate. Reception to follow. Click Funeral Home Farragut Chapel is serving the Stone family.

Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 1, 2012
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