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Ron Stone

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RON STONE, who touched so many lives in Houston and across Texas in his career as a broadcaster, historian, teacher, and civic volunteer, died Tuesday, the 13th of May 2008, at his home in Houston, surrounded by his family. He was 72. Ron Stone was an Oklahoman by birth, and a Texan by choice. He was born in Hanna, Oklahoma, on the 6th of April 1936, the son of Tom and Eva Stone. Ron majored in Speech at East Central State Teachers' College in Ada, Oklahoma, where he acted in school plays and met a fellow drama student, Patsy Thompson. Ron and Pat married on the 26th of June 1955, beginning a warm and loving marriage that lasted 53 wonderful years. His remarkable broadcasting career began in Ada where he worked as a disc jockey and newscaster on radio station KADA. After graduating from ECU in 1956, Ron moved to television as news anchor for Ada's KTEN-TV. He worked at several stations in both Oklahoma and Kansas and gained the attention of Houston newsman Dan Rather. In 1961, Rather hired Ron as an anchor and reporter at KHOU-TV. Except for a brief stint in New York as an NBC radio newscaster, Ron would spend the remainder of his career in Houston, a city he loved. He spent countless hours volunteering in the community, with his charitable work perhaps best exemplified by his efforts for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). After moving to KPRC-TV in 1973, Ron began hosting the annual MDA telethon and was involved in numerous fundraisers to fight that disease. He was a strong believer in the preservation of Texas history and culture and showcased his interest by riding for many years with the Salt Grass Trail Riders during the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Ron's commitment to his community was matched by his dedication to his craft. His career as a reporter and anchor took him around the world, from an earthquake in Guatemala to the Great Wall of China to what he called his most memorable assignment, covering the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He also loved taking viewers across Texas as the host of the long-running Eyes of Texas. In an article in the Houston Chronicle he was referred to as "perhaps the most popular and revered anchor Houston has ever seen." Ron had a lifelong passion for sports and in the 1960s began broadcasting Southwest Conference football games for the Humble Oil radio network. In the 1970s he teamed with his great friends Ron Franklin and Dave Ward to form a now-legendary broadcast team for the Houston Oilers radio network. Ron retired from KPRC-TV in 1992 and started an award-winning video production firm, Stonefilms of Texas. He continued his love of writing and history and authored several books on Texas history, including The Book of Texas Days. After gaining a Master's Degree in Liberal Arts from Houston Baptist University, Ron was named an Adjunct Professor in the MLA program. He was also an Artist-in-Residence at the University of St. Thomas. Of the many awards Ron won in his life, he was perhaps most proud of a singular honor given to him by the Sons of the Republic of Texas when he was named a Knight of San Jacinto. With the busy schedule he kept and the hectic life he led, Ron never forgot his most important roles: as loving husband, devoted father, and doting grandfather. Ron Stone was preceded in death by his parents, the late Tom and Eva Stone, and grandchildren, the late Sarah and Elizabeth Payne. He is survived by his wife, Patsy, and children, Robin Brown and husband Paul; Julie Payne and husband Leon; Ron Stone Jr. and wife Michelle; and Billy Stone and wife Vicki; his grandchildren, Katharine Baldo O'Brien and husband James; Kent Baldo; William and Mary Katharine Payne; Madeline and Caroline Stone; William Stone Jr., Lainie and Jack Stone. He is also survived by his sister, Joyce Murdock and husband Jim, and a host of family, and friends. Ron's family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center for their care and compassion. Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o'clock this afternoon until eight o'clock this evening, Thursday, the 15th of May, in the Library of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. The memorial service will be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Friday, the 16th of May, in the Sanctuary of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, 11612 Memorial Drive in Houston, where the Rev. Dr. David Peterson, Senior Pastor, and the Rev. Dr. M. Douglas Harper, Jr. will serve as officiants. Honorary pallbearers are the citizens of Houston whom Ron loved so much. Immediately following the service, all are invited to join the family for a reception in the adjacent Fellowship Hall. A private interment service, for the family to attend, will be conducted at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston. In lieu of usual remembrances, contributions in memory of Ron Stone may be directed to the Ron Stone Foundation for the Enhancement and Study of Texas History, 1900 South Blue Bell Rd., Brenham, TX, 77833; or to the Houston Food Bank, 3811 Eastex Frwy., Houston, TX, 77026. "What is beyond love? The answer is nothing. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends." "Good night, neighbors."

Published in Houston Chronicle from May 14 to May 15, 2008
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