Dean Stone Herbert "Dean" Stone (b. March 11, 1918) passed away peacefully in Mendocino County on August 1, 2009 at age 91. Dean was born in Alameda and raised in Berkeley, graduating from Berkeley High School in 1936. He attended the California College of Arts and Crafts, and in 1941 married the love of his life, Elizabeth. Initially they lived in San Francisco, where he started his career as a commercial photographer. In 1947 they moved to Oakland to raise their family and he was an active member and senior warden of St. Peter's Episcopal Church. In 1968 the family moved to Moraga where they remained until moving to Sonoma in 1995. For the last year and a half he resided at The Lodge, an assisted living community in Mendocino, where he made many friends. Dean served in the Merchant Marine during WWII, documenting his experience in a series of watercolor paintings. Upon his return in 1945, Dean and his good friend, Hugo Steccati, opened their commercial photography business, Stone and Steccati, in San Francisco. They retired in 1989 when they were both over 70 years old. During those 44 years, Dean became known as an eminent photographer in the San Francisco area. His work included portraits of famous dignitaries, photographs of architectural properties and well-known advertising campaigns. Dean loved fishing in the Sierras, all of the visual arts, gourmet cooking, gardening and spending time with his children and grandchildren. He was a 40-year member of the Bohemian Club, in which he belonged to Monkey Block. During his residence in Sonoma he was a member of the Gray Brigade, which was instrumental in passing two school bonds; a docent for the Sonoma Valley Historical Society, and a charter member of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and the Sonoma Valley Jazz Society. While living in Mendocino, Dean enjoyed a variety of activities including volunteering at Mendocino Grammar School. Many of his friends and acquaintances fondly remember him in his Santa suit, thoroughly enjoying bringing the magic of the holidays to children and adults alike. He will be remembered for his love of life and deep appreciation for other people. He is survived by his children and grandchildren: Laura Stone Roberts and her children, Drew (Vanessa) Roberts and Briannon Roberts of Colorado; Catherine Stone (Mike Sparkman) of Mendocino, and her children Sarah (Tom) Tracy of Sonoma and Kaitlin Burn of Ashland, OR; Sarah (Mike) Bibro of Virginia and son Chris Bibro of Portland, OR; and Don Stone of Sonoma. A Celebration of his life is planned for a later date. Donations may be made in his name to support art in the public school of your choice, the Sonoma Valley Jazz Society, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, the Sebastiani Theatre Foundation, or the California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA.
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Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 9, 2009