Lester Jay Stone
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Captain Lester Jay Stone, U.S. Navy (Ret.), passed away peacefully on July 10, 2012, in Chambersburg, with his family by his side.

Born on July 8, 1911, in Washington state, he was the son of the late Walter and Lottie Stone. He spent his early years in the West developing an interest in colors; drawing and painting that would serve him in his later life. Stone attended the United States Naval Academy Preparatory School, San Diego, Calif., and then, in 1930, was admitted to the United States Naval Academy as a midshipman, graduating in 1934. He earned his naval aviator "wings" three years later.

Stone witnessed the U.S.S. Shaw explode during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and conversely, he witnessed the Japanese surrender at Kyushu. He later commanded the Naval Air Facility at Opama to help the Japanese rebuild their Air Force. He was awarded The Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan; an honor rarely afforded a foreigner.

As the Executive Officer of the carrier Sicily, he saw action in the Korean War. Stone was also Commander of the Naval Air Station, Memphis, Tennessee, and Inspector General of the Navy. His career in the Navy culminated thirty years of innovation and contributions to the development of carrier aviation. The results are still employed by today's Navy, Army, and Air Force pilots. Stone was decorated with the Bronze Star.

Upon retirement, Stone returned to his early interest in art. He studied under the renowned Italian sculptor Oscar Gallo, at the Academia Delle Belle Arti, Florence, Italy. He then spent considerable time in Marbella, Spain, where he concentrated on portraits and local scenes. Some of his finest work evolved from this period. The most notable is "The Sea," a painting of the blue Mediterranean. Among the countless high points of his career as an artist are: first, the acceptance by the Japanese Watercolor Society of his painting of a Japanese shrine on Eno Shima, a small island. It was the first painting by a foreigner ever selected by the Society; and, second, a portrait of the Shah of Iran commissioned by his first cousin, Khosro Afshar.

Stone's paintings are in many private, public and corporate collections, including the permanent collections of the United States Capitol Rotunda, the United States Naval Academy, and the United States Department of Defense.

A critic wrote, "This artist is a man of remarkable depth whose paintings depict great sensitivity and understatement." The American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) News and Journal, in a recent article, wrote, "He is absolutely charming. The combination of his quiet demeanor with his sparkling intelligence, dry humor and innate humility make a formidable human being indeed."

Stone was a Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists, Salmagundi Club and National Arts Club in New York, West Coast Watercolor Society, Baltimore Watercolor Society, and the Maryland Federation of Art.

After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1934, he was married to the late Peggy King of Annapolis, Md., with whom he will be buried. Surviving are his three daughters, Judith King Stone of Sharpsburg, Md.; Marguerite Stone Calyer of Malden Bridge, N.Y.; and Susan Ridgaway Stone of Gettysburg; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. His son, Lester Jay Stone, Jr., died in 1989.

Funeral arrangements are not yet complete A graveside service will be held at the United States Naval Academy at Hospital Point overlooking the Severn River, where he sailed so often as a midshipman.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Gettysburg Times from Jul. 11 to Jul. 14, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
July 31, 2020
It was Laura's and my pleasure to have known Lester during my service as Rector of the Church of the Transfiguration Episcopal Church in Blue Ridge Summit, PA. We have long thought of him every time we see the beautiful print of one of his paintings which he gave us as a gift at our departure from Blue Ridge Summit back in 1985 so that I could go to Harvard for my doctorate in Old Testament. I have especially pleasant memories of a day spent with Lester and the retired Bishop of Chicago Jim Montgomery whose official diocesan portrait Lester was painting for the diocese of Chicago in honor of Bishop Montgomery's retirement in the mid 1980's. Since I knew Bishop Montgomery from my time in seminary near Chicago Lester made a point of having me up to his home so that together we could enjoy some time with Bishop Montgomery, and so that I could take both of them down to Hagerstown, Maryland so that Bishop Montgomery could attend a Rotary Club meeting there. That was the type of person Lester was. It was a pleasure to have known him and to have had him, and for a brief time his spouse as well, as friends. Laura and I are saddened to hear of this death, though we know that God received him with a smile and a congratulatory comment, "Servant, well done!" -- The Rev. Bill Whitney and Laura K. Whitney, Bremerton, Washington, USA
Bill and Laura Whitney
July 25, 2012
Goodbye, grandfather... I love you and I will miss you. Your humility, creativity, humanity and warmth is forever etched on my soul. Your absolute delight in each moment of life lives on through your girls, Judy, Margy and Susie. I am so proud to have known you.
Margi Wilkinson Levitt
July 18, 2012
Memory Eternal!
Lester Stone has been a treasure for this community for so many years. His exquisite painting continues to inspire many..... Thanks to his family for sharing him with so many of us.
Margery Benson
July 18, 2012
My wife Toshii and I will always be grateful for the privilege of knowing this talented, humble man. We will miss him and his wonderful daughters. Condolences from a fellow marine artist, Richard Moore
Richard Moore
July 14, 2012
14 July 2012
To All Capt. Stone's Family!
In the loss of your Dad, Grandfather and Great Grandfather we extend our sincere condolences.
Lester had a long and talented life, from his very honorable Naval Career, a dedicated and decorated officer serving his country, to his quick wit and fun sense of humor are some memories we hold dear.
We are the proud recipients of some of his amazing art work and each hangs proudly in our home, including a beautiful portrait of Betty Lynn at the age of 19.
We were very happy to see him and a chance to have a visit together at Tad and Christines wedding on the Eastern Shore, he was delightfully "holding court" with family and friends. Special memories of our friend Captain Lester Jay Stone USN (ret)
Betty Lynn & John Rehme
July 13, 2012
Lester Stone will be long remembered and his artistic talent celebrated at the Blue Ridge Summit Free Library where a seascape of his hangs in the Fiction Room and his sketch of the building is sold as a collectible print or on note cards. He will be missed.
Nancy Bert
July 11, 2012
Our deepest sympathy for your family at this time. Lester was such a charming man. His art in our home will always remind us of him.

Tommy & Andrea Harrison
Annapolis, Md.
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