Sheila Martin-Stone passed away on October 5, 2020 with her family and dog by her side. One year earlier, she faced a terminal cancer diagnosis with her trademark calm demeanor. "I can't complain," she said. "I've had so many adventures in my life."
Sheila's adventures began on the South Side of Chicago on July 18, 1936. The youngest of three children born to Arthur E. and Hazel Lee Martin, Sheila attended the Faulkner School for Girls. In her 20s, she was a marketing researcher at Waldie and Briggs Advertising, unusual for a woman at that time. For the next six decades, she would never stop breaking ground.
In 1961, Sheila aimed her Corvette west for San Francisco and joined Foremost Dairies, now McKesson. She rose to product manager, among the first women to do so there. Laurel Canyon marked the spot of her brief first foray into computerized direct mail processing in the early 70s. She returned to the Bay Area where she and two programming colleagues founded Triplex Direct Marketing in 1972. The company pioneered the management of computerized mailing lists and specialized in progressive causes, including women's rights, environmental issues and public television.
As Triplex grew, Sheila's commitment to client satisfaction was balanced by a lifelong case of wanderlust. She and a group of travel bugs racked up passport stamps from Europe, Southeast Asia and South America. She took to skiing, hot air ballooning, river rafting and obtained her pilot's license. She failed SCUBA in the Bahamas and again in Bora Bora, but she mastered the Autobahn. She began collecting art with an eye to the modern, and she and her future parents-in-law established Quartz Mountain Llamasary in hills of the California Mother Lode.
In June of 1988, Sheila inherited seven stepchildren overnight by marrying their father, Frederick Michael Stone. They built a home in Oakdale, California and installed a labyrinth at the foot of their hillside. A sculpture garden grew there, along with a succession of golden retrievers and frequent garden parties for family, artists and other friends.
Meanwhile, Sheila helmed Triplex from Marin County and hosted still-talked-about industry parties at the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. on the first Friday of every February.
After Mr. Stone's sudden death in 2003, Sheila ramped up her traveling and art collection. She adored Ireland, Italy and Argentina. She ventured to Cuba and Russia. Approaching 80, she drove the length of Baja with girlfriends. Until the last few months of her life, she finished her crosswords in pen.
Sheila was preceded in death by brother Arthur E. Martin II and sister Gloria Lee Martin. She is survived by nieces Linda Steiner and Sheila Mary Day and nephew Arthur E. Martin III, as well as great nieces Katherine Steiner Noreen and Sharon Lois Lee Edens and nephew Matthew Steiner.
She will be deeply missed by her Stone family who, for once, agree on something: Sheila was wonderful. We are forever grateful for her legendary loyalty to us, to her friends, to causes she believed in, to the 49ers and the Giants and to the planet, which she made better during her time here. A celebration of her life will be held at a safer time. Until then, pour the champagne. Cheers to Sheila!
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Oct. 17 to Oct. 18, 2020.