Deceased December 11, 2008

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In Memory

Jim Stone was taken from us suddenly on Dec. 11, 2008. Jim and Betsy were crossing a road to their car, after attending a dinner near their DeWitt, N.Y., home. They were in a marked and lighted crosswalk, but the weather was foul and an oncoming driver failed to see them. Jim died at the scene. Betsy was severely injured, but is recovering. The accident received much attention in the Syracuse press, as there had been previous fatalities at this site.

Jim came to Amherst from Pittsburgh, following in the footsteps of his great-uncle, Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone ’94. At Amherst he majored in Economics, worked on the Student business staff, served Theta Xi as social chairman and delighted all who knew him. Jim Andrews writes: “Jim and I roomed together sophomore year on the top floor of Pratt. It was a good year. We played lots of bridge (his very good, mine careless), experimented with varieties of mix that, for better or worse, can be consumed with gin and more than once raced from an early evening flick at Mead auditorium to a late show downtown at the Amherst theater. We moved to opposite ends of the campus for the last two years but saw each other almost every day. I enjoyed Jim’s unfailing good humor, his wry amusement at the ways of the world and benefited immeasurably from his equanimity, good sense and positive outlook on life. I was best man in his wedding. Jim and I got together many times over the years and talked on the phone in recent years but not nearly often enough.”

After college, Jim went to Morgan Guarantee in New York. He was drafted in 1956 and served in Korea. He later held financial positions with Monsanto and Standard Brands, followed by 14 years with the Hahne & Co. division of Associated Dry Goods. In 1963, Jim married Betsy Nelson (Vassar ’55). In 1980, they moved to the Syracuse area, Betsy’s original home, where Jim became comptroller of Goldberg’s Furniture, a regional chain. The Stones were active in their church, which Jim served as treasurer for many years. In retirement, Jim donated his time and financial expertise to several nonprofits, including S.C.O.R.E. He also indulged his hobbies of gardening, gourmet cooking and duplicate bridge, which he played several nights a week. “You could always count on him,” said a bridge group director. “He would come early and make the popcorn. He always had a big smile on his face.”

I had lost contact with Jim for many years, but Betsy was my high school classmate and our families were long acquainted. So after I moved back east from California, we renewed our association. The Stones visited Asheville, and I stayed with them during high school reunions. Jim always looked much as he did in college, and Jim Andrews’s description of his personality still captured him exactly. We would occasionally exchange irreverent emails on the new (and not-so-new) ways of Amherst. Jim and Betsy were faithful attendees at our class reunions.

Jim Stone was 75. In addition to Betsy, he is survived by a brother; by sons Nelson and Timothy; Timothy’s wife, Carole, and a granddaughter.

Richard A. Dirks ’55