Mary Helen Stone

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Mary Helen Stone traveled the world beside her beloved husband, tended to the sick as a registered nurse and poured a lifetime of love into her family. Mary had a beautiful life, and she cherished it until the day she died on July 28, 2013, from cancer. Mary Stone was 93 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, Mich., she was raised by Reverend and Mrs. William H. Long, along with brothers, George, Edward, William and Frances; her sister. All have predeceased Mary.

In 1941 she graduated from nursing school and worked in a hospital and doctors office during World War II.

Her life changed for the better, she’d say, when she fell in love with a young executive who had come to Battle Creek, Mich., to work for Post Cereals. Mary and James Stone were married in 1946 and spent the next 60 years filling their life together with happiness.

Through his career as an executive with General Foods, they made their home in suburban New York City, Australia, Germany and Japan. Mrs. Stone enjoyed them all, especially the Far East.

They had two children together.

The couple lived in retirement for 25 years in Sarasota, Fla., before moving to Charlotte in 2006 to be closer to family. James Stone passed away in 2006. Mary was able to take great comfort and enjoy the friendships she made at her new home at the Aldersgate retirement community on Shamrock Drive.

Through the years, life was filled with so much goodness: Spending summer days with family at Portage Lake in Chassell, enjoying golf, sewing and needlepoint; taking the family to Hawaii for their 50th wedding anniversary; celebrating her 90th birthday with the family in Alaska, because she had been there before with James and loved the natural beauty.

Special memories, she called them all, reflecting what she considered her proudest accomplishment: Being a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Mary Stone is survived by her two children; son, James Stone Jr. and his wife, Marcia, of Bend Ore.; daughter, Janet Elliott and her husband, Brad, of Rock Hill, S.C.; three grandchildren, Bryan Stone and his wife, Angela, Megan Elliott LaRocque and her husband, Eddie, and Laura Elliott Fry and her husband, Dustin; and three great-grandchildren, Shaolin and Sofia Stone and Henry LaRocque.

A memorial service will be held at Aldersgate, 3800 Shamrock Drive, Charlotte on August 2 at 10 a.m. Chaplain Karen Moore will lead the celebration of Mary’s life.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in her honor can be made to Portage Lake United Church, 1400 E. Houghton Ave., Houghton, MI 49931.

Mary and her family were so touched in her last days by the kindness of the Aldersgate community, everyone at Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, and the staff at Home Instead.

As the cancer began taking its toll, Mrs. Stone knew she had two choices. She could grow embittered or she could go with the flow, as she put it. “I choose not to be angry,” she told her family.

That’s the quiet grace with which Mary lived her life.