Ralph E. Stone | Obituary

Ralph Earl Stone, 87, of Columbia, died Feb. 1, 2024, in Waterloo. He was born Jan. 30, 1937, in Springfield, Mo., to Burl Stone and Pauline Avery.

Ralph was a quick wit, loved conversation, a crossword master and friend to all. Ralph grew up in Leasburg, Mo., where his father was the tower man for the forestry service. When he was young, he would work the tower watching for forest fires and doing radio transmissions to help the adults foresters. 

This fostered his love of adventure as he bragged to us about scaling the outside of the tower to get to the top. He had another  job as a young boy as a cave guide at Onondaga Cave. He loved this and would use lanterns to explore other caves in the area. 

After high school, he found an outlet for his adventurous soul in the Army. Dad became a Screaming Eagle with the 101st Airborne. He told us he LOVED jumping from planes and that it was, and I quote, “so much fun.” 

After his service, he came back home and went to work in the St. Louis area at the Chevrolet plant and finally working for Monsanto in Sauget. He was an electrical maintenance engineer until his retirement. 

It was when he lived in St. Louis that he met the love of his life, as he would often say, a good woman that he loved very much, Mary Lou. They were married in 1961, made their home in Columbia and raised their family there. 

Dad took us on adventures too – camping, fishing, running trotlines at night, learning to swim in the Meramec River by jumping off the hog trough bridge or jumping from a rope swing tied high up in a tree, to taking us to the top of that old tower in Leasburg or traveling to Colorado to visit beloved family. 

His grandchildren loved his silly jokes, and encouraging bad behavior like putting Jell-O and whipped cream on your cereal. 

He loved football and one of his joys was watching Ralph and Jake when they played high school football. 

He taught us to fish, love God, trust a higher power and love unconditionally, and that when you become an “old fart,” all you can do is do the best you can.

In 1970, by the grace of God, dad became sober by following a 12 step program and a higher power. Dad touched many, many lives through his sobriety in AA. Due to Dad’s selfless faith in the higher power, many other families have reaped the benefits of sobriety too.  He proudly celebrated his 53rd year of sobriety in December. 

Ralph is survived by his wife of 63 years Mary Lou (Mehrtens) Stone; daughters Julie (Ken) Hubbard and Sandra (Ron) Daniels; sons Ralph (Donna) Stone and Randy Stone; grandchildren Sarah (Jay) Wellen, Laura (Preston) Bogard, Casey (Zac) Carnahan, Robin (Matt) Fisher, Rachel (Ryan) Halley, Jacob Stone and Ellie (Aaron Brockmann) Stone; great-grandchildren Clare and Jackson Carnahan, Ethan and Colton Fisher, Emma, Sophia and Behren Bogard, Tanner Wellen and Blake and Autumn Halley; sister, Sharon Gilbert; brother Don Avery; step-siblings Marilyn Woyak and Chuck Avery; dear nieces; nephews; cousins; friends; and his AA family.

He is preceded in death by his parents Burl Stone and Pauline Avery, son Richard and siblings James Stone and JoEllen Wevers.

Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Feb. 5 at Quernheim Funeral Home and 9 a.m. until time of service Feb. 6 at Quernheim Funeral Home in Waterloo.

A funeral service will begin at 10 a.m. Feb. 6 at the funeral home with Pastor Cory Hartz officiating.

Interment will be at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. 

As an expression of sympathy the family prefers memorial contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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