Col. Stephen A. Stone Jr. USAF (Retired)
July 12, 1918 - September 28, 2019
Colonel Stephen A. Stone, Jr., United States Air Force (Retired), of Salem, Oregon, knew his way around an aircraft. He was serving his country as a fighter pilot, flying with the 82nd Fighter Group in 1945 when his P-38 Lightning was shot down while he was strafing trains in the Austrian Alps during World War II. Chased through a snowfield and apprehended by soldiers of the Third Reich, he took, as he would say, “an involuntary detour through Germany and Austria” that landed him in an Austrian POW camp.
When World War II came to an end, Stone flew one tour in the Korean conflict, and later, was set to go to Viet Nam when he was grounded from flying for the military due to minor vision issues. He, however, wasted no time in accumulating a string of aircraft at Salem’s McNary Field, which he would lease out. When that business came to an end, he sold all his planes except for a Piper Archer, which he continued to fly on a civilian license well into his 80s.
Born in Salem, Oregon, July 12, 1918, to Stephen A. Stone, Sr., an editor of Salem’s Capital Journal, and his wife, Nellie Mulkey Stone, a piano instructor at Willamette University, Stone was a longtime resident of Oregon’s state capital. But even as gravity began to catch up to him, his heart still belonged to the sky. A member of the Military Officers Association of America, as well as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, he lived a stone’s throw from McNary Field, and visited often. In fact, a corner in the Pilot’s Lounge was dedicated to him and his aerial adventures.
But age proved to be a formidable adversary. On the evening of September 28, 2019, two months after celebrating his 101st birthday, Stone lost his battle with it and passed peacefully at his home, embarking on his next adventure. Perhaps he heard the sky calling one last time.
Those who loved him included his older brother Jerry and his wife Janet, and his younger brother Norman and his wife June, all of whom predeceased him. He also had a squadron of nieces and nephews who got to spend time with him shortly before he was cleared for takeoff. He is survived by his nieces Rebecca Stone, of Rose Lodge, Oregon; and Genevieve Bond and her husband, Frank Bond, of Gales Creek, Oregon; and his nephews Matthew Stone and his wife Stacy Stone, of Portland, Oregon; Michael Stone and his fiancée, Dora Mioduski, of Hillsboro, Oregon; and Stephen Stone (young Steve), of Eugene, Oregon. Finally, his longtime neighbors Kay Corliss and Bruce Boehm, always willing to lend a hand, proved to be amazing friends to him for many years.
Steve will be honored with a military ceremony at 9:30 am on Friday, October 25, 2019, at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. At his request, no other services are planned. He has also requested that friends who wish to, may make memorial contributions to Medical Teams International or the United Services Organization, Inc. Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
Safe flying over the rainbow, Uncle Steve.
There are currently no guest book entries available.