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Published: Wednesday, 4/20/2011

Gerald M. Stone, 1939-2011: Ex-master CPO actively volunteered in Bedford


LAMBERTVILLE -- Gerald M. "Jerry" Stone, 71, a retiree who became an involved member of the Bedford Township community after multiple careers, including one in the Coast Guard, died in his home here Monday.

The exact cause of death was unknown, his wife, Margie, said. He had suffered a year of poor health that included pneumonia and heart surgery, but seemed to be getting better.

Mr. Stone spent 26 years in the Coast Guard as a telecommunications officer, retiring in 1985 as a master chief petty officer, the most senior enlisted rank. He and his wife moved to Bedford Township from Quito, Ecuador, in 2004, after she retired from the Foreign Service to be near her Toledo-area family.

Mr. Stone wasted no time in establishing himself as a township citizen, joining the board of the Bedford Senior Center and becoming Bedford Township's representative on the Monroe County Commission on Aging. He delivered for Meals on Wheels, was active in the Retired Service Volunteers Program, and donated his time to the Bedford Township Library. He also volunteered his time to Monroe County's Skywarn Severe Weather Spotter Program.

For their public service, he and his wife were given the Michigan Minuteman Award.

During his Coast Guard service, Mr. Stone was stationed in Honolulu, Miami, Seattle, and Nova Scotia, and served aboard icebreakers in the North and South poles, his wife said. He was awarded the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for his service aboard the icebreaker Polar Sea, whose home port is Seattle.

When he retired, Mr. Stone was telecommunications manager for the Coast Guard's Pacific Area Communications System, based in San Francisco, and oversaw a Coast Guard training school in California.

After his honorable discharge, he put his telecommunications expertise to work for the King County Sheriff's Office, Seattle, where he spent 12 years as a 911 dispatcher.

In 1997, he married Margie Patterson, whom he had known for many years, and moved to the District of Columbia. The couple then moved to her new Foreign Service posting in Ecuador. He became a Foreign Service officer working for the State Department in communications and administrative duties.

Mr. Stone also was a ham radio operator with the call letters WB7RUM.

Surviving are his wife, Margie, daughter, Teresa Benedick, stepdaughters, Dorreen Whitney and Debra Liuzunie, stepsons, Randall Bennett, Gary Bennett, and Mark Patterson, and 11 grandchildren and stepgrandchildren.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Michael W. Pawlak Funeral Home, Temperance, where visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday.

The family suggests memorial tributes to the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.

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