William James Stone, known to family, friends, acquaintances, and many others as ‘Bill’, passed away in Keller, Texas on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. He was 93 years old. Lutheran funeral service will be held on Wednesday, May 4th, 2:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Amarillo, Texas with Pastor Brian Hesse officiating. Interment will be at Llano Cemetery Field of Valor with full military rites. Arrangements are by LaGrone Blackburn Shaw Funeral Directors, of Amarillo, Texas.
William, or ‘Bill’, a true southern gentleman, was born to Anne Marie Benton Thomas and William James Thomas on March 26, 1923 among the magnolias and azaleas in Augusta, Georgia. Later, as a young boy, his mother married Joseph Hopkin Stone, USN, just before the start of World War II. Growing up in a military family during the time leading up to America’s involvement in World War II, he lived in many different places, including Puerto Rico, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and southern California. He graduated from high school in Long Beach, California, attended the University of Maryland, the University of Oklahoma, and the Overseas Extension College in Wiesbaden, Germany.
In 1941 he enlisted in the United States Navy as the American involvement in World War II was getting underway. He trained and served as a meteorologist in the Pacific during the war. After the war, he went to work for the United States Weather Service in Winslow, Arizona as a meteorologist, where he met the woman he would eventually marry, Margery Gay Stout of Winslow. They married on October 2, 1946 in Winslow. He served with distinction in the US Weather Service. However in 1950, as the conflict in Korea escalated, he was recruited by the United States Air Force to serve as a meteorologist in the Korean conflict. As he would later recall, both the US Navy and US Air Force were in need of weathermen, and the USAF made him the better deal. He served sixteen years in the United States Air Force, becoming a weather superintendent, and eventually retiring in 1966 at Amarillo Air Force Base. His career as an Air Force meteorologist took him to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado, and military bases in Illinois, Germany, Oklahoma, Washington D.C., England, and finally, Amarillo. He received numerous commendations as an Air Force meteorologist and served his country with distinction.
Upon retirement from the Air Force, Bill went to work as a civilian meteorologist in Amarillo. He started as a weather forecaster and broadcaster with local meteorologist Seth Kimball, who operated a small company known as Weather Forecast, Inc. He initially started out doing weather broadcasts for KGNC Radio and later moved into television weather broadcasting with KGNC TV, which is now KAMR TV. He was the morning and weekend meteorologist for the former KGNC TV before moving to rival KVII TV in the early 1970s. Shortly after Marsh Media purchased KVII TV, he was the lead meteorologist for the dominant force in local news, weather, and sports during the 1970s – the Pro News Team. He held the Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society and was widely respected for his accurate, no-nonsense presentation of weather forecasts. He left KVII in the mid-1970s and went back to KAMR TV as a weekend meteorologist before retiring from television broadcasting in the late 1970s. He retired for good in 1986 and continued to live in Amarillo until moving to Keller, Texas in 2015. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Amarillo, and Messiah Lutheran Church in Keller. He had many interests, including military and political history, the natural sciences, religion, music, and all kinds of sports. He was a beloved father and grandfather, and his sharp mind and good nature captivated those who took care of him during the last year of his life.
Bill was preceded in death in 1999 by his wife of 54 years, Margery. He is survived by three children, Cheryl Lynn Stone of Oceanside, California, William James Stone II and wife Patti Holtzclaw Stone of Keller, and Susan Lynn Jimenez and husband Julian Jimenez of Amarillo. Surviving grandchildren are Michael Travis Stone of Oceanside, California, Joshua Michael Jimenez and Tawny Nicole Jimenez of Amarillo, Berkeley Kate-Holtzclaw Stone Simmons and husband Captain Stephen Simmons, USMC, Fort Worth, TX, and Hillary Glenn-Holtzclaw Stone Melesky and husband Andrew Thomas Melesky, Keller. He is also survived by 10 great grandchildren and 1 great, great grandchild.
He embraced the central doctrine of the Lutheran Reformation – justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ Jesus. His soul now rejoices in the presence of the Lord and waits for re-unification with the body in the resurrection to come. The family suggests memorials be to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN, his favorite charity, or to Trinity Lutheran Church, Amarillo, or Messiah Lutheran Church, Keller. Family visitation will be Tuesday, May 3rd, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, at Marriott Courtyard Amarillo West/Medical Center, 8006 I-40 West.