Cover photo for Rocky E Stone's Obituary
Rocky E Stone Profile Photo

Rocky E Stone

November 1, 1946 — July 25, 2023

Vona

Rocky E Stone

Ronald Eugene Stone, 76, passed away on July 25, 2023, at his home in Vona, Colorado. He was born on November 1, 1946, in Miles City, Montana to Elizabeth and Eugene Stone.

 

Known to all as “Rocky,” he grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota. He met his future wife and lifelong partner, Sherry Buck, in the 8th grade before graduating from Rapid City High School in 1964. Like most young loves, the two had a few bumps and breakups, before marrying in 1967.

 

Rocky became the first in his family to earn a four-year college degree from Black Hills State College in South Dakota in 1969. In the fall of that year, he and Sherry relocated to Vona, Colorado to pursue twin careers in public education. Two years later, in 1972, he earned his Master’s in Business from Black Hills State.

 

Rocky taught a range of courses including accounting, computer science and Colorado history during his career at Hi-Plains High School in Seibert, Colorado. He also taught journalism, directing the production of the school newspaper and yearbook, which won state awards nearly every year under his guidance. He later came out of retirement to teach one year at Bethune School as an emergency teacher. Perhaps his most enduring legacy as an educator came through his role as college counselor, by which he helped countless students apply to schools, attain financial aid and scholarships, even choose career paths.

 

As news of his death spread, students across two generations reached out to recount myriad stories of “Mr. Stone” going above and beyond for them, in small ways and in life changing ones. As one student reflected, “I’ve often thought about how lucky we all were in that tiny school to have [Rocky] as a teacher — he was a special guy.”

 

After 14 years of marriage and many adventures together, Sherry and Rocky welcomed their daughters, Roxanne, in 1981, and Stephanie, in 1982. As a father, Rocky was perpetually attentive, always willing to stop whatever he was doing to play a game, put on a skit or assemble a dollhouse. When his daughters traded dolls for basketballs, he practiced free throws and lay-ups with them for hours. He swore he’d never have horses but caved for the girls and the Stones eventually ended up with 6, including Dad’s own Zippo. Always an educator, Rocky dedicated hundreds of nights to study with them, helping both graduate at the top of their classes, gain college degrees and go on to careers reflecting his own passions: one in journalism and one as a business owner.

 

An entrepreneur at heart, Rocky started and ran a number of ventures over the years, including a motel in Burlington, a rental property business, a construction company, and his family’s favorite, the Bonny Dam Marina. Every summer for nearly two decades, the teachers and their daughters relocated to Bonny Reservoir, where Rocky could be found during the day selling fishing gear, pumping gas at the docks and giving tips on what the fish were biting, and at night, around a campfire with his family. On days off, he took the girls and their friends fishing or water skiing.

 

Every June for more than 40 years, Rocky traveled to South Dakota for a week of walleye fishing with a crew of men that over the years included his brother, his father-in-law, his cousins and his longtime friend, Jim Sietsema. The fishing was often good, but Rocky’s fish fries were always better.

 

Rocky retired from teaching at Hi-Plains in 2002 after more than three decades, but he could never really retire. He threw himself into his rental business and developed a love for home renovation. He became a licensed general contractor and there are many homes around Kit Carson County that bear his handiwork.

 

The man could fix anything and whenever he visited his brother in Las Vegas or his daughters in New York City and Denver, he went to work. He built bookshelves, installed cabinets, rewired that “shoddy New York electrical job.”

 

In his final years, Rocky enjoyed traveling most of all. He and Sherry took several trips with Rocky’s cousin, Jerre, and his wife, Pat. They visited Hawaii, Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, Napa Valley, Italy, Greece and Turkey. He loved a good meal — especially lobster — and a long conversation over a cigar and a bit of bourbon.

 

All his life and everywhere he went, Rocky served. He was on the Burlington Hospital board and received the Golden Wheat Award for excellence in philanthropy and service in 1995. He was a volunteer fireman, a longtime Lion’s Club member, a Vona town council and cemetery board member, and a dedicated member of Vona Baptist Church.

 

Rocky was generous to a fault, always available for anyone in need. He lived up to his name—a rock of the community, steadfast, undaunted by challenge. He will be remembered by all as a loving father, a faithful friend and brother, a devoted husband.

 

Rocky is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sherry, his two daughters, Roxanne and Stephanie, and his brother, Kenny. He is preceded in death by his father and mother and by his sister, Sandy.

 

A Memorial service will be held at 11 am, Wednesday, August 2, at the First Baptist Church in Vona, Colorado.

 

Donations in his memory should be made to the Vona Ambulance Fund at 310 Iowa Ave, Seibert, CO 80834 .

 

 

 

 

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Past Services

Memorial Service

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

First Baptist Church of Vona

1383 1st Avenue, Vona, CO 80861

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Reception

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

12:00pm - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

First Baptist Church of Vona

1383 1st Avenue, Vona, CO 80861

Reception to follow service at the fellowship hall.

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