Robert Thomas Stone, MD

Robert StoneOn July 23, 2016, Dr. Robert Thomas Stone passed away. His funeral was held at First Presbyterian Church in Wilson on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. There will be a visitation at Joyner’s Funeral Home on Tuesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Born on October 20, 1938, in the Panama Canal Zone where his father was stationed as an Army physician. Dr. Stone was the second son of Dr. William Spencer Stone and Louise Rankin Stone. Much of his youth was spent on the Walter Reed Hospital grounds where his father was Director of the Army Medical Graduate School. Dr. Stone graduated from Gilman School in Baltimore in 1956 and from Yale University in 1960 with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree and three varsity letters in lacrosse. After graduating he became interested in medicine and enrolled in medical school at the University of Virginia where he also completed his residency in otolaryngology. In Charlottesville just before his graduation, he met a nursing student, Frances Ellen Straus, at the medical school picnic. In a short time they fell in love and were married a year later. They were inseparable and recently celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Over the years they added four sons who made their family full of excitement and love.

After completing his training at UVA, Dr. Stone served in the US Army from 1970-72. He was stationed at the 95th Evacuation Hospital outside of DaNang in Vietnam and was awarded a Bronze Star. After fulfilling his service to our country, he moved to Wilson because he thought it was an ideal community to raise a family. As his medical practice grew he found the perfect partner, Dr. Robert Alan (Chip) Satterly. They worked together for thirty-nine years and became like brothers to one another. He also benefited from working with very professional and loving nurses who made his job so much more enjoyable; they included Rita Outland, Teresa Nguyen, Becky Barnes, Judy Boykin, and his audiologist Hannah Dameron. After forty-three years of dedicated practice in Wilson which included many nights and weekends of providing care to those in need, he reluctantly retired when multiple myeloma caused several spine fractures. His exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam is considered a significant risk factor in his development of cancer.

In addition to his love of family and medicine, Dr. Stone also had numerous hobbies. As a child he began collecting military miniatures and over the course of his life the collection grew to over three thousand soldiers. He was a passionate Orioles fan as his father took him to many games as a child in Baltimore and closely followed their games even up to the night before his death. His love of baseball led to his involvement in the founding of the North Carolina Baseball Museum and many years serving on its board. He regularly attended Mass with Francie at Saint Therese Church. For many years he was an avid runner while later in life he was known to walk all over Wilson often having to stop to decline rides home. Dr. Stone spent many happy seasons coaching soccer, baseball, and football. His acre backyard contained a regulation size soccer goal, basketball goals, and a pitcher’s mound. It attracted honorary sons including John Watson and Gregory Appert. His door was always open to those injured in neighborhood games or on the playing fields. He once sutured a scalp laceration in the locker room so that a Greenfield player could return to the second half of a soccer game.

Dr. Stone felt very blessed to have a close circle of friends. He was grateful for his friendship with Clay Johnson and the time they spent coaching various teams. He was inspired by Clay’s involvement in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Lunches with Vincent Thomas, Bill Farris, and Bob Farris were always a highlight of his week as well as many special times with Larry Simmons. He had fond neighborhood memories including long conversations with Ken Boyer and Derrick Bonshor who both visited him frequently and assisted in his care.

Dr. Stone was most proud of his four sons. He put much effort into making sure they were always prepared for life’s challenges. He credited Greenfield School with establishing a strong educational foundation during their formative years and was an ardent supporter of the school. It gave him immense pleasure that like him they all chose to pursue a career in medicine. Over the years he welcomed four daughters-in-law to the family and loved to share stories with them that exemplified what it meant to be a Stone. He took great interest in his five grandsons and two granddaughters and hosting them at his Emerald Isle beach house created some of his most cherished memories. With much determination he was able to make one last special trip to the beach ten days before he passed.

His final months were a struggle as he attempted to recover from lymphoma involving his eye. He is indebted to his team of physicians in Wilson who provided him hope and expert care as his health continued to worsen. The family is especially grateful to Dr. Keith Lerro, Dr. Douglas Brewer, Dr. Jonathan Lozevski, Dr. Margaret Metts, Dr. Jobe Metts, and Dr. Duane Fitch as well as his many nurses at Wilson Memorial Hospital. The day before he died he was diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a rare brain infection that resulted from his weakened immune system. Francie was his rock, never leaving his side and giving him comfort around the clock up until his last breath. Despite all of this, he remained courageous and extremely optimistic. He was often quoted as saying “I am the luckiest man to have ever lived.” He genuinely believed this and never complained no matter how much he was suffering. As a pillar of his family and the community of Wilson, he will be deeply missed.

Dr. Stone was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. William Spencer Stone who enjoyed years of retirement here in Wilson.

He is survived by his wife, Francie; his sons, Dr. Robert Stone, Jr. and wife, Dr. Debra Bynum of Cary, Dr. Richard Stone and wife, Lisa Stone of Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Russell Stone and wife, Lisa Dudley Stone of Wilson, and Dr. Roger Stone and wife, Dr. Erin Stone of Charlotte; grandchildren Layne Stone, Jackson Stone, Justin Stone, David Stone, Caroline Stone, Matthew Stone, and Bryce Stone, and his brother, Dr. William Stone and wife, Libby of Nashville, Tennessee and their children Kathryn, Brian and Lauren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to First Presbyterian Church, 414 Sunset Road, Wilson, North Carolina 27893, Greenfield School, 3351 NC Hwy 42 W, Wilson, North Carolina 27893 or Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 4600 Marriott Drive, Suite 120, Raleigh, North Carolina 27612.

Condolences may be directed to