A commissioned missionary of American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), Stone led Neighborhood Ministries—among ABHMS’ network of Neighborhood Action Program (NAP) Christian centers—from 1969 until his retirement in 2000.
He served on numerous community committees, helping to establish youth summer programs throughout the Youngstown area, as well as starting Interfaith Home Maintenance, a local nonprofit dedicated to providing home-repair services to low-income families. Stone’s most important work was not so much professional, but personal, and he will be forever known by hundreds of children as one who freely shared encouragement.
With a heart full of love for those in need, Stone started a community center in the Kimmel Brook Housing development in Youngstown and developed children-and-family assistance programs in the Kirwan Homes Housing development in Campbell.
In a 1994 letter to American Baptist Churches of Ohio outlining the work of Neighborhood Ministries, Stone wrote: “Neighborhood Ministries has made a determined effort to be engaged in our Lord’s work among people with needs they are unable to address by themselves. Our concern has been to minister to physical, social and spiritual needs. … We recognize that as God’s spirit works in a person’s life, God brings forgiveness, healing and love that restores broken relationships, restores self-esteem and enables changes to occur. We also affirm that people believe in the witness of persons who are walking the walk…loving, helping, forgiving and giving God the credit and glory.”
Mark Samuel, Neighborhood Ministries’ current executive director, says of Stone: “After his retirement, he continued to volunteer for Neighborhood Ministries, helped to establish our newest community center, ran a boys group there and served on our resource committee. He remained a strong friend and supporter as well as a mentor and an encourager for me.”
Stone held Doctor and Master of Divinity degrees from American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, Calif., and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota.
He is survived by his wife, Frances, along with sons, Timothy and Daniel, and stepchildren Carol, Terry, Bruce and Susie, as well as four grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Matthew.
A memorial service honoring Stone will be held Saturday, May 7, at Calvary Baptist Church, Youngstown, where he held membership.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Neighborhood Ministries, P.O. Box 640, Campbell, OH, 44405.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.