John Burton Stone
West Point, 1958
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Roger "Rube" Waddell on February 27, 2008:
Memories fade after 50 years, but we all have fond memories of our times with John. I donít know how roommates were assigned for Plebes at West Point. I, a Nebraska farm boy just out of high school in 1954, had the good fortune of being placed with John, who had completed one year at Oregon State University, and Harry Kirschner who was an infantry combat veteran of the Korean War. Coincidentally, John and I both had sisters named Mary Frances.
Being the product of a small town high school, I took advantage of the academic help, especially in math, John could provide. Our other roommate, Harry, also had problems with math but would prefer reading Hemingway over studying math and failed the first semester, term-end exams. Now, I said memories fade after 50 years, and my recollection of what happened to our roommate varies somewhat from what John remembered. As Harry went out the door to take that turnout exam, he asked John to hand him the large, red Eschbach math reference book. As I remember it, John handed him the large, red Spanish-English dictionary instead and Harry failed the math exam. Harry was happy to go, however, and went off to study Anthropology.
Policy required that roommates change at Christmas of Plebe year, but the following year John and I chose to get together again and were joined by Jim Sigler and we remained together for the next three years.
John was always a relaxed, steady, easy-going guy. As it says in our yearbook, "His ability to make friends will long be remembered by his classmates." John had a real love for his home and often spoke of how things were in Godís Country and of his girl friend back home.
During First Class year, John worked with the cadet radio station, KDET, probably to be sure the station featured a lot of jazz musicians. One benefit of having John as a roommate was that he had a phone in the room because of his work with the radio station. That allowed me to make frequent phone calls to my girl friend, who lived in Highland Falls. That girl friend and I are about to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. She has a special fondness for John because on occasions when I had some activity that conflicted with a scheduled date, I would recruit John to look after her until I got free.
I never had a military assignment with John. Thus, our children never got to know their children. However, while on temporary assignments to Germany and to the D.C. area John was able to visit Laurelei and me. He and DíAnn and the Siglers also visited us in Georgia in 1995 when there was a class reunion in Charleston. Laurelei and I have visited them briefly at Fort Sill in 1964, then in Florence in 1986, 1999, and last April but these visits have been too infrequent. On that 1986 visit, we stayed at a hotel on the coast. At the agreed to time for going to breakfast, John and DíAnn arrived at the door with a basket of coffee, croissants, and jam along with jackets to protect us against the blustery wind, and we had breakfast on the beach.
John was a real gentleman with no unkind words toward anyone. Although Laurelei and I didnít get to see him and DíAnn much, our contacts were always great fun.
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