Pastors' Memoirs

Joseph Leslie Stone, 1918-1998

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  "Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise!" That was Joe Stone’s lifelong theme song. He never tired of preaching the gospel and witnessing for his Lord. He believed in the Resurrection and its message of life eternal. "Funerals are celebrations of life as we know it and joyous send-offs to life with Christ!"

  Joe was a genuine pastor to his flock, a strong prophet of evangelism, an excellent preacher, and an able church administrator. No matter how hectic his life, how burdened his mind with concern for others, he always had time for his family. He never forgot birthdays or anniversaries and each March reserved one special day for kite flying with his daughter. Quite the fun-loving man, he was a great tease with a knee-slapping sense of humor.

  Born in Stillwater, Okla., to Charles Holmes and Willie Kate Williams Stone, this descendant of a long line of preachers and exhorters grew up in Greensboro, N.C. Joe earned his bachelor’s degree at The College of William and Mary and continued his education at Duke University, earning what would later become a Master of Divinity degree.

  While at William and Mary, he met and married Jane Frances Dunn, from Washington Street Church, Alexandria, and daughter of William Edward and Harriet Rogers Pollard Dunn. Together, they followed Christ’s "Great Commission" through nine Virginia pastorates: the West Franklin and Henry circuits; Ferebee-Halstead and Colonial Avenue, Norfolk; Oakland Avenue, Westhampton, and Highland Park, Richmond; Trinity, Lexington; and Aldersgate, Hampton. Joe held many district and conference positions, most of which focused on evangelism or education. He was also active in many civic organizations. Like his father before him, he boasted of more than 50 years as a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

  He participated as the only representative from Virginia in the American Mission to British Methodism in 1962, and several years later, he and Jane participated as part of the mission team to Scandinavian Methodism. His devotion to Methodism was enhanced a thousandfold by his frequent visits to John Wesley’s church and Aldersgate Street in London.

  Joe retired in 1966, but rarely turned down an opportunity to preach and administer the sacraments. While his first love was always to share the good news of the Gospel, his second career in financial management and tax preparation focused on the unique needs of those in full-time Christian ministry.

  After Jane’s death, he married Nancy Dodson Truitt of Epworth Church, Norfolk. Following Nancy Truitt’s death he married Nancy Spencer Cherry who survives him. He is also survived by a daughter, Jane Hernandez, and grandchildren, Stephen Patterson and Harriet Latta. His memorial service at Centenary Church, Portsmouth, Virginia, closed with these words: "Joseph Leslie Stone came to the closing chapter of his life with this affirmation, ‘I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that Day.’ "

— Jane Hernandez

 

 

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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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