Ivy Lillian Stone’s brave and generous heart stopped on December 19, 2016 at the age of 88 in Eugene, Oregon. A note she had prepared and left for her family listed her favorite hymns and said, ‘do not be sad for me. I’ve had a wonderful life and am in a better place. I love all of you with all my heart.’
Ivy began her life on September 19, 1928 as the fourth of five children born to William and Sara Childs in the East End of London, England. Her father died when she was two, leaving a widow with five children. Her mother’s resiliency and compassion were evident in Ivy and all her siblings. In 1939, when Ivy was eleven, her mother tied a luggage tag to a button on her coat, placed her nine-year-old sister Sylvia’s hand in hers and sent them off for evacuation from the German bombing of London. During a lull in bombing months later, they returned, only to have their home destroyed during the firebombing of the East End docks. Buses ran through the night to evacuate displaced refugees to outlying areas. Ivy’s family was dropped off at a barn, where they enjoyed the comfort of hay and livestock until they could find housing in the nearby village of Great Dunmow.
Ivy met her future husband, Richard Elick Stone because neither could dance and because she ignored her mother’s advice to not have anything to do with ‘Yankee soldier boys.’ Ivy and Richard found themselves at a dance organized for Allied troops stationed at the nearby Stansted airbase. Ivy was there with her older sister, Rose, who loved to dance. Richard, a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps was assigned to the dance as a military policeman. Since neither could dance, they sat quietly together and talked—Ivy of her life and family in the green landscape of England; Richard of his life and family in the faraway, dusty landscape of West Texas. Several days later, Richard showed up unannounced at her front door in his uniform to introduce himself to her mom. Despite her mom’s misgivings about Yankee soldier boys, this one’s blue eyes, wide grin, and easy manners had the same effect on her mom as they had on Ivy.
Ivy and Richard were married October 23, 1945 in St. Mary’s Church, Great Dunmow. She was 17, he 24.
The following year, Richard was discharged and sent back to Texas. Many months later, Ivy waved goodbye to her family from the deck of the ship Saturnia in Southampton on the first leg of her trip to reunite with Richard in Texas. For some of the women aboard the Saturnia, the goodbyes were too much to bear, and they abandoned their journey to board a launch that returned them to shore; but not Ivy, who was thinking of her sweetheart in Texas. She would not see her English family again for twenty years, but she always held them close to her heart.
A long train trip from New York delivered Ivy to West Texas and Richard under a hot sun in the middle of a dust storm. She was quickly adopted by Richard’s large family, and the two set up house with his elderly parents and several of his teenage siblings in Seminole, where they would live happily together for 49 years.
During those years, Ivy was devoted to Richard’s parents and her son, Joe, the only child she would have, and when Richard took up long haul trucking, Ivy often chose to join him on the truck along with her son. The three travelled across the country, often sleeping in the truck and eating by the side of the road. Ivy and Richard gave up trucking when their son started school, and Ivy was a loving source of inspiration for her son, who became a professor and economic adviser in two Presidential administrations.
Ivy was also very active in her local church, where she dedicated herself to programs for young children and ‘Meals on Wheels’ for the elderly and disabled.
Ivy’s love of children eventually inspired her to open Ivy’s Day Care, which over the years touched the lives of scores of children, many of whom would send her notes of appreciation well into their own adult lives, often also seeking her advice. When Richard became disabled by emphysema, Ivy tended her day care as well as Richard, and the children were a source of delight for them both. After the sweetheart she had left England for died, Ivy moved to Eugene, Oregon to be close to her son and grandchildren. Landscapes of Oregon reminded her of England. In Oregon, Ivy participated in a local church and its program for new mothers, and volunteered as a crafts coordinator in a local retirement home, where she helped arthritic hands and weak eyes to construct crafts enjoyed by families as holiday centerpieces. Her last years remained full of joy and generosity.
Ivy was preceded in death by her parents, William and Sara, her husband, Richard, her brother, William, and her sisters Rose Letch and Violet Eastman.
She is survived by her beloved sister, Sylvia Letch of Great Dunmow, England; her only child Joe Stone and wife, Jo Anna Gray of Eugene, Oregon; sisters-in-law and life-long friends, Mary Cozart of Lamesa and Carolyn Stone of Seminole; devoted brother-in-law Harold Stone of Seminole; her beloved grandchildren Christopher Dylan Stone of Eugene, Oregon. Elizabeth Ivy Stone of Portland, Oregon; Kelsey Sora Khatter of Eugene, Oregon; Regina Gray Wilson of Ben, Oregon; great-grandson Rowan Khatter of Eugene, Oregon; and many loving nieces and nephews in both England and Texas.
Memorial services in both Eugene and Seminole will be announced at a later date.