Johnny Stone

Margaret Thackeray Stone, who was known as Johnny, died in her sleep on June 2 in Falmouth. Ms. Stone, 102, had been living with her daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer Stone Gaines and Arthur G. Gaines Jr., at their home in Sippewissett.

She and her husband, Leslie R. Stone Jr., were married for 68 years upon his death in 2009.

After his death, at the age of 91, Ms. Stone moved from South Kingstown, Rhode Island, to live with her daughter and son-in-law. She became active in her new community and was a member of the Woods Hole Woman’s Club and the Church of the Messiah.

Ms. Stone was one of three women who became centenarians and were featured in a book about the Woods Hole Woman’s Club written by Charlotte Emans Moore and published by the Woods Hole Historical Collection and Museum on the occasion of the club’s 100th year in 2014. The other two club members were Elsie Frances Shepherd and Olive C. Beverly; the latter woman had introduced her to the club after her move here.

Her 100th birthday was celebrated in 2019 with a party organized by her granddaughters that took place in the gardens of her former home, where one of her granddaughters now lives. The celebration was attended by four generations of family and many friends.

She was born in the village of Wakefield in South Kingstown, the daughter of Bessie Rodman (Walker) and Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Thackeray.

Initially she lived at Fort Adams in Newport, where her father was the quartermaster. She then spent the next 90 years living in South Kingstown—the ninth generation of her family to do so—among streets, buildings and monuments bearing her ancestors’ names. She was a member of the University of Rhode Island Class of 1941, where she majored in textiles, played field hockey and was the first female member of the URI sailing team.

While in college, she met Les Stone, whom she married in December 1941 just three weeks before he was deployed to the South Pacific during World War II. The couple did not see each other again for three years. During the war, Ms. Stone joined the wartime workforce at Naval Air Station Quonset Point in North Kingstown, where she inspected war plane engines.

After the war, she and her husband had their two daughters and built a home in Wakefield, where they developed extensive orchards and gardens. Together they enjoyed racing sailboats; shellfishing for clams, quahogs and scallops; and tending to their gardens.

Active in the community, she and her husband, a professor, were founding members of the Narrow River Preservation Association and the South Kingstown Farmers Market. Ms. Stone was also a founding member of the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society and served on the first conservation commission in South Kingston. She was an active member and volunteer at the Church of the Ascension in Wakefield.

In addition to her daughter and son-in-law, she leaves four granddaughters, Sarah Gaines of Wakefield, Rhode Island, Hannah Gaines Day of Madison, Wisconsin, Nina Fleishman Reed of Chilmark, and Giulia Fleishman of Chilmark and Boston; six great-grandchildren, Henry and Eleanor Mohr, Charlotte and Percy Day, and Lucian and Ilaria Reed; and extended family.

She was preceded in death by her daughter Martha Fleishman and also by her older brother, Donald W. Thackeray.

A memorial service is planned for Thursday, June 16, at 2 PM at the Church of the Messiah on Church Street in Woods Hole.

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