With a heavy heart I must inform you that Bob Stonebraker (Stoney) had passed away quietly while watching his favorite Western TV shows on Tuesday 26 of this month. He would have been 90 this April. Stoney would tell me and Roger Smith stories when we went over to his house for dinner. No matter how many times he’d tell us the same tale we’d always have a fun time hearing them again. Here is my favorite:
Stoney told us a story of when he was being shipped over to the Philippines during WWII. He traveled down the Sacramento River on a paddlewheel to the Liberty Ship that would take him there. Once onboard a shipmate told him to eat lots of bread to avoid seasickness. Never being on a ship before Stoney got two loafs from the mess hall and hurriedly ate them all!
Needing to keep his hands busy Stoney was always asking his Sergeant for something to do on the long voyage, but there was nothing the Sergeant needed done. Later a notice went up on the bulletin board stating that if you didn’t keep your area clean you would be put on extra duty. So Stoney left his area in a mess: bed unmade and clothes lying around. He was quickly put to painting the Officer’s quarters. One Officer liked Stoney’s painting job so much that he offered Stoney a drink and asked if he wouldn’t mind continuing painting around the ship. Well Stoney was glad to take him up on that offer and painted his way over to the Philippines.
Life is a wondrous gift that we are sometimes reminded of when someone precious is no longer present among us leaving a great void in our lives to fill.