David G. Stone, late Alaska deputy labor commissioner and former member of the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, was remembered as a family man, mining advocate, historian, leader and devout Christian by his friends, mentors and son at a funeral service downtown Wednesday.
Close to 500 people attended the service, held in the Sheffield Ballroom at Centennial Hall in the afternoon, for Stone, who died suddenly of heart failure on Nov. 20. Among them were Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford and City Manager Kim Kiefer, and other state and local officials.
Parnell read from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament of the Bible, a selection titled, “A song of ascents.”
Murray Walsh, a close friend of Stone and his wife Laurel, delivered a eulogy after Parnell’s reading in which he remembered the time he spent with Stone and characterized him as deliberate, honorable and faithful to his family. He said Stone’s qualities as a person and his passion for the community served him well in his political career.
“David’s view of development in this city was very clear,” Walsh said. “He wanted growth, a road, mining and more places for people to live. There were people with long disagreements on one or more of those ambitions, but who voted for him anyway, gave him money, because they believed he would be a good civic leader and because they recognized, as he did, that there are far more things that we agree on as a city, and we should not let such issues divide us as a society.”
Ken Koelsch, one of Stone’s teachers in high school and his immediate predecessor on the Assembly, painted a portrait of Stone as intelligent and discerning, even as a teenaged boy in his class who insisted on being called “David” and not “Dave.”
“David was a joy to teach, because he loved learning,” Koelsch recalled.
Stone’s nine years on the Assembly overlapped with his service in a number of positions with the state government, including assistant commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, and deputy commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, a position he held at the time of his death.
“David served the maximum time on the Assembly,” said Koelsch. “I tried to talk him out of running his last term over concerns that he was too overworked, but he insisted he had his project he wanted to see through to completion.”
In describing Stone’s contributions to the Juneau community, Koelsch also quoted from English poet John Donne’s “Meditation XVII,” which begins, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
Former Commissioner of Labor Click Bishop, who named Stone to be his deputy last October, called Stone a “good friend” who took charge of major projects like mine workforce training, even while eschewing the spotlight.
“He wanted to move Alaska forward for the common good of all people, and he did it unselfishly,” said Bishop, who was elected to the Alaska State Senate from Fairbanks last month.
Bishop also thanked Laurel Stone “for sharing David with us.”
Paulette Simpson talked about Stone’s lifelong interest in mining, calling him a “hero” to others who shared his interest in Juneau’s history and advocacy of mining in Alaska.
“As individuals, we’ll each miss David’s friendship and his generosity,” Simpson said. “But he’ll also be missed collectively by an entire industry and all of its supporters.”
Simpson added that Stone “would want stories of the past to continue to be told, and mostly, too, he would want more wonderful mining stories to be written.”
Stone was also remembered by his son Brandon, who was seriously injured last spring while serving in Afghanistan with the United States Navy.
“My dad would have been very humbled to see today’s turnout,” said Brandon Stone, who described his father as a faithful husband who loved his children “unconditionally” and was guided in life by his Christian faith.
“He became a good man simply by being a great man,” Brandon Stone said, in summary of his father’s life, character and accomplishments.
The service was led by Steve Olmstead, a personal friend of Stone.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's Note: Steve Olmstead's position was misstated in the original version of this story. He is the former pastor of Chapel by the Lake.