John Stone, passed away at his home in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, on May 11, 2020. He is survived by Anne, his wife of 55 years; his children; Cymry DeBoucher, Thornton Stone, Sara Mueller and Grace Poulsen; nine grandchildren; and his sister, Deborah Busch. He was predeceased by his son, Jay Stone.
John lived his life in the pursuit of knowledge. His love for nature and all things outdoors were driving forces in his personal and professional life. He spent his entire professional career (some 60+ years) in the mineral industry. He began his lifelong path in geology at a young age when his father, who was also a geologist, was hired by the Fresnillo Company in Mexico in 1944. As a result, John grew up in a mining camp. During summer vacations, he worked at various jobs in the camp, both on the surface and underground, and spent his free time fishing, shooting, hunting and exploring nature, which were among his favorite pastimes throughout his life. At the Fountain Valley High School in Colorado, he became interested in the marine fossils exposed in the banks of a nearby reservoir, and his interest in rocks began. In college, as a sophomore at Yale, he took an introductory course in geology, and in his words, he was “hooked” and spent the remaining summers of his college years working on projects in Nevada, Death Valley, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and in Colorado.
He completed his PhD at Stanford in 1958, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the mines in Naica, Mexico, which hosts the now famous “Crystal Cave” featured by National Geographic in November 2008. After seeing the article and contacting the mine, he was invited to a private visit of the Naica mine in February 2010 and was interested to learn that the mine geologists were still using his thesis as a guide some 50 years after it had been produced: a longevity that very few doctoral theses can claim.
Along with Pete Dunn, who was a college classmate and lifelong friend, John co-authored and published the Society of Economic Geologists Special Publication #3 (Ore Reserve Estimates in the Real World) which was originally published in 1994, with a final, fourth edition published in 2012. It was designed to be a "short-course" and over the years, John presented the 3-day course to professionals at all levels and experience, using the publication as a text. John led the course in Denver, the United Kingdom, and Peru and his colleagues have continued to use it to teach students and train others as far away as Kiev. So ultimately, the text reached a much wider audience than originally envisioned.
John has been described by those who knew him as a very good friend and mentor, who shared his knowledge freely. He was regarded as having a calm, quiet manner, and a philosophical approach to life. He was an easy-going, gracious friend, husband, father and grandfather with a great sense of humor, regardless of the circumstances.
He was above all else, a gentleman, an avid outdoorsman, a scientist, and a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He relished being able to teach his children and grandchildren about the natural world that he so loved. Most family outings involved being outdoors. Skiing, camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing and horseback riding were some of his favorite activities over the years. He was a wonderful story-teller, with a multitude of memorable sayings, and was able to enthrall all who met him with stories of his mining adventures in South America and around the world. In retirement, he continued his exploration of the world with trips to Europe, the Amazon, South America, Latin America, Alaska and Hawaii. When not travelling to visit family or exploring the world, he spent his time at home with Anne, on their ranch in Texas caring for the horses and property he loved. John was a firm believer that, “in life, it is better to wear out than to rust,” and lived his life accordingly.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in John's Memory to the National Park Foundation at https://give.nationalparks.org/.
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