Friday, April 01, 2022
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A gathering at Russell J. Boyle & Son Funeral Home, 331 Smith Street in Providence will be held in celebration of Donald’s life at a wake with visitation hours from 4:00 – 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 31, 2022.
Donald’s funeral will be held on Friday, April 1, 2022, with guests welcome to arrive as early as 9:45 am with the funeral service starting at 11:00 am
Interment, with full military honors, will follow at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery, Exeter. All guests are invited to join the operation.
Donald (Don) Stone was born as Donald Melvin Goldberg in Providence, Rhode Island to Dorothy (Perron) and David Goldberg. He was the youngest of three children, Raymond Stone (brother) and June Curley (sister) who preceded him in death. He has three children; His two daughters, Holly and Sherri Stone, and his son, Kevin Stone who passed at the age of 33. He has six grandchildren: Jillian Stone (Arthur Wasilewski), Valerie Wean (Ramon Berroa), Samuel Wean, Gabrielle Wean (Michael Mitsoulis) ), Christopher Jacob Seefer (Alison Hseih), and Victoria Alexandra Stone. He has five great-granddaughters and two more grandbabies on the way: Lena (8) and Aubrey (7) Cirilo, Julianna Mitsoulis (3), Kenley (5) and Anya (3) Wasilewski. He has many nieces, nephews, great and great-great nieces, and nephews as well. He was loved by all and will be dearly missed.
Don was a rascal as a youngster getting into mischief as he tried to keep up with his big brother, Ray, whom he admired very much. His sister, June, was a dear and he held her close to his heart despite the distance between them.
He was the “apple” of his mom’s eye being the youngest and he was a loving and caring son to her throughout her life. He was very close to his dad who spent many evenings at the family home after his wife passed, enjoying cocktails, Dinners, and family time. Don and his dad enjoyed some adventurous travels together as they both grew older.
Growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, Don was an average student and was fondly referred to as a “swell guy” by his classmates. After graduating from Hope High School, he entered the army as a Private on March 25, 1953. He is very proud of his military service during the Korean War and was honorably discharged on April 9, 1955 with recognitions including the Korean Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, United Service Medal, and National Defense Medal.
After the traveling world with the army, Don returned to Rhode Island, changed his name to Donald Melvin Stone, and went to Bryant College on the GI Bill earning his bachelor’s degree in Business Management. During college a beautiful woman, Helen Gomes, caught his eye. She was dating one of his friends and when their relationship ended, Don graciously asked his friend if he would mind if he asked Helen out on a date. That’s when the romance began for Don, and he never looked back; he was hooked! After a whirlwind romance and an elopement, Don and Helen settled in Providence and began their family. They were married for 17 years.
During his marriage to Helen, Don worked as an Independent Insurance Broker for Phoenix Mutual. He was a great salesman and (as is often said) he had the “gift of gab”. He earned a modest living affording a middle-class upbringing for his family and successfully won company prizes which awarded him trips around New England. One such trip landed them at a resort in the Berkshires during Woodstock and the “Summer of Love”. Mom and Dad being the “squares” that they were, kept wondering why there was so much traffic and where all these “hippy types” were coming from and going too. heard it told.
After Don and Helen divorced, he began to wind down his insurance career and began tinkering in antiques. He always loved antiques, furnishing the family home and, later, his own place with many beautiful finds. He had a good eye for unique and valuable pieces and became enamored with the world of antiques. He attended auctions and toured flea markets, visited shops, and learned the trade.
Don soon left his job as an Insurance Salesman and opened Yankee Antiques in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He expanded into a second store a few years later. They were a lot of fun and a lot of work, but he had his trusty friend, Bert, and many others who helped staff the shops. Bert was a good friend to Don and has since passed away.
Times got tough and maintained the “brick and mortar” locations were more than Don wanted to take on, so he moved his location to a small warehouse. He was truly a pioneer and sometime in the 1990’s he established the equivalent to today’s “virtual business model” doing it the good ‘ol fashion way!’ He advertised in the Providence Journal, listed his number in the Yellow Pages and handed out business cards. He primarily focused on antique restoration, re-caning or refinishing furniture, re-silvering mirrors and restoring wicker. -off services which was well received by his customers. Don’s unique business became successful, and his reputation grew. His customers provided repeat business and his clientele grew through word-of-mouth referrals as well. Don continued working until he was 85 years old, and his business thrived.
When he finally decided to retire, he wondered what he’d do with all his time. He moved to a smaller place, downsizing his life, and selling off much of his beloved collection of antiques. He wanted to live lighter and maintain a simpler lifestyle. He was excited about the new chapter and, for an old guy choosing to change it up on his own, it was impressive to everyone in the family. He looked forward to joining the Johnston Senior Center and having more time to socialize, take trips and attend events with other seniors. Unfortunately, shortly after he moved, the world shut-down due to the pandemic. As was the case for so many, this made life very lonely, but he made the best of it, decorating his new home, making friends with neighbors, and continuing to move about the area doing errands and picking up essentials. His new neighbors adored him, and the women were all his “girl” friends. His family kept in close contact with frequent phone calls and visits.
Don lived a long and rather healthy life considering his many years. He was quick witted, well-read, interesting, engaging and laughed often. He enjoyed reading the Providence Journal each day, watching sports, news programs, documentaries, political hearings, or national court cases and would discuss current events as things unfolded. He followed the sports teams his children and grandchildren loved so he could talk with them when they called.
As an extravert, Don enjoyed socializing and being around others. He was motivated to stay healthy and would frequently walk around a track in Johnston, often sharing the distance he covered and his frustration when he couldn’t do more. He was determined to be independent and care for himself. By the Grace of God, he lived that way until his final days – driving and shopping, cooking, and maintaining his home and staying connected to those he loved. When family were in town or available, he was always up for an adventurous drive usually ending in a delicious meal. “Dining with Don” was a highlight, an event to remember! When we went out with him, we settled in for several hours of cocktails, nibbling, dinners and wine often finishing with a yummy desert smothered with stories, laughter, and sage advice .
Dad, Father, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Uncle, Friend, Neighbor, Acquaintance, The Guy in the Little White Truck….he will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by many. It is with a very heavy heart we say good-bye to this amazing and beloved man who, despite so many odds, lived on his own terms until the end. May God’s blessing shine on Donald Melvin Stone as he enters the “after” where he will have no pain or suffering but only well-being, joy, and happiness as he reunites with those who have gone before him.
Dad’s preference would be to support a Veteran’s association.
Here are two charities the family have identified:
1. Operations Stand Down Rhode Island at https://osdri.org/
2. Fisher House at https://fisherhouse.org/.