In Memoriam

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Gerald Stone ’65

Gerald Stone ’65, September 2014, at home in Alameda, California.

Gerry studied at Reed for a year and a half and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. He served as editor for the Bancroft Library at Berkeley and was also a writer and photographer. “I met Gerry while we were registering for classes in 1961,” writes David Casseres ’65. “I looked over his shoulder at his paperwork and saw that he had attended Escola Americana in Rio de Janeiro. I went there, too, and we almost overlapped in time. We soon became close friends. We could make jokes with each other in Portuguese, baffling everyone around us. Gerry and I both loved to sing folk songs. Nobody else could sing like Gerry when the music moved him. He sang with a pure, angelic madness and with the authentic voice of cosmic laughter and sorrow—I look for words here, but those who heard him will know what I mean. And he made up little songs that sounded like nonsense, yet left you thinking about them for the rest of your life. ‘Fol the diddle i dee,’ sang Gerry.”

David and Gerry remained friends after Reed, though they were out of touch during the past few years. “He had a sad, funny, beautiful life while it lasted, and we all wish we could have him back again.” Marisa Casseres Schaer ’65 writes, “I didn’t see Gerry after my years at Reed, so my memories of him belong to the foolishness and joy of youth. My memories of Gerry Stone are serious, though. Along with being winsome, he was unfailingly kind, generous, and accepting. His was the kind of friendship that improves later life.”

Joe Weisman ’65 learned of Gerry’s death from Gerry’s brother Tony. “Tony told me that he and Gerry’s other brother, Tom, had been seeing Gerry frequently for the past few months as his health had become a little iffy and they were concerned about him.” Gerry worked at this and that, says Joe, and did a lot of hiking and climbing and photography and political activism. “He was caught painting an American flag upside down on a building as part of a protest against the first Iraq war and the judge offered him the choice of going to jail or quitting all drinking and getting a job. Gerry chose carefully and worked from then on as the editor of the University of California smart car project magazine [Intellimotion]. When his father died a few years ago, Gerry inherited the house in Alameda and shortly afterwards retired from work. He was a fool in the very best sense of the word: equal parts innocent, delightful, outrageous, and obnoxious. One of the most well-read and intelligent people I know, but so totally lacking in ambition that he only worked as much as he needed to do. A very good friend.” 

David continues, “He never married, though he was often in love. His friends remember him not for life achievements but for his gentle and loving nature, his humor in the face of many disappointments and misadventures; his fundamental innocence.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2015

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