Waldo Stone
Waldo Stone

Obituary of Waldo Stone

A Great Life, Well-Lived

Our dad, Waldo Stone, was born on September 8, 1923 in Caldwell, Idaho, beloved son of Alfred and Mabel Stone. Over the years Dad shared many humorous recollections with us about antics and adventures he experienced while growing up with his sister Charlotte, and brother Ward. Those wonderful family experiences clearly helped shape him into the compassionate, generous, and optimistic man he became.

Waldo passed in the early morning hours of April 12th, in the loving presence of his daughters. Waldo was predeceased by Charlotte Mowrer, Ward Stone, and Jill Stone. Waldo married Norma Gjertsen Lyness on April 9th, 1960. He referred to this as "an excellent decision," saying she was his best friend and partner for life. They were often seen walking hand in hand, cheerfully greeting everyone they encountered. Norma predeceased him in September of 2015, and our dad lived every day after that time missing her greatly. They shared 55 1/2 wonderful years together.

Waldo attended Washington Grade School in Caldwell, Idaho. Growing up, he held a variety of jobs, beginning at age eight, enthusiastically weeding onions in the fields and earning just $1 for an eight-hour day. He attended Caldwell High School and played various sports, humbly referring to himself as "marginal and sometimes less than marginal." In reality, however, he excelled in tennis and swimming throughout both high school and college.

After attending college at the College of Idaho, he entered the military reserves and was sent to Northwestern University to complete his degree. Subsequently Waldo entered the Navy in 1944. He participated in two invasions during WWII in the Philippines and Borneo, serving as Skipper of an LSM (a craft which carried troops up onto the beach, many times under fire).

Waldo entered the University of Washington Law School in 1946, graduating in 1949. He was a dedicated, life-long Husky, living amongst an entire family of Cougs resulting in lively Apple Cup parties in our family. He practiced as an attorney until he was appointed Justice of the Peace (now District Court) in 1953. He also was past president of the District Judges Association and member of the State Judicial Council. Waldo was elected to Pierce County Superior Court in 1972. He served for 24 years as a Superior Court Judge, cheerfully riding his bicycle to and from the job he loved. He took pride in holding to high standards in the courtroom, always setting a respectful and compassionate example for lawyers and judges alike.

Waldo was past president and member of many service organizations, including the Optimist Clubs of West Tacoma and Hilltop. He had perfect attendance at weekly 7am Optimist meetings for over 50 years. He also served as past president of Tacoma Little Theater and the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club.

Waldo shared many, many bicycle rides (actually trips) with our mom, Norma, who was a wonderful sport. They returned home, often with entertaining stories of mishaps or challenges encountered all resulting in happy endings. He played tennis until 1994, and was at one time #5 on the ladder at the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club.

A lifelong athlete, Waldo played volleyball at the YMCA every noon until age 81. He participated in numerous Triathlons through age 70, winning first in his class. Ever humble, he laughingly explained there were few participants in his age group! Dad lived independently and actively up until the very last, even purchasing a new recumbent bicycle last year. He rode around the neighborhood, happily greeting his neighbors sometimes three or four times a day. His deep, booming voice and humorous greetings will be missed by all who knew him. Dad loved spending time with friends and acquaintances. He loved music, even working to learn to play the piano at age 92.

He was an active and enthusiastic member of University Place Presbyterian Church, and enjoyed singing in the choir attending practice on Thursday nights and participating in choir almost every Sunday. This was a highlight in his week, and he was a thankful participant. In addition, he enjoyed attending lunches with past and present judges and Optimist Club events. He especially looked forward to Friday coffee with his neighbors at Stoneridge. Waldo loved sitting on his porch in nice weather, conversing with neighbors who happened to pass by, saying he was directing traffic. He loved to "shoot the breeze." He cared deeply for all our family members and treasured time spent with our large, noisy family.

His grandchildren and great-grandchildren adored him, and most recently gathered at family parties to enjoy several of Grandpa Waldo's readings of What Happened to George?, a favorite children's book enjoyed many years ago by his three daughters.

Waldo is survived by his cherished daughters Katy Cheney (Gary), Mary Stone-Smith (Glenn Smith), and Julie Peterson (Mark). He has eight beloved grandchildren, Bryan Cheney (Brooke), David Cheney (Nicki), Stefanie Smith (Alex Denny), Marissa Smith (Maurice King), Stena Peterson, Jon Peterson, Gunnar Peterson, and Kaari Peterson. He was also blessed with six great-grandchildren, Claire Cheney, Gwen Cheney, Kristoffer Cheney, Constance Cheney, Sophie Campbell, and Chloe Denny. Another great-grandchild is "on the way" and will be born in July to Marissa and Maurice.

There is never a dull moment when we are all together, and Dad loved every minute of it! We will all love him forever, and he will be deeply, deeply missed.

A memorial service and celebration of Waldo's life will take place 3:00 p.m. Friday, May 12th, at University Place Presbyterian Church, with a reception immediately following (also at the church).

Donations in his memory may be made to the Music Program at University Place Presbyterian Church.