Leslie O. Stone represents a way of life that is in peril. That’s why his story is important in Rocky Mount, NC and in today’s world. It’s worrisome! The previlent sense of entitlement that now exists, politicians promising free “stuff.” There’s something wrong in the message to a child playing sports today, everyone gets a trophy, which recognizes and celebrates participation, rather than performance. These kind of things are taking us further down the road from the admonishments we were once given, that hard work and perseverance lead to success. Dr. Stone’s feet were firmly planted in this tradition that made America great; his story illustrates what must not be forgotten. In 1895, he began life in a house with a dirt floor and became Commander of the National Navel Medical Center, referred to as Bethesda Naval Hospital, from 1953-1955. He was Rear Admiral, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy.
After 37 years, Dr. Stone, retired in 1955 from the Navy. He served in World War 1 & 2 & The Korean War. He went on to practice Eye, Ear Nose & Throat medicine in Tryon, NC for one year, 1956, before moving his family to Rocky Mount. Here he became associated with his brother, Dr. M.L. Stone at Memorial Hospital 1957-1971 when he retired. He was a member of the Fifty Year Club of N.C. State Medical Society.
His son, Leslie O. Stone, Jr. shared recollections of his father while we looked at photographs and through an old photograph album, the color fading from the 4×4 prints. This proud son, a man with a quiet heart and piercing blue eyes, takes time from his consulting work, fishing, picking up grandchildren, a beautiful family of his own, and tells me that he feels blessed to have been raised by Irma Rose Stone from Kenley, NC and Leslie O. Stone from Kittrel, NC. Many of you know Leslie Jr. who in 1977, became the youngest Road Master with offices in the old REA Building. He retired as The Assistant Division Engineer for the railroad. A few years have passed since his first summer job selling vegetables from his wagon. Vegetables Dr. Stone grew in the 800 block on Eastern Avenue, located in what is now known as the Edgemont Historic District. The photograph above is of Dr. Stone on his son’s wedding day to Walda Talton Stone.
Next: Part 2 – A Mystery That Has Never Been Solved