Donald Stone, Harvard football player, war hero, and Madison Avenue creative director, died Friday, December 31st, in Stamford, Connecticut at the age of 86. Mr. Stone suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Mr. Stone, who lived in Mamaroneck for over fifty-five years, grew up in Dorchester, MA and attended Roxbury Memorial High School.
After graduating, Mr. Stone enlisted in the army and was part of the Anzio Beach invasion in Italy, surviving the brutal attacks from the surrounding German army. Mr. Stone was singled out for his valor, and was awarded the Bronze Star. Later during the war he served as part of the famed 10th Mountain Division. Upon returning to the states, Mr. Stone attended Harvard University on the G.I. Bill, the first member of his family to go to college. A fierce tackler and instinctive defensive player, Stone was a standout linebacker and center on the Harvard Football squad that also included Senator Robert Kennedy.
In New York City following graduation, Mr. Stone showed as much instinct on Madison Avenue as he had at Harvard Stadium. He moved up rapidly from copywriter to top creative director posts, reaching Executive Creative Director with Sullivan, Stauffer, Colwell and Bayles, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. Mr. Stone used his expertise to form his own agency, Don Stone Associates. Among his clients was Miracle Grow Plant Food. The homespun commercials he created starring James Whitmore helped multiply the company’s growth in just a few short years. Mr. Stone never lost his street smarts, once getting off the west side highway to save a stranger being attacked by men with steel pipes.
He was a proud and protective family man who would do anything for his kids. “We loved him fiercely,” said Roberta Blackett, his oldest daughter. “He was the kindest, most gentle man.” Mr. Stone is survived by his wife of 57 years, Anne, of Mamaroneck, NY; sons Randall of Mamaroneck and Douglas of Cambridge, MA; daughters, Roberta Blackett of Lexington, MA and Julie Stone Doherty of Larchmont, NY; and seven grandchildren, Andrew, Charlie, Caroline, Luke, Matty, Colin and Daniel. He was adored by all. Donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Westchester.