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Mary Bower Stone

Oct. 12, 1919 –

Oct. 23, 2011

Mary Tallulah Bower Stone, 92, of Bainbridge, died Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, at her home on Lake Douglas Drive. She had been in declining health for several years.

A private funeral service for the family was held on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, followed by a public graveside service at Oak City Cemetery. The Rev. June Johnson and The Rev. Marcia Owens McRae officiated. Active pallbearers were R. P. “Buster” Bolton Jr., Jimmy Dickson, Sam Griffin, Joe Higdon, Jack Leverett and Clayton Penhallegon. Honorary pallbearers were the members of The Book Club.

The daughter of the late John Dickinson Bower Sr. and Caroline Rogers Bower, Mary Stone was a descendant of one of Decatur County’s oldest families. The Bower family provided lawyers, judges, educators, soldiers and businessmen who contributed to the growth and progress of the area.

Mrs. Stone maintained a keen interest in the history and heritage of the area and a love of its people throughout her lifetime. She was familiar not only with the chronological history of the community, but was well-versed in the impact and inter-relationship of the various families that made up its history.

A graduate of Bainbridge High School, Class of 1936, she attended Georgia State College for Women and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Home Economics. She was at various times engaged as a teacher and merchandiser.

She met her future husband, James W. Stone, when he was an aviation cadet at Bainbridge Air Base during World War II. They were married on Nov. 1, 1944, at Bainbridge Air Base Chapel.

Mrs. Stone was an active and devoted member of St. John’s Episcopal Church. She was instrumental in the success of the annual Bazaar, where her signature tablecloths, napkins and other hand work were coveted items.

She enjoyed making ornate costumes for the Mildred F. Fleming School of Dance and was active as a Girl Scout leader for several years.

She was an early member of The Book Club, one of the Bainbridge’s oldest continuing organizations. She remained an active and enthusiastic member as long as her health permitted.

For many years she served as a volunteer in the American Red Cross Gray Ladies organization at Memorial Hospital. She was active in several local, area and state support organizations for the disabled.

In 1974, she was named the Pilot Club’s Woman of the Year for Bainbridge and Decatur County.

“Mrs. Stone was a kind friend, a wonderful person and an invaluable resource for a fledgling newspaper editor in the early 1960s and throughout her lifetime,” said former Post-Searchlightpublisher Sam Griffin. “Her knowledge of who was who in southwest Georgia history — what they did, who they got along with and who they didn’t — was without peer.

“And she was always willing to share it with grace and humor. We’ve lost an irreplaceable connection with our heritage.”

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two daughters, Laura Caroline Stone Bridges and Joanna Elisabeth Stone, both of Bainbridge; a brother, Byron B. Bower III of Florence, Ala.; two grandsons, Tommy H. Bridges Jr. and his wife, Kristin Shetler Bridges, of Dunwoody, Ga., and James Dickinson Bridges of New York City; two great-grandsons, William Erickson Bridges and Harlin Stone Bridges of Dunwoody; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 516 E. Broughton St., Bainbridge, GA 39817, or to the Joanna E. Stone Scholarship Fund, Bainbridge College, P.O. Box 990, Bainbridge, GA 39818.

Ivey Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.