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August 30, 2012
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Obituary: William ‘Rocky’ Stone

A celebration-of-life service is planned next month for William “Rocky” Stone, a former longtime resident of the Tahoe-Truckee area and accomplished painter of many prominent businesses and lake-front homes.Mr. Stone, 63, died June 29 after a long illness, not far from his retirement home at Sherman Island in Rio Vista, where his ashes will be scattered during a gathering of family and friends at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, his birthdate.Known simply as “Rocky” by customers, Mr. Stone was born in Alhambra and raised in the Pasadena region of Southern California. To escape hectic big city life, he eventually made his way to the Tahoe-Truckee area, where he first began his trade as a building framer-and-finish worker. That led to a career as a painting and decorating contractor and general handyman, initially working for his grandfather, Skip Kenyon, and then for the company of Dick Carnell before establishing his own business.Among his many clients were celebrity owners of several prominent lake-front residences in the Tahoe Basin, including the homes of Adam West (“Batman” of television lore), former 49ers coach Bill Walsh and executives of major casinos. During the height of his career, Mr. Stone's work was published in two editions of Architectural Digest. A protege who followed in his footsteps as a painting contractor in the Tahoe-Truckee area is daughter Gretchen Stone, who recalls her father as “a master craftsman, a painting-and-decorating extraordinaire.“He was very resourceful and took pride in the quality of any job or creation he encountered. He was honest, genuine, and always a selfless giver. If someone needed his help and it was within his power, he would lend his hand, strength and love. He was a loving husband and father. I owe so much of my talents, heart and work ethics to my Dad. He was a proud outdoorsman for much of his life as well.”A swimming athlete as a youth, other passions of Mr. Stone's were skiing and windsurfing, also factors in his move to the mountains of Northern California. An avid fisherman, he was a regular fixture on Donner Lake — also on Lake Tahoe where, in a humorous footnote to his life, he inadvertently ended up as an unpaid, uncredited extra in an Academy Award winning movie.During the filming of an opening, outdoor scene in “Godfather II” at the old Kaiser Estate at West Shore, an unpretentious “Rocky” was simultaneously passing by in his little motorboat. He was far enough in the background that the scene was left in as shot, as part of daily lake activity.“Rocky” enjoyed telling the story, saying there was no mistaking that it was indeed he and his boat in the Oscar-capturing 1974 movie, if only for a few seconds.Formerly married to Sheila Stone, other family survivors include his father, Robert Stone; brothers, Don, Patrick and Jim; sisters, Marsha, Mary and Peggy; daughters Trisha and Gretchen; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and two grandchildren.Gretchen (gstonepainting@yahoo.com) may be contacted for information regarding the September service, the second honoring her father. Shortly after his death, Rio Vista Windsurfing Association members held a floral, shore-front memorial, paying tribute to a valued friend they credited as a true environmentalist who, in his spare time, cleaned up trash in recreational areas and sculpted driftwood.— Submitted by Jim Jenkins


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 30, 2012 10:05PM Published Aug 30, 2012 10:04PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.