IN REVIEW: THE LIFE OF AGNES STONE
Editor’s Note: Agnes Stone died in 2017 at age 102, but she will not be forgotten. A friend, Marianne Wood, wrote the following piece 10 years before Stone’s death. In it, Wood reflects on a woman of faith. “I went to see her shortly before she passed. I knew it would be my last visit, and told her I loved her, receiving a soft ‘I love you, too’ in return. Reviewing this collection of treasured slices of her life fills me again with boldness ‘to live faithfully, suffering with praise.’
By MARIANNE WOOD
My friend, Agnes Stone figuratively put herself in the corner one day and told herself: “Agnes, you can dwell on the loss of your husband, Bob, or you can move on, thankful for the good things in your life.” Then she counted two great blessings: her husband didn’t linger with his last illness, and he died in his sleep.
Agnes shared the news that she had listened to “Agnes” with me one day when I dropped by with milk and juice in answer to a call from her daughter who lives many miles away from the town where her mother and I live.
My friend, Agnes Stone, who died in 2018, was the mother of my childhood pal, Melinda. Over the years, I also became friends with her mother, Agnes, a woman of great wisdom, wit, and pluck. Evidently a life that long can give you these things, if you work at it.
Agnes taught school for 25 years which I cite as reason enough to think of solving the natural depression brought on by the loss of her husband of 66 years with a stint in the corner. She also raised a special daughter, my friend, Melinda, starting in her 41st year.
The Stones had given up on having children by the time Agnes seemed to be developing a “tumor.” The tumor turned out to be Melinda, a bright, beautiful child with her mother’s penchant for teaching. Bob, an avid outdoorsman, never resented not having a son with whom to fish or play sports. A decorated World War II veteran, Bob pursued a business career and he refereed sporting events. He had the distinction of never having a complaint filed against him in over 800 games. The family worked hard and kept up with a close group of friends and family members. Everyone gathered in September 2004 when Bob and Agnes each celebrated their 90th birthdays. I had the privilege to serve as a hostess that special day.
Agnes Stone and Marianne Wood. Submitted by Marianne Wood
About the time of the 90th birthdays, the Stones moved from their home of over 50 years to a retirement center. This well-managed village of apartments served as a kind community. Her church was not far away, nor is the university where she met her sweetheart so many years ago. She told me that her daughter worries about her too much, living so far away. But she is content: well-cared for, close to friends, and close to good medical care.
Agnes modeled 1 Peter 4 for me. The passage and the lesson she taught me sums up her life this way: “Live like Christ serving faithfully and suffering with praise.”
I’d just dropped by with some groceries that day, helping out a friend. But I took away the gift of a good attitude modeled by an older Christian woman. I hope the next time I need a talking-to in the corner I’ll listen, like Agnes did to Agnes, and count my blessings, too.
Marianne Wood works as an editorial assistant and researcher for Bill Wright and teaches art education at Hardin-Simmons University.