Posted on: November 3, 2022
Dr. James Banister Stone, III, died peacefully at home on October 17, 2022. He was 81.
Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Jim was the son of Dr. James Banister Stone Jr. and Janet Watkins Stone. He was a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School and the Virginia Military Institute. His loyalty to VMI was deep and enduring. He received his medical degree from the University of Virginia, and after an internship and residency at Norfolk General Hospital, he and his wife, Rose Light Stone, settled in Wytheville, Virginia, where they raised their three sons. Jim always said that marrying Rose “was the best thing I ever did.”
Jim served the Wytheville community with family practice medicine for almost fifty years, beginning his practice with Dr. Walter Barton, Dr. Judson Booker, III and Dr. Wayne Horney and concluding his career as part of the Carilion health care system. He honed his diagnostic skills on the variety of cases that walked through the office door. He relished the surprises that family practice could bring, “all the things they don’t teach you in medical school.” In the early years, his practice included delivering babies. He found that the joy of the arrival of new life balanced out the hard medical moments of a doctor’s days.
Jim’s personal interest in fishing, gardening, tracking the weather, and collecting model trains started in childhood and stayed with him throughout his life. His love of animals brought a steady stream of creatures into his care: dogs, cats, birds, fish, ferrets, and a brief experience with ill-fated monkeys. Summer meant vacations at the beaches in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia. Fall meant George Wythe High School football. Winter meant snow and the window-watching thrill of the first, last, and deepest snowfall of the year. A second home nearby on the New River became a regular weekend destination, where Jim would climb onto the large tractor mower and cut the wide slope down to the river, while Rose waged endless war with the Canada geese. Their efforts created a favorite place to gather with family and friends.
Shortly after Jim’s retirement, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease introduced a new rhythm to life: gentle walks around Withers Park and easy days at home in the sunroom, watching the birds at the backyard feeders, keeping an eye on the weather, enjoying visits with the grandchildren, and giving close attention to the news. News reports, seasonal sports, and a good steak from the grill never lost their interest for him. Last spring, the arrival of Harley Stone brought a happy puppy presence and a quirky, toothy smile to give special pleasure to Jim’s last days.
Jim’s life was not perfect, but it was good, very good. He knew it and was grateful.
In addition to Rose, Jim is survived by his three sons and their families, James Banister Stone, IV, his wife, Heather, and their children, Eloise, James and Grant, of Beaufort, S.C.; John Carter Stone, his wife, Lindsey, and their children, Alexandra and John Jr., of Moseley, Va.; and Mark David Stone and his fiancée, Jillian Jones and their family of Ryan, Sallie, William and Wyatt, of Blacksburg, Va. A sister, Janet Dale Stone of Savannah, Ga., also survives.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Carter Watkins Stone.