MR. JOSEPH STONE – 86 – Joe Stone Sinclair & BP Stations
LAKELAND -- For more than 36 years, Mr. Joseph Stone provided fuel, tires and service to Polk County drivers, as well as offering a number of young men a job working at the two full-service gas stations that he owned on South Florida Avenue. The retired owner and operator of Joe Stone's Sunoco and Joe Stone's Sinclair and BP died of leukemia Monday (Aug. 30, 2004) at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. "My older brother and I both worked for him," said Mr. Stone's son, David N. Stone of Lakeland. "We saw what a good, honest, hardworking man he was. "He loved Lakeland," David Stone said. "He had a lot of people that used to work for him -- Buddy Fletcher, the mayor, he worked for him when he was going to school," Stone said.
Born in Boston on March 14, 1918, Mr. Stone came to Lakeland while serving in the Army during World War II and was stationed at Drane Field. After his discharge from the Army, Mr. Stone returned to his native Boston, staying through only one winter before he decided to return to Lakeland. "He came back with no money in his pocket and passed the little building on the corner so he leased it and started his business," David Stone said. Mr. Stone operated Joe Stone's Sunoco on South Florida Avenue where Petals is now, operating the business from 1946 to 1964. He later moved down South Florida Avenue to the corner of Edgewood Drive and South Florida, operating Joe Stone's Sinclair and later BP from 1964 to 1982, when he retired.
"There was nothing on the other side of Lakeland. That was the end of Lakeland," David Stone said of the city more than 20 years ago. Lakeland was such a small town that all the gas station owners knew each other. "Mr. Stone had teenagers working at the station -- Florida Southern people," Stone said. "I never saw a man work so hard seven days a week from 6 to 11. He was part of the old regime. He was a very good man. "He loved his business," Stone said. "He loved his customers. He loved Lakeland -- he was just part of Lakeland." Shortly after his retirement, Mr. Stone and his wife retired to Delray Beach. He recently returned to the area. Mr. Stone was active with youth baseball, having served as a coach in Little League and the Babe Ruth League. He developed an interest in golf while in his 50’s, playing the sport into his 80’s. He was a longtime member of Temple Emanuel.
In addition to his son, Mr. Stone is survived by his wife of 63 years, Celia L. Stone; sons, Martin Stone, Tampa, and Jerry D. Stone, Pittsburgh; and four grandchildren.
Graveside services will be Wednesday at Temple Emanuel Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Temple Emanuel, 600 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL 33803. Dukes-Steen Funeral Home – Ledger, Aug. 31, 2004
> This station was located across the street from Miller Bearings> This is now an empty lot in DixieLand area-
LAKELAND -- Mrs. Celia Stone of Lakeland died of heart failure Friday (June 30, 2006) at Good Shepherd Hospice. Born in Boston on Nov. 21, 1918, she came to Lakeland from there 60 years ago. She was a homemaker, and a member of Imperia Lakes Golf Club. She was a member of Temple Emanuel, and a life member of Hadassah.
Mrs. Stone was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Stone.
She is survived by her sons, David N. Stone, Lakeland, Martin Stone, Tampa, Jerry Stone, Pittsburgh; sister, Althea Miller, Lakeland; four grandchildren.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Gentry-Morrison Dukes Steen Beacon Hill Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Temple Emanuel, 600 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL 33803. - Ledger, July 1, 2006