Floyd C. Stone: 1945 – 2020
Beloved Husband. Loving & Supportive Father. Respected Leader & Mentor.
A difficult 2020 delivered a staggering blow when My Dad suddenly passed away. My Dad lived a life-long passion for global travel through his successful career in logistics and supply chain and his extensive world-wide adventurous excursions. He was a man of ethics, integrity and character, tough but fair, a fierce negotiator and consistently brought creativity to solving problems. As he rose in professional stature he always maintained approachability and relatability with all levels within an organization, and was seen as a coach and mentor by more than a few of his colleagues.
I am incredibly fortunate to have had an excellent relationship with My Dad. My sadness and loss is not one of “I wish I would have told him…” but one of missing the most important man in my life. I am so grateful for all he did to support and encourage me, and I wrote the below eulogy that was read by our parish priest at his memorial.
A Son’s Eulogy: My Dad
On Monday, September 21, I received the call that no son ever wants to hear. My Dad had suddenly and unexpectedly died. The shock, disbelief and unconscionable anguish that comes with that call is inexplicable to anyone who has not had to bear it.
The depth of my relationship with My Dad made both of us proud. As adults, we shared mutual respect, helped one another through professional and personal challenges, and cheered each other on in EVERY endeavor. We spoke via phone several times per week, and had the opportunity to travel together to historical places in Europe on more than one occasion. But how did we get to be so close?
It became obvious as an infant that My Dad loved the idea of being a father. In fact, it was one of the things he was most proud of, and he embraced the responsibility with open arms. Growing up, he was a very involved father. He had made a commitment to be a “present” Dad from Day 1, and whether it was co-coaching in basketball or soccer, catching flights to attend games in the middle of winter, helping with projects or assignments, or just providing his wisdom, he was a terrific father, an incredibly hard worker, thoughtful, generous and giving. He was tough but fair, and commanded respect. Early on he instilled in me two critical philosophies:
- Whatever you decide to do, commit and give it 100%. If you’ve given your total commitment, regardless of the result, you’ll never look back and regret.
- Stand by your commitments. When you say you will do something, do it, and keep your word. It’s a reflection of your character.
During my time in High School he was laid off from his manager position @ National Can Corporation, and it hit him hard. Seeing My Dad reeling from the pain of a job loss, and the emotional caldron of doubt, was painful. But My Dad was tenacious and determined, and after some soul searching including a trip to Israel with his best friend Jim, began working in consulting as he started his next phase of his professional life.
As I progressed in my career, so did My Dad. He took on larger consulting assignments, traveled to exotic locales like India, then found Griffith Laboratories, and it all fell into place for him. 17 years, Director of Global Supply Chain, one of the most respected people in the company, had the ear of the owner, Mr. Griffith, and continually found ways to save the company money on logistics to enable improved profitability. He built a following of people who respected his honesty, his work ethic and his insight. When he eventually retired in 2014, he had accomplished a ton in his career both in deliverables and results as well as his ability to influence, teach and mentor others. He had become part of the family with Griffith.
Here’s the thing about My Dad. He was a self-made man. He started working when he was thirteen, loaded trucks for years as a teenager, married my Mom when he was 20, put himself through college while having a son, taught himself how to invest, used his common sense vs. his “book smarts”, and made himself a success. He was never happier than when he was traveling, though. He often reminisced about our first trip to Hong Kong, Bangkok (Thailand) and Singapore, where we first went to Asia as a family. He had been planning that trip for years and it was the greatest trip of his life. Later in life, in the last 5 years, he proudly recalled his solo trip to Poland, time spent walking through Berlin, and countless train trips through Europe. Deep inside, he had the heart of an adventurer, and travel was his escape.
So, what was he like being My Dad? Supportive, Firm, Loving, Encouraging, Attentive, Invested. All of those things. But to this young man, he was my Hero. He modeled what a good man would do, was fiercely loyal to the people most dear to him, cared about people and always found time to help others. He admired successful people with character – Bart Starr, Jeff Gordon, W. Clemons Stone, Jackie Stewart – and he valued people with integrity, holding himself to the highest standard. He would literally do anything for us as a family. He would be the first one to say he wasn’t perfect, but none of us are! And that didn’t matter, because I had the distinct privilege to be influenced and guided by two of the most loving parents anyone could ever ask for, and even though my Dad’s childhood was rough, he made it a priority to be a good father. And he was excellent. I could not have asked for anything more from you, Dad. You guided me and encouraged me as a child, gave me space but kept me on-track as an adolescent, encouraged me and supported me as I became an adult, and became more than just My Dad. We were male best friends.
I went back and read several of the Birthday and Christmas Cards My Dad sent me over the years, and he often would say how proud he was of me. That means more than you know. And you know what? I’m proud of you, too. The fact that I made you proud is a reflection of how good of a person you were, because you were my role model and my Hero. I just tried to be like you.
I am in complete disbelief that I’m having to say good-bye to you. I told you many times I loved you, and I meant every word, every time. I can never thank you enough for all you did to raise, encourage and support me. All I can do is try to continue making you proud of me by being my authentic self, and modeling after my Hero, my Friend, and one of my Biggest Fans…My Dad.
September 28, 2020