A Lifetime of Memories

A marriage that lasts throughout seven decades is hard to come by these days.  For Magnolia Personal Care Home resident Freddy Stone, however, that was his reality for 72 years and he continues to cherish the memories he had with his wife, Edith.

The Stones were childhood sweethearts since they met in the first grade in Meridian, where they grew up. Stone said he knew his wife-to-be was the one at an early age. After she moved away with her family for a few years, then came back to Meridian at age 13, he said, “I never let her go again. I knew she was the one I wanted to be with for the rest of my life.”

The Stones were married in 1936 and there wasn’t a single day that went by without each of them saying, “I love you.”

“It is important to constantly inform the person you love that you love them, hold each other’s hands every day, and to never go to bed angry with each other. It never made a difference what day of the week it was; we always said we love you to each other, Stone said.”

Mrs. Stone worked as a shoes sales clerk, then worked at Van Atkins dry goods store, and eventually was a clerk at the Sheriff’s office. Soon after they got married, The Stones moved to New Albany in 1938 and Mr. Stone got a job as an embalmer at Smallwood Funeral Home in New Albany.

“In 1938, I became to New Albany as the first public embalmer in the state. In the past, when someone died in New Albany or Union County, the embalmer had to get on a passenger train from Tupelo or find some kind of transportation from Oxford and come to the county to perform the embalming process, then they went back home,” said Mr. Stone.

Mr. Stone talked about the differences and changes in the funeral home business from the years past. “In the past, we took the casket out to the house, dressed and embalmed the deceased, then came back a few days later and had the funeral in the home. Nowadays, the funeral takes place at the funeral home and then people go to the church or the funeral home to have the service and burial.”

In 1938, Mr. Stone was embalming only half of the bodies that came in and by 1964 all the bodies were being embalmed. Mr. Stone retired from the funeral business in November 2008.

Mr Stone also remembered people parking in the middle of the street in downtown New Albany. There was no where else to park. Parking wasn’t in front of the stores back then,” said Mr. Stone.

The Stones had one daughter named Paula and she had three daughters. The Stones had three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Paula volunteered at the Good Samaritan for 14 years as an administrator.

The Stones both checked into the Magnolia Personal Care Home in Union County on November 1, 2008. Mrs. Stone died November 27, 2008 from uterine cancer as Mr. Stone was holding her hand and telling her he loves her. Mr. Stone is still a resident of Magnolia Place and misses his love of his life every day.