October 24, 2019
Eileen Stone, age 85, passed away at her home in Thompson Falls on November 14, 2018. Eileen was born Flora Eileen Graham August 29, 1933 in Baker, Montana to Robert and Flora (Raymond) Graham. She graduated high school in Choteau, Montana and obtained a teaching degree at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota along with a minor in Music. Eileen married John B. Stone January 29, 1956 and set about starting a family with two girls and a boy by 1959. She spent many hours at her sewing machine making clothes, costumes and decorations for her family and others. She secured her first teaching position at Porter School near Fort Lupton, Colorado, teaching grades one through four.
In 1961 the family moved to Thompson Falls living in the dorms above the old high school. Eileen started the first private Kindergarten program in Thompson Falls enrolling her two girls and 12 other children. Those were the days of naps, graham crackers and milk. Many of her former students remember her fondly from those days. In 1966 she was hired as a first-grade teacher and remained in that position for 33 years.
Mrs. Stone, as she was known to all her students, loved children and enjoyed the teaching process. She used interesting and varied methods to help facilitate learning in her young charges and took many classes to improve and empower her teaching skills. She was also a Laubach Tutor, teaching reading to adults, and gave private piano lessons.
Eileen was an excellent pianist and organist, accompanying many choirs and soloists along with Elementary and High School performances. She passed her love of music on to her children. She also performed in the Women's Barbershop "Sweet and Lows" and volunteered in many local and state organizations.
Eileen loved her church, Our Savior's Lutheran, along with her church family. She played the organ there from 1961 to 2018, many years for free as the church could not afford an organist. She was active in the Thompson Falls Women's Club at the county and state levels and spent many hours in their hamburger/coffee booth at the Sanders County Fair in Plains. She was an avid bridge player and loved hosting bridge in her home.
Eileen was a giving person and championed Domestic Abuse Victims, TRACS (homeless pets), and Coats for Kids (Alaska Program). She looked forward to her yearly trip to the Women's AGLOW Fellowship to "lift up and renew her Spirit" and went all over the country with local friends and her daughter Joleen. When visiting her son Robert in Arizona, Eileen was reminded of trips as a young girl through the area with family and relatives. She enjoyed the Red Hats, Senior Center and rummage sales and held one every year for many years with friends and her daughter De Ann. What she loved most about this event was the fellowship; connecting, catching up and reminiscing with people she hadn't seen in a long time.
Eileen was also the Education Chair in the TF Women's Club and began the Reading is Fundamental program providing books to young children through Books for Babies, Family Literacy, Running Start, and Read Me A Story. She always added a little something with the book and looked year-round for inexpensive goodies. She wrote "I have such a passion for these programs, and I love to celebrate the joy of reading with young and old alike." Eileen married Harley Huntley on June 26, 2010. She was so happy to have him in her life and the two traveled all over Montana visiting friends and relatives.
Eileen is survived by Harley, her daughter Joleen (Tony) Francis, daughter De Ann (Rick) Hammond and son Robert, her grandchildren Courtney, Caitlyn, Mariah, Flora, Zane, Michaela and great-granddaughters Lorelai, Lacey, Sadie and Addison.
We will miss her for the rest of our lives. A Celebration of Life was held July 21, 2019 at Our Savior's Lutheran with an interment in the Thompson Falls Cemetery (VFW). Donations may be made to a charity mentioned or of choice.