Dr. Thomas C. Stone

Nov. 25, 1932 – Oct. 1, 2022


Thomas Carl Stone, PhD, age 89, of Chamberlain, South Dakota, passed away Oct. 1, 2022, at Sanford Chamberlain Medical Center.

Thomas was born Nov. 25, 1932, in Wagner, South Dakota, the second child of Carl H. and Ida Belle (Barkley) Stone. He attended Kennedy No. 2 through the eighth grade and graduated from Wagner High School in 1950. He attended Southern State College from 1951 to 1953, graduating with an associate degree in automotive and auto body mechanics. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in August 1953, served in Germany as a wheel vehicle mechanic and was discharged in June 1955.

He married the love his life, Elaine Ruth Thaler, on July 12, 1955. They were blessed with two children, Clifton and Wendy. After their wedding he worked for two years as an auto body technician/shop foreman. He then returned to college and completed his bachelor of science degree in August 1959. He taught in Chamberlain High School for four years during which time he completed his master’s degree at Colorado State University. In the fall of 1963, he joined the faculty of Southern State College (USD/S), Springfield, South Dakota. He helped develop the Voc-Tech Teacher Education program and served as the first full-time professor in the program. He advanced to Chairman of the Vocational and Industrial Education Division and served as the dean of the college from 1974 to 1984. While at Southern, he continued his education and earned a PhD in administration and supervision of voc-tech education in 1969 from Colorado State University.

In 1984 he moved to Southeast Community College, Milford, and served there as the president/director until he retired on July 1, 1995. In 1996, he was awarded the American Technical Education Association’s Outstanding Service Award, and in September 2010 he was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame. During his career, he received many other awards and served on several local, state and national committees. He was a life member of the American Vocational Association and served as the regional president of the American Technical Education Association.

He is survived by his wife, Elaine; children, Clifton (Cathy) and Wendy (Kevin Nelson); grandchildren, Josh (Rachel) Miedema, Michelle (BJ) Bauer and Jason (Amber); great-grandchildren, Wiley Bauer, Temple Stone, Alistair Miedema and Scout Stone; brother, Merle (June); sister, Lois (Eugene) Carda; and Elaine’s sisters, Frances Ramsdell and Jean Heida.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Ida Stone; in-laws, Frank and Mable Thaler; sister, Thelma; and brothers-in-law, Reo Meyer, Leon Thaler and Leonard Thaler.

A celebration of life service will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the United Church of Christ, 101 North Merrill St. in Chamberlain, South Dakota, with burial in the Riverview Cemetery at Chamberlain, South Dakota. Visitation will begin Friday at 5 p.m. with a 7 p.m. prayer service at the United Church of Christ in Chamberlain. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Tom are suggested to ParkinsonsFoundation.org or  Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 Southeast First Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131 or Springfield College Museum Friend of Pointer, P.O. Box 328, Springfield, SD 57062.