Fred Stone was one of 11 children born to Pastor and Mrs John George Stone. His father was a Baptist minister in Hartlepool. During the war Fred served in the RAF and took part in the Normandy landings.
Marion Stone was one of five children born to Mr and Mrs William Snowdon. Her father was a steel worker. In her young adult life she worked as an administrator with a local bus company.
Fred and Marion were married in 1948 at Oxford Road Baptist Church, Hartlepool. In their early years of married life they lived in Hartlepool. Their children, Ruth and Ken, were born in 1952 and 1956, respectively.
In 1960 Fred accepted a call to the pastorate at Grange Road Baptist Church, Middlesbrough, and in 1962 the family moved to Middlesbrough. In the early years of his pastorate, Fred worked as a commercial traveller until the fellowship was in a position to fully support him.
Marion started a Monday afternoon ladies fellowship group, which attracted a good number from around the surrounding streets and introduced many new families to the life of Grange Road Baptist Church.
In 1977 the church moved to Hemlington, on the southern boundary of Middlesbrough. As the church transferred to its new site, so also did many families who had lived around Grange Road. Mr Stone worked tirelessly in establishing the church as part of the new Hemlington community, and we saw many new faces coming into the church in those early years.
Throughout Fred’s pastorate Marion was a tremendous support. She was a great encourager and would often give a listening ear to those going through difficult times. The ladies fellowship grew considerably, to more than 40 ladies meeting on a Monday afternoon.
Following their retirement, Fred and Marion enjoyed 26 happy years in Great Ayton and remained active members of the Hemlington church. Fred continued preaching at other churches into his early 90s, and was still able to conduct some Bible studies at our midweek prayer group during his last year.
Marion had a stroke on 21 November 2015 and died two weeks later in hospital. Fred was already in poor health and died at home one week after that. In his last few days he prayed affectionately for all at the church, and especially for his family.
Fred’s son, Ken, has been our pastor for the last seven years and took a double funeral on 21 December 2015. Our sorrow was mixed with joy for their long and happy life together and faithful service.