STONE, ROBERT LEON (1914~2004) Robert Leon Stone, Member and Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, Teacher Retirement System, was born in Rockdale, Texas on February 27, 1914, to Harley Jerome and Ella Strelsky Stone. He attended Rockdale High School, where he lettered in football, basketball, tennis, track and debate. He attended Blinn Junior College on a football scholarship and also was in the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. He also attended Sul Ross College, The University of Texas and received his banking degree from Rutgers University.
He worked for Brown and Root in West Texas when they had their main office on Colorado Street in Austin. Later he returned to Austin and worked as Office Manager and Salesman for Gugenheim and Goldsmith so he could court Bess Northington, whom he married in August, 1939.
Stone started working at the Austin National Bank in 1938 as a runner and in 1963 became President and C.E.O. During his banking career he became known as the "Bankers Banker." He served on many bank boards in Austin, Hondo, Dallas, San Antonio, Round Rock, Lockhart and Burnet and was an advisor to many banks in Texas as well as The Comptroller of the Currency in Washington, D. C., Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., The Federal Reserve Bank and The Texas Banking Commissioner.
He was very active in the associations of banking having served in The Texas Bankers Association for many, many years and its President in 1973. On a national level he served on the Executive Council and was Vice President with the American Bankers Association.
Stone was a big believer in education for bankers and pushed to see that they studied at the American Institution of Banking, University of Texas and The Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU where he served as Instructor, Dean of the School and as Chairman of the Foundation. His bank was one of the first to pay all expenses for the students. The Austin National Bank honored Stone by funding a Professorship in Commercial Banking at U.T. on his retirement.
The Stone family was active in the Presbyterian Church and he served as Deacon, Elder and Trustee of the Central Presbyterian Church and on the Board of Trustees of the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and as President of the Austin Council of Churches.
Stone volunteered for service in WWII with the draft board breathing down his neck. He went in as a buck private and retired as a LTC. He served with the 761st Tank Destroyer Battalion in the European Theatre Operation and was with the 69th Infantry Division that met the Russian Army in April, 1945 at Torgau, Germany on the Elbe River.
Stone had always been active in civil and public affairs in Texas and the nation. He was very active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce and later served as President of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of Hill City Lodge #456 over 50 years and was a Knight Commander of The Court of Honor of the 32nd Degree Scottish Rite of Free Masonry. He also served as Director of the Royal Order of Jester Court #35.
Stone was always active in the Austin Rotary Club being a Paul Harris Fellow. He also served on the boards of the Recording for the Blind, Austin Community Foundation, United Way, Sportsmen Conservationists of Texas, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, where he was an Eagle Scout, Seton Hospital and Who's Who in America for many years.
In 1984 he was the General Chairman to raise money for the present Salvation Army building and received their highest local award of "OTHERS."
In the early 1970's the local paper selected him as one of the 10 most powerful people in Austin.
He was selected as "Boss of the Year" on several occasions by different groups such as the Austin Jaycees and was honored as Salesman of the Year for Austin.
He was one of the Founders of the Austin Area Research Organization and served as one of its early Presidents, as well as The Texas Association of Taxpayers.
Governor Shivers appointed him to the Teachers Retirement System Board of Trustees to reorganize the system, which he did as Vice Chairman through several Governors.
Robert Leon Stone passed away on September 4, 2004, and was buried next to his wife of 58 years, Bess, in the Texas State Cemetery, three days later. He is survived by his daughters, Pebble Moss and Cherry McKinnon, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Information provided by Mr. Robert Leon Stone and was also taken from his obituary, Austin American-Statesman, Sunday, September 5, 2004.