Friday, April 18, 2003

Obituary: Librarian Bessie R. Stone

She was also teacher, Realtor

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mrs. Stone

Bessie Russell Stone, daughter of a prominent Louisville educator and former librarian at Porter Junior High School, died Sunday at her Evanston home. She was 86.

Mrs. Stone went beyond traditional librarian duties. During her 23 years at Porter, she took students on trips to places such as New York, Chicago, Washington and Niagara Falls to expose them to national landmarks and cultural events.

And she often paid for students who couldn't afford the trips.

Mrs. Stone was the daughter of Harvey Clarence Russell Sr., dean of Kentucky State College and president of both the Kentucky Industrial College and West Kentucky State Vocational School. The U. S. Office of Education considered him to be a "specialist in Negro education."

The Louisville neighborhood where his family lived came to be known as Russell.

Born in Louisville in 1916, Mrs. Stone received a bachelor of arts degree from Louisville Municipal College (now the University of Louisville) and a bachelor's in library science from the Hampton Institute in Virginia.

She later received a master's degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Cincinnati.

She married Alfred C. Stone, a classmate at Louisville Municipal College, in 1938. He died in 1993.

Mrs. Stone was a librarian at Kentucky State University, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County before she went to Porter.

After she retired in 1979, she spent an additional 15 years substitute teaching for Cincinnati Public Schools.

Mrs. Stone also was a Realtor who managed the Cincinnati office of Francis Realty. She helped African-Americans buy homes in newly integrated neighborhoods.

Over the years, she received the Volunteer Friends of the Park Board Annual Award and a Volunteer of the City of Cincinnati Award after working in the office of Councilwoman Marian Spencer.

Most recently, Mrs. Stone received the Alpha Kappa Alpha Golden Legacy Award. A member of the sorority for 67 years, she was the oldest sister.

She was also a member of St. John AME Zion Church, Woman's City Club, Les Seize Dames, Cincinnati Hampton Alumnae Association and the Eleazer Club of the United Christian Church in Walnut Hills.

Mrs. Stone was preceded in death by her son, Alfred C. Stone Jr.

Survivors include: a daughter, Randa Stone Hailstock of Evanston; seven grandchildren: and six great-grandchildren.

Visitation is 8:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the funeral at 11:15 a.m. at United Christian Church, 2521 May St., Walnut Hills.

Interment is at Walnut Hills Cemetery.


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