East County News Service
May 1, 2016 (Santee) -- B. W. "Stoney" Stone, also known as “Mr. East County” of Santee, passed away peacefully in his home on Wednesday, April 20, surrounded by his family and loved ones.
Born in Mesa, Arizona in 1925, his family moved to California when he was a young teen.
Stoney graduated from Sweetwater High School in 1943. Immediately afterward he served in the Army Air Forces from 1943-1946. Stoney married his beautiful wife Bonnie in 1955. During their 54 year marriage, the two shared five children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Stoney’s first business venture was a market he opened in El Cajon called Stoney’s Rock & Roll Market on Jamacha Road. After the family closed the market, Stoney ventured into the banking industry and became President of Cajon Valley Bank. He retired in early 2000 from Temecula Valley Bank.
Stoney’s greatest passion, aside from his family, was helping underprivileged children. From that passion he founded the East County Toy and Food Drive, now headed into its’ 41st year. The drive has since become East County’s largest Holiday charity collection event.
Fourteen years ago, Stoney asked the Salvation Army to join the drive as their organization was better equipped to distribute the large amount of food and toys collected. After hosting the Holiday party for the drive for several years, Viejas Casino & Resort took on a major role and donated thousands of toys annually. It is now estimated that directly due to Stoney’s efforts and initiative, $50-$60 thousand dollars is raised for families and the children of East County through the Toy and Food Drive annually.
Over 20,000 families and over 50,000 children have been assisted by Stoney’s annual East County Toy & Food Drive. As a result, because of Stoney, thousands of East County children have a happier and merrier Christmas.
Twenty-four years ago, Stoney received a call from El Cajon Police requesting assistance in seeking funds for a D.A.R.E. program. Stoney called some business acquaintances and they formed a nonprofit organization to raise money for the program. From that effort it evolved into Stoney’s Kids and now Stoney’s Kids Legacy.
Through Stoney’s Kids, Stoney was able to continue to assist underprivileged kids through-out the year. Stoney’s Kids has raised over $800,000 since 1991 to fund programs and provide needs for East County kids.
It became known as “A Culture of Generosity.” They fund after school youth programs, summer camp, provide sports equipment, uniforms and shoes for sporting activities, provide musical instruments for school programs, provide exercise equipment for the disabled and help fund playground build-outs, just to name a few.
Sycuan Resort has hosted Stoney’s Kids annual Birthday Party for several years and has become large part of the Stoney’s Kids family and it’s success. To sum up Stoney’s Kids [Legacy], as Stoney himself put it, “It’s All About the Kids.”
Stoney’s other civic responsibilities and accomplishments include:
• 1967 – Man of the Year, San Diego-Imperial Counties Grocer’s Assoc.
• 1970 – Mother Goose Parade Association President
• 1987 – Citizen of the Year, City of El Cajon
• 1996 – Winner of the C. Allen Paul Award, San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce
• 2005 – American Red Cross Real Hero Humanitarian Award, San Diego-Imperial Counties
Stoney was also a 40 year member of the Lion’s Club and heavily involved in countless fund-raising initiatives on behalf of The East County Boys & Girls Club, Grossmont Union High School District, Rescue Task Force, The American Cancer Society and Cajon Valley Union School District, among others.
It wasn’t long before Stoney became known in his community of San Diego’s East County as "Mr. East County."