Graveside service for retired Major William "Bill" Murray Stoneman, Jr., 74, of Elgin, Oklahoma will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 22, 2022 at Fort SIll National Cemetery Elgin, OK.
Mr. Stoneman passed away on Holy Saturday, April 16, 2022, surrounded by his loving family.
A special visitation for family and friends will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at Lawton Ritter Gray Funeral Home.
The son of William Murray Stoneman, Sr. and Jewell Louzina Stoneman (née Hale), Bill was born October 23, 1947, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. At the age of 20, Bill volunteered to enlist in the United States Army. Bill served alongside his father in Vietnam.
Before deploying to Vietnam, Bill asked his high school friend Mary if they could be pen pals while he was away. As Bill and Mary wrote back and forth over thousands of miles, what began as friendship quickly transformed into a love that would last the rest of his life. Shortly after returning to the States, Bill and Mary got married.
Bill was later commissioned as an officer. At the conclusion of Officer Candidate School, his classmates selected Bill to receive the class leadership award. During his many years of military service Bill ascended to the rank of Major. His military awards include the following:
Bronze Star Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Silver Service Star, Army Commendation Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon-Num 2, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal-2, Three Overseas Service Bars, Meritorious Service Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon-3, German Army Marksman Award in Bronze, Expert (rifle M-16), Expert (pistol .45 cal).
Bill’s passions in life included golf, history (in which he earned his bachelor’s degree from Cameron University), and the many dogs he cared for over his lifetime. His work in the military and intelligence community took Bill all over the planet. Although Bill was proud of his service to his country, nothing filled his heart with more pride than his three sons, David, Richard, and Mark. He authored a memoir dedicated to his sons, writing “I love you sons! You are my life!” He closed his memoire with these words:
“How does a father sum up all the years of love he has for his family in a few short sentences? I guess he has to do the best he can at the time he writes this. We go through life experiencing good and bad. You may look back on the past and say what a wonderful time that was, but remember you cannot go back. The past is the past, and the future is out there for you to make. Love those around you and be tolerant, patient, and passionate in everything you do. Try not to criticize people if you have not walked in their shoes. Enjoy work, have fun, and always strive to do the right thing. So many moments in our lives and each one is a memory of us.”
Anticipating the day he would leave this world behind, Bill left instructions for his friends and family to remember him over good food and wine, writing, “Do not cry over me. So long as you have fond memories, I will not be gone.”
Bill is survived by his wife of 52 years Mary Frances Stoneman (née McDuffie); his three sons, William David Stoneman and his wife Melanie Stoneman, Richard Neel Stoneman, and Mark Randall Stoneman and his husband Shon Balthaser; his sister Betty Jo Brown (née Stoneman) and her husband George Brown; his nephews Gordon Brown and his wife Jasmine Brown, Jacob Geddie, and Brandon Brown and his wife Andie Brown; his niece Taylor Brown; his granddaughter Amber Glapion and her husband Brennan Glapion; and his great granddaughter Annalee Glapion.
Bill is was preceded in death by his father William Murray Stoneman, Jr., his mother Jewell, Louzina Stoneman (née Hale), his brother-in-law Richard Geddie, his mother-in-law Frances Geddie, and his nephew Rex Brown.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Bill’s memory to Oklahoma Westie Rescue at www.okwestierescue.com/donations.
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