Obit: Donald Stone, ’42

Donald Stone, age 93, passed away in his home in Scarsdale, New York, surrounded by family, on May 20, 2017.

Born in New York City in 1924, he attended Deerfield Academy and Williams College. He enlisted in the Army in 1942. He with the Combat Engineers in Germany, and was attached to the U.S. 82nd Airborne and the 7th Armored Division in France, Holland and Germany. Don stayed with the Army of Occupation through March of 1946. During his service, he helped liberate three concentration camps.

Don spent his career on Wall Street, first as a bond trader and later as a trader and specialist on the New York Stock Exchange. He was a Senior Partner of Lasker, Stone & Stern. When the firm was acquired by Merrill Lynch, Don became the Chairman and Chief Executive of Merrill Lynch Specialists, running the firm’s floor operations. He served on the Board of the New York Stock Exchange for 27 years, including eight years as Vice Chairman, a reflection of his colleague’s respect.
During his tenure on the Exchange, he witnessed dramatic moments and profound change. He began his career when trades were recorded on ticker tape and he helped the Exchange gradually move to electronic trading. He recalled the panic of the floor when President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. By far the most traumatic moment in his career was 1987’s “Black Monday,” the largest one-day market crash in history. He told The New York Times, “I was in combat during World War II and the feeling you had in your stomach was the same as when you were under fire, except you didn’t risk your life, just all your assets.” Don played a pivotal role in stabilizing the market that day.
As Vice Chairman, Don particularly enjoyed escorting visitors to the floor, who ranged from Elizabeth Taylor to Mikhail Gorbachev. (During that 1988 visit, the leader of the Soviet Union was trailed by a young and uncomfortable-looking Vladimir Putin.)
Don sat on several advisory committees of the Securities and Exchange Commission and on the Board of Directors for the Security Industry Association. He also served on numerous NYSE committees, was a Director of the New York Futures Board, and acted as a Trustee for the NYSE Gratuity Fund.
After his retirement from the Exchange, Don became concerned over what he saw was the lack of oversight and regulation. In 2009 he told an interviewer, “My hope is that the Exchange, will, once again, have integrity by regulation that will make it the primary market that it once was. I always thought it was one of the great national assets, and it is no more.”
Don was an active and generous supporter of philanthropic causes. He served on the Boards of Save the Children Federation, the Hospital for Special Surgery, White Plains Hospital, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, National Conference of Christians and Jews and more. He was a strong supporter of educational institutions, including Williams College, Deerfield Academy, Hawthorne Cedar Knolls, and the Windward School, which his mother, Isabel Greenbaum Stone, founded. Don was also a Presidential Appointee to the National Advisory Drug Committee.

He was a loving father to Donald Todd Stone, Amy Isabel Stone, Kate Stone Lombardi and William Jacob Stone, and was adored by his six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was a deeply devoted husband to his wife of 67 years, Jean, often telling people that his “smartest and luckiest move was marrying Jean Lawson”. Don was a world-class fisherman who regularly competed in fly-fishing in Islamorada, Florida. He was an active tennis player and golfer. Above all, he took pleasure in time with friends and family.

Donations in his memory may be given to White Plains Hospital or Hospital for Special Surgery.

Donald Stone


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