Florence's Story

GOULDSBORO - Florence J. ("Johnnie") Stone, 92, died early in the morning on Thursday 12 February 2015. She was born 2 August 1921, the younger daughter of John and Anna Johnson of Fredonia, New York.

She grew up on a farm in western New York, not far from Lake Erie. Her parents both emigrated from Sweden to the United States and raised 7 children. Living in the deep lake-effect snow with 5 brothers and a sister, as well as parents, aunts and uncles from Sweden and a swarm of friendly neighbors, she described the farm community in the village of Lamberton, just outside of Fredonia, as a 19th century lifestyle.

She graduated from Fredonia High School in 1939 near the top of her class. Career options for women were limited at the time, so she attended business college in Jamestown, New York, and then worked as a secretary and payroll clerk for the Red Wing Food Company in Fredonia, New York.

As World War II heated up, she joined the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve and was stationed in Washington, DC at Marine Corps headquarters where she worked in the payroll department. She typed what she described as "hundreds" of letters to Marine parents that began, "We regret to inform you..." She was honorably discharged from the Marines at the rank of corporal. The women Marines she worked with gave her a nickname, and it stuck. Throughout the rest of her life, friends knew her as "Johnnie."

After the War ended, while still in the Marines, Florence met Marshall Ladru Stone, a Marine recently returned from the South Pacific. They married in 1946. They raised two sons, Marcus and Bruce, and moved to Maine in 1971 after living in Little Rock, Louisville, Detroit, and Philadelphia. In the late 1960s she worked as a secretary for a defense consulting firm in Pennsylvania and also served as their security officer, having Top Secret clearance.

She had many interests including reading, rug-hooking, early American antiques, the New England Patriots, cats, and current events. Many people become more politically conservative as they get older, but Florence became more liberal. She remained active and independent to the end.

Deeply religious, she was a member of Milbridge Congregational Church for many years, and believed in the Trinity, reincarnation, and claimed to have had personal experience with the supernatural.

She is survived by her son Bruce Stone and his wife Linda Burns of Portland, and by brothers Charles Johnson of Fredonia, NY and Robert Johnson of Dunkirk, NY as well as by numerous nieces and nephews. Her family and friends will miss her gentle presence.

After interment by Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, a private service will be held in the Spring.

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