Rangiroa vet was a strong family man

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Gerald Stone. Photo: Supplied
Gerald Stone. Photo: Supplied
Dr Gerald Alexander Lawson Stone, a stalwart of the Rangiora community and a valued and respected veterinarian, has died, aged 83.

Dr Stone, who had moved back to Northland in recent years, died while swimming at Omokoroa Beach.

He was an accomplished rugby player and coach, a councillor on both the Rangiora District Council and later the Waimakariri District Council, and a Commodore of the Waimakariri Sailing Club. The legacy of his time with the council was the Rangiora Sports Centre.

Dr Stone grew up in rural Northland, in Kaipara Flats, along with two brothers and a sister.

He went to Sacred Heart College in Auckland, where he played and captained the Sacred Heart 1st XV. He gained a bursary scholarship from the Veterinary Services Council in 1957 to study veterinary science at Sydney University.

He was selected and played rugby for Australian Universities and New South Wales. It was here he met his wife, Jennie, a fellow student. They married in 1962. Dr Stone graduated in 1961, and returned to New Zealand with Jennie.

Dr Stone took up a position in Dannevirke. His work for the next 10 years took him to Napier, where he played rugby for Hawkes Bay at a time when it held the Ranfurly Shield for several seasons.

In 1970, the family moved to Rangiora, where Dr Stone joined the practice of Dr Richard Hopkirk. Drs Lindsay Fraser, Bruce Taylor and Dave Martin joined later. Hopkirk Stone Taylor Fraser Martin, in various permutations over the years, became a well-recognised and respected local veterinary service.

The clinic for many years operated from purpose-built premises close to the Stone family home in Rangiora.

Dr Stone was a loyal member of the New Zealand Veterinary Association throughout his career, believing strongly in the collegiality of the profession.

The couple raised seven children, William, Edward, Charlie, Mathew, Prudence, Mary-Anne and Daniel. They were known as a wonderful family with sound values, and an ethical framework of love, affection and good humour. Unfortunately, Edward was lost at 21.

Dr Stone coached many of his children’s school sports teams in rugby and cricket, and built a cricket net with a concrete pitch, and later a tennis court, on the lawns of the family home.

The couple moved to Waikuku Beach while Dr Stone was still practicing. They later moved to Wellington to be nearer their grandchildren, and finally on to Omokoroa in Northland. He is survived by his wife, six children, 15 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

A celebration of Dr Stone’s life will be held at 4.30pm on Friday, April 9, at the Rangiora RSA, Victoria Street. All are welcome.

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