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Clifford W. Stone

Farmer. Pilot. Prisoner of War. Banker. Oil Producer, Patron of the Arts. Born: November 9, 1918, El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas. Married: Sara Lou Connell, El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas, December 10, 1941.Died: January 21, 2010, El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas.

Clifford W. Stone was born to Wilber Ernest and Olive (Clifford) Stone. His grandfather William Emanuel Stone was a German immigrant who moved from Berlin, Germany, to Butler County in 1879, where he prospered. Clifford Stone attended El Dorado schools, and earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from Kansas State University in 1939. He returned to El Dorado upon the death of his father to become a partner with his mother in the operation of Stone Farms in Butler, McPherson, and Finney counties. The mother-son team would later purchase and operate the Walnut Valley State Bank in El Dorado.

In 1942 Stone enlisted in the U.S. Army Corps where he was an aviation cadet, serving as a B-24 pilot. He was assigned to the 763rd Heavy Bombardment Squadron of the 460th Heavy Bombardment Group of the 55th Wing of the 15th Air Force in Italy. While participating on a mission his B-24 was shot down. He was captured by the Germans and spent the remainder of World War II at Stalag I prisoner of war campin Barth, Germany. As a result he received numerous military decorations that include the Distinguished Flying Cross with four star clusters and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. When he left active duty he was a captain, but he continued to serve with the U.S. Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of major.

Store married Sara Lou Connell in El Dorado on December 10, 1941. They had two children.

After the war Stone became managing director of Saco Oil Company and Yuma Oil Company, positions he held for the next 26 years. Both had been owned since 1934 by Stone’s father-in-law, O.J. Connell. These companies had producing leases in Butler, Marion, Russell, and Sedgwick counties, as well as interests in Texas and Oklahoma. Stone also pursued a 42-year banking career as chief executive officer of Walnut Valley State Bank and Trust in El Dorado.

Stone became active as a community leader and philanthropist, following his mother’s philosophy who believed happiness lay in serving others. He died in El Dorado on January 21, 2010.

Entry: Stone, Clifford W.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: January 2017

Date Modified: January 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.