Alma Joyce Stone
July 15, 1935 — Feb. 4, 2020
Every good story has a
beginning and an ending.
The chapters in between define our journey.
Alma Joyce Kienke began her first chapter on July 15, 1935. Like Laura Ingalls, she was born in a little sod house in Washabaugh, South Dakota where her parents, Bessie and Leslie Kienke farmed leased land from the Sioux nation. She joined three sisters and later, a brother was born before the family purchased a homestead further west. They packed 5 small children and all their belongings into their truck and made their move to north Idaho, 160 acres of pine and rocky fields near Rathdrum. There, another brother was born to complete the family.
Chapter two was defined by the depression and the tough rural life in north Idaho which needed the teamwork of the whole family to survive. Alma and her brothers were often left to tend the farm on their own while the rest of the family worked jobs in town. Cows to milk twice a day, chickens, pigs, sheep. Potatoes and strawberries, hay and a kitchen garden. Cared for and tended before and after school. Lessons learned during those tough times were applied throughout her adult life where she gained a reputation for hard work and excellence in home and garden.
School days and growing up brought chapter three. Alma went to school in Rathdrum where she became known as a fierce protector of her younger brothers. There are many family stories of her steadfast loyalty and spitfire qualities. When she entered high school, one of Almas older sisters met and married a young man from the Stone family. His brother was home from serving in WWII and Alma met Garold Stone. He was taken with her flashing brown eyes and high spirits and soon they were courting.
Alma J Kienke and Garold R Stone married on June 12, 1953 in Sandpoint, Idaho and chapter four, the biggest chapter began. Married life started out in a cabin on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille. They had a small accounting business where Alma helped with the office work until they started their family. In 1955, their first child, Valinda, arrived. Garold C and Carolyn arrived in quick succession in 1956 and 1957.
Busy as motherhood was with three young children, Alma always had a project; canning, gardening, baking special cakes. She took a painting class, ceramics, and crocheted and sewed the family’s clothes. Alma had a flair for creating unique and fun settings for special occasions. Holidays were important to her, especially Easter and Thanksgiving. And children’s birthdays were always an event. She was adored by her young nieces and nephews for her sense of fun and creating special cakes just for them. On December 25, 1960, Alma and Garold moved their young family to Walla Walla to a small house on Tillamook street. There, they added the youngest member of the family, Thayne, in 1962. It was time for a bigger house.
Chapter 5 opened with the move to the corner of Reser and Depping road in 1963, which gave Alma the setting that she missed. Gardens, chickens, room to grow and kids to run free. Funds were tight in a young family, but she could creatively innovate a space with what was at hand far ahead of the Martha Stewarts of our time.
Through the years she created a beautiful setting for her children and later her grandchildren to enjoy and run and play. Her chickens were special, and named, and provided fresh eggs to family and neighbors until 2018. Alma was also a lab tech for Birds Eye for many years and continued on with D&K Frozen Foods until her retirement. She developed many long friendships from her time there. A huge weather buff, Alma kept a detailed journal of notable happenings and the daily weather from early married life to present. The weather channel was on 24/7 in the front room. Known for her beautiful yard and flower beds, she maintained her 2 1/2 acres into her 80s. She remained intensely curious about everything and took classes at WWCC for landscaping.
With the freedom of retirement she could pour her considerable energy into her flowers and yard and love of hummingbirds. And her grandkids. Especially the love for her grandchildren.
Alma J Stone closed her eyes and her life story on February 4, 2020, surrounded by family who take away with them the gift of many memories and stories to add to their chapters of life.
She is survived by daughters, Valinda (Mark) Kreiger and Carolyn (Bill) Keyes; daughter-in-law, Barb Stone; son, Thayne (Vickie) Stone; brother, Verton Kienke; 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Alma is preceded in death by her parents, Leslie and Bessie; husband, Garold R. Stone; son, Garold C. Stone; sisters, LaVerna Baugh, Doris Stone and Dorsay Fuson; and brother, Leslie Kienke.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, February 16, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., at the Christ Lutheran Church. Reverend Joel Ley will officiate. Private Family Interment will take place at a later date at Washington State Veteran’s Cemetery in Medical Lake, Washington. Memorial contributions may be made to a Charity of Donor’s Choice through the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder St., Walla Walla, WA 99362. Family and friends are invited to view and sign the online guest book at www.herringgroseclose.com.