memory of Tom Stoneburner, 1944-2005
Additional comments and photos will
always be welcome
My name is Regina Caputo and I was and am proud to be one of Stoney's
warriors from the days of unionizing the Local 1010, the first security
local, up to the creation of the Alliance For Workers' Rights. I served
as Secretary/Treasurer in both, until my jobs made it unable to continue.
Myself, Stoney, Mike Cook and many others sat around the enclosed table
area of the McCarran House every Sunday hammering out what we wanted
to see happen here in Nevada. From the format to the logo, deep in my
heart I knew that it would be Stoney who would be the most prolific
leader we had ever had the pleasure to work with, and anyone meeting
him could feel the same. His energy, strategies, and infinite wisdom
was what made him who he was and always will be to many people of all
Sitting in the memorial today, as I have been all week since learning
of his untimely death, constantly wiping the tears away, the story of
the man emerged in every speech made in his honor. Here I sit listening
to the voices of many with their own plights telling us all how Stoney
was there for them when others could not or would not listen. This was
who and what he was all about. No medals, no parades, just a man with
a dream to serve and help others less fortunate than he and I. I feel
proud to have known him, worked side by side with him and Kathy on the
picket lines, watching them together try and change the world we live
in by whatever means possible.
I have always looked up to him like the brother I never had, able to
disagree and still be respected for my opinion. The State of Nevada
has lost a true soldier for the common people, and I have lost a very
dear friend and colleague.
Some said he was an old soul, and I truly believe that. I hope one day
that I meet someone with the strength and fortitude to do what he has
done in such a short time, and when I do, I will know that Stoney was
reborn to fight another unjustice for the people he has taken under
May you fly on angels wings, my brother, I love you and miss your smile.
TRIBUTE TO THE MAN IN BLACK
28, 2004 Lee
Dazey sings at Tom Stoneburner's memorial service at the First
United Methodist Church in downtown Reno at the Truckee River.
copyright © 2005 Debra Reid, The
Daily Sparks Tribune)
is gone. Hard to put into words just how much the local workforce will
miss this man's efforts to protect each of us from the greed and disdain
of the "Corporate Masters" (read: Massahs). There is now an
incredible void where once stood a man of great integrity, and a powerful
mastery of the art of negotiation and diplomacy !!! He was a fighter
both literally and figuratively, and stood tall among his peers, who
without exception respected him ! Our wages and benefits, our safety
and security were of the utmost concern to a man who's prescence left
an aura of compassion and raw passion for others and their plights.
I was fortunate enough to have worked with him and to have stood shoulder
to shoulder with him during the battle for the United Plant Guard Worker's
Union victory at Circus-Circus -Reno. Along with people like Pete Casillas,
Mike Cook, Regina Caputo, Russell Grovat, Adam Zachary, Leon Marhanka,
and Gilbert Meddellin just to name a few, I was very proud to have accomplished
a victory of that magnitude, and to have learned the lessons in life
that Tom lead us through !!! He was a warrior and a shining beacon of
light for those of us who toiled without reward. What a mentor he was
to us all !!! I pray that his family is given peace over his loss, and
that they are encouraged by the family of workers, security and otherwise,
whose lives were changed for the better by Stoney's heart.
long ago and far away
Andrew. Never knew him of course, but am saddened by the loss of a great
union leader, and obviously, someone close to you.
My sympathies to you. Although I did not know your friend I am sure
you shared a commitment and mutual support that will be missed. Losing
a friend is painful and I regret that you must go through it.
We have lost a great person and most of all a great friend. I cannot
imagine doing my work without Stoney. God bless you Stoney for all you
have taught me.
Thanks Andrew for sending
the wonderful article about Stoney's legacy. I will miss him. Here's
how I will remember him: Just last Wednesday, the RGJ ran an article
about workers who got screwed. And who was out there giving voice to
the voiceless - Stoney.
Excellent obit Andy on a
really unselfish person who did wonders for workers rights in Nevada.
Hopefully his death will not be in vain.
We will continue his quest!
Ron Dreher, retired police officer
Andrew, I just wanted to
thank you for your kind words about Stoney. Our community has lost a
great leader, and those of us who had the honor of knowing him and the
opportunity to work with him have lost a great friend.
Northern Nevada Coordinator
American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada
Andrew, I'm sorry for the
loss of your friend, I've lost many...mostly in the military, the pain
never goes away, try to remember all the good things it makes it easier.
Harris ("GOP George")
I met Tom quite a few years
ago I believe it was 1989. Drove out to the ranch to meet my new father
in-law I could tell right away he was a caring man. He cared about his
Family and for the community. As Tom and I drove up the hill behind
the house in his old Suzuki Samurai to go and fix some fence the stock
had knocked down He explained to me how much he cared about his daughter
and that his Family was the world to him. In a stern marine voice he
stated "you know, marriage is like driving up this hill hard to
get to the top but once you get there its well worth it." This
was one of many talks we would have about such things. Tom had a way
of getting right to the point and offered advice to me at times like
a father. I have seen Tom driving around town sometimes he would smile,
wave and be on his way. I guess what I am trying to say is Tom was a
good man and I hope his work will continue. He will be missed.
There was a nice big article in this a.m.'s (March 1, 2005) Las Vegas
Review Journal re Stoney.
The Nevada Assembly adjourned today in honor of Tom Stoneburner, a man
who believed in the dignity of work and who fought for the dignity of
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
This is one of the saddest news I have heard this year. I am still in
shock about our dear Stoney's death. Just last Monday we did a radio
program together and he was so happy and healthy that I could never
think he will leave us the next Monday. It is just unbelievable. We
Latinos, lost our best friend ever! He was so devoted to our cause and
fought so hard for it. He very well set the example to some other Latino
organizations. God bless his soul and give strength to his dearest wife
Rest in Peace (+) Tahis
Tahis Castro, Business Representative
Union Local 226
THEIR YOUNGER DAYS Tom and Kathy Stoneburner at work at the
MGM Grand-Reno (now the Reno Hilton), where they originally met
all those years ago.
Andrew. I do thank you for the info. I knew Stoney and Kathy from
working with him at Circus and also have been to their house for
a barbeque. I am totally shocked he was just on the t.v.
helping with the stranded laborers. I knew Kathy when she was going
through cancer treatment. Since leaving Circus have not kept in
touch. Thanks again.
This is the first I've heard
about Stony. What a shock, and what a wonderful tribute to him. Thank
A Rainbow Place
Thank you for your alerts.
I am very sorry to hear about Tom. My condolences to his family and
friends. I am in NY for another 2 weeks helping my dad after his hospital
visit so will not be able to attend. This is a big loss for our community.
I am shocked to learn of Tom's sudden death....I worked with him for
a time on a council as the rep from the State of Nevada Employees Association,
and I knew him to be a caring and understanding person as well as an
active leader for causes in which he believed. We will miss him.
Those of you who did not
get the chance to work with Stoney will not know the steadfast commitment
and energy that he brought to The Alliance for Workers` Rights and to
the ACLU. Stoney and Kathy and the AWR long shared the front of the
PLAN house in Reno with the ACLU northern office. We would regularly
gather together when Gary was in town and on other occasions. Perhaps
my strongest memory of him was the battle with the Sparks City Council
on the rights of casual laborers seeking work at an unauthorized site.
But Stoney was also intensely interested in racial profiling issues,
including police misconduct. And he was amazing on the matter of the
Latino workers affected by the factory explosion. We sometimes had a
hard time convincing him that not all labor issues were civil liberties
issues. For him there was no lineand I understood that. He was
a very decent human being who proved that advocacy is not limited by
ones education or credentials. It is about showing that you give
a damn. Thousands of people in Northern Nevada will remember his roles
in fighting their battleswhich for him were also his battles.
Our thoughts are with Kathyand our hand is out to give support.
Siegel, ACLU of Nevada
I have some horrible news
to report. Stoney, who has been an inspiration and a wonderful friend
to me almost from the very beginning of my tenure as E.D. of the Nevada
ACLU, has passed away. There are few people I have had the great privilege
of working with and befriending for whom I have had higher regard and
deeper affection. He was a genuinely remarkable guy, an unwavering and
always principled advocate for working people, people of color, gays
and lesbians, and everyone else who is marginalized and too often has
no effective voice in our political system. Indeed, his greatest gift
to those he stood with is that he helped to give them the ability to
find that voice and raise it for themselves. He was a joy to know and
I will miss him dearly. It is hard to find any more words to express
how I and many, many others feel at learning of his death.
We at the ACLU will do what we can to help ease the burden of his loss
for his loving wife, Kathy. If at all possible, I will attend whatever
funeral services are arranged and so will Allen. We encourage all of
you to extend your personal sympathies to Kathy, and we will certainly
do so on behalf of our organization as a whole. Meanwhile, I will do
what I can to process what has happened and to keep fighting the good
fight without Stoney at my and the ACLU's side. That won't be easy,
but it is doubtless what Stoney would have wanted and we all will continue
to garner strength and wisdom from the quiet leadership he provided
for so many of us here in the Silver State.
ACLU of Nevada
Loved your article on Tom Stoneburner. He was a remarkable fellow and
we all will suffer his loss.
Please put me on your
email list. I got the call from Buffy this morning about Stoney and
want to make sure
I get more info as it becomes available.
With a sad heart this morning,
I am still reeling from the news of Stoney's departure. This morning
was the rudest awakening I've had in a very long time; I'm sure the
news must have hit you like a ton of bricks, too. What a week. Thank
you so much for sharing your eulogy...I took the liberty of including
it verbatim in my goodbyes to a tireless soldier for the Good Cause.
I put it up in both English and Spanish, here:
Yes, I think you're right: César
Chávez must be smiling, up there above us.
Please take good care, Andrew: so much to do still, so little time left.
What a man. I wish I had
It's surely a sad day. May he rest in peace. We will miss him.
Thank you, Andy. What a wonderful memorial. Im glad I got a chance
to know what a gift Tom Stoneburner was.
I am very shocked and saddened
by this...I saw him just a few days ago at Reno. I watched his crusade
to save the little guys first hand...many many many times at Reno city
hall and Washoe County meetings. Heck, he was just recently trying to
help those fellows who got stranded here in Reno when they were shafted
by the developers. You just knew with a name like that he was going
to be a warrior.
I will say prayer.
Thank you for your thoughtful and moving remembrance of Stoney. I am
still in shock and deep sadness.
I also appreciated your call last night.
Thank you again,
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
to Tom Stoneburner Main Memorial Page