In memory of Tom Stoneburner, 1944-2005
Additional comments and photos will always be welcome
Latest update: 3-18-2005

A brother in arms

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 cultures.

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 his wing.

May you fly on angels wings, my brother, I love you and miss your smile.



Feb. 28, 2004 — Lee Dazey sings at Tom Stoneburner's memorial service at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Reno at the Truckee River.
(Photo copyright © 2005 Debra Reid, The Daily Sparks Tribune)


Stoney's Heart
Stoney 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.
Randy L. Mayzes

From long ago and far away
Thanks, Andrew. Never knew him of course, but am saddened by the loss of a great union leader, and obviously, someone close to you.
Blessings always,
Barry ZeVan
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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.
Rose Davis
Indian Voices

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.
Rita McGary

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.
Bob Tregilus

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.
Laura Mijanovich
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.
Best regards,
George Harris ("GOP George")
Las Vegas

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.
Ron Bender, Jr.

There was a nice big article in this a.m.'s (March 1, 2005) Las Vegas Review Journal re Stoney.
Naomi Millisor

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 workers.
Bob Fulkerson,State Director
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 Kathy.
Rest in Peace (+) Tahis
Tahis Castro, Business Representative
Culinary Workers Union Local 226

IN 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.
Hi 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.

Jeanne Mitchell

This is the first I've heard about Stony. What a shock, and what a wonderful tribute to him. Thank you.
Ben Felix
Executive Director
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.
Sandi Rizzo

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.
Ellen L. Steiner

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 line—and I understood that. He was a very decent human being who proved that advocacy is not limited by one’s 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 battles—which for him were also his battles. Our thoughts are with Kathy—and our hand is out to give support. .
Rich Siegel, ACLU of Nevada
Roberto Nerey

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.

Gary Peck
ACLU of Nevada

Loved your article on Tom Stoneburner. He was a remarkable fellow and we all will suffer his loss.
Terri Keyser-Cooper

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,
David Bobzien

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.
Álvaro Degives Mas

What a man. I wish I had known him.
Mike Robinson

It's surely a sad day. May he rest in peace. We will miss him.
Roberto Nerey

Thank you, Andy. What a wonderful memorial. I’m glad I got a chance to know what a gift Tom Stoneburner was. Cathylee James

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.
Sam Dehne

Dear Andy:
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,
Bob Fulkerson,State Director
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

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