‘He’s just an amazing man’

WWII vet Joseph Michael Stone approaches his 100th birthday


There aren’t many World War II veterans around nowadays. Most have passed away, especially within the last few years.

There’s one Valley Stream resident, though, who served and is still going strong. His name is Joseph Michael Stone, and he’s approaching his 100th birthday.

“He’s just a really amazing man,” Stone’s daughter, Debra, said of him. “He’s done so much and he’s loved by all.”

Stone was born on May 16, 1923, the eldest of Marie and Adolfo Stone’s six children. He spent his childhood and teenage years making friends in the neighborhood. None were more meaningful than a girl named Aggie, whom he met at age 15.

Stone attended Murray Hill High School in Manhattan. There were schools closer to him in the Bronx, but he specifically wanted to attend Murray Hill because of its architecture and engineering classes. They not only sparked his interest as a teenager, but they led him to a career later in life as well.

At age 20, Stone enlisted in the Navy. Wanting to assist his country during World War II, he served from 1943 to 1945 as a radioman Second Class-T on the USS LSM-25, a landing ship. Landing ships carried tanks, vehicles, cargo and troops directly onto shore, without use of docks or piers.

Stone was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1945. Upon returning home, he began working for Gibbs & Cox, Inc., an independent naval architecture and marine engineering firm.

He and Aggie married two years later, bouncing around a few places in the Bronx for years before buying a house in Valley Stream 20 years later in 1967. They had three children together — Robert, who’s now 73; Richard, 72; and Debra, 64. He also has four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

After working as an engineer and draftsman for 47 years, Stone decided it was time to finally retire, at age 69, in 1992. He spent the next few years traveling and taking cruises with his wife and friends. Eventually, he and Aggie started spending entire winters in Florida.

Aggie died unexpectedly in 2006. Since then, Stone has continued to explore his passions — traveling, gambling, taking bus trips and visiting his children. In 2008, at age 85, he picked up a new hobby — computers — joining a class at a local senior center to become more tech-savvy. He also continues to keep himself busy around the house by writing out his own checks, preparing his own taxes and overseeing any and all of his house repairs.

“It’s just pretty amazing all the things that he still does,” Debra said. “He does everything by himself, and that keeps him so sharp. He keeps going.”

There are no plans of slowing down for Stone, and he still watches all the New York Giants and New York Yankees games he can to keep himself young.

A family event is planned for June to help celebrate his birthday.