Clifford E. Stoner, 88, of Hayward, after a full life where he blessed family and friends with his generosity, love and humor, was welcomed into God’s Eternal Kingdom on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, at Hayward Memorial Hospital.
Cliff was born March 3, 1932, in Indianapolis, the son of Horace and Mabel Stoner. He was raised in Greenfield, Indiana, where he played basketball and graduated number one in his class. Growing up, he loved spending time at his grandparents farm, riding horses, driving tractors and mastering the art of puttering.
Following graduation, Cliff attended Purdue University for two years, studying veterinary science, before enlisting in the United States Air Force. While stationed in Arizona, he met the love of his life, Janice Fishburn. They had a whirlwind romance and were married six months later. After an Honorable Discharge, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Indiana University, followed by a law degree with honors. In 1960, Cliff and Jan packed up their two sons and moved to Rockford, Illinois, where he joined the law firm that would become Pedderson, Menzimer, Conde, Stoner and Killoren. He practiced there for the next 38 years. In 1998, with their five children grown, Cliff and Jan relocated to their lake home on Round Lake in Hayward, where he opened Stoner Law and continued practicing until his retirement in 2018.
Cliff’s dedication to giving back was evident with his many community service activities. While in Rockford, Cliff served on the Boys and Girls Club and Wesley Willows boards, was a Cub Scout Pack leader, and held multiple leadership positions at Christ United Methodist Church. He played competitive softball and basketball in his free time and coached each of his children in various sports. Cliff continued his community engagement in Hayward as a member of the Hayward Methodist Church and Hayward Chamber of Commerce. He particularly enjoyed his association with the conservation club, No Pi Ming, which spans three generations of family involvement.
His greatest joy was spending time with his children, their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at Lake Geneva and Round Lake, waterskiing, boating, fishing and cruising at sunset. Cliff and Jan always prioritized visiting their children’s homes to celebrate birthdays, graduations and other special events, from California to Washington, D.C.
Cliff will be remembered for his deep love and care for Janice. Through their 65 years of marriage, he kissed her every night, and every time he left the house. Cliff was truly an exceptional man. He led a life of great integrity, compassion, faith and tenacity. He was a wonderful story-teller and loved to make people laugh.
Cliff is survived by his wife, Janice; and their five children, Bill (Nancy) of La Canada, California, Mike (Jill) of Oswego, Illinois, Jeff (Amy) of Minneapolis, Chip (Genevieve) of Rockford and Cathy (David Burke) of St. Paul; 14 grandchildren, Matt, Kevin, Brad, Holly (Bill), Mike, Sam (Mike), Corriell, Liza, Christopher (Jeff), Zach, Gabby, Luke (Chip), Whitney and Connor (Cathy); seven great-grandchildren, Hudson, Davis, Georgia (Matt), Jameson, Hendricks (Mike), Elijah (Sam) and Mason (Zach); and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Richard; and sister, Sharon.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held this summer at the Hayward United Methodist Church and at the family lake home. Gifts in Cliff’s honor may be given to the Hayward United Methodist Church or the Boys and Girls Club of Rockford.
Online condolences may be shared at www.bratley-nelsonchapels.com.