Gloria Jean Stone

Funeral services for 95-year old Gloria Jean Stone are Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 1:00 at the Rockyford Community Center in Rockyford, SD, with Deacon Bill White officiating.

Burial is at St Mark’s Episcopal Cemetery in Rockyford,

Visitation precedes the funeral from 10:00 ~ 1:00, also at the Rockyford Community Center 

Gloria Jean Stone was born on December 19, 1925 in Potato Creek, SD, and passed away July 24, 2021, in Littleton, CO. 

Her mother, Catalina Clifford, used a hand mirror to signal to her own mom that she was in labor but by the time she could get there, little Gloria was already new to the world.

One of Gloria’s favorite stories was of riding in a horse and buggy with her mother when they hit a big rock and Gloria popped into the air and out of the buggy. Catalina didn’t even notice at first that Gloria was gone, then was actively chasing her down.

Gloria did not start school until the 7th grade. Her father, Mortimer Clifford, was a civil engineer who taught her and her cousin Rosita under a shade that he built. 

Gloria and Rosita found textbooks in the Kyle school dump which they used to be self-taught. They tested out of the 7th grade and into the 8th grade with hard work and dedication. She was always proud of this accomplishment.

Her beloved parents were always instrumental in their communities. Her mother ran many social programs during the Great Depression. One of which was growing and canning fruits & vegetables to feed the hungry. For every 3 cans produced, two were given away. 

Another of her endeavors was making beds & quilts to give to the community. For all these efforts, she was awarded “Mother of the Year” by the state of South Dakota. 


Even they were financially devastated by the Great Depression as they lost everything to the banks. While working for one dollar a day, Mortimer’s family lived in a tent on the worksite as he built all the reservation’s dams. 

Gloria was very proud of her parents and said shecame from good stock. Her parents were very instrumental in her decision to become a teacher. While balancing school and work she scrimped and saved for 23 years to afford completing her 4-year degree. She taught year-round while attending college in the summer. 

Her first teaching job was at Cuny Table in a one room schoolhouse. Gloria’s late husband, Emerson Stone, would drop her off for the full week and pick her up on the weekend. 

To provide for the school children, Gloria would chop her own wood, start the stove, and haul water. Gloria taught all ages & subjects throughout the Pine Ridge Reservation for 43 years.

Together, she and Emerson started a ranch in Rockyford and a general store in Manderson. They were proud business owners. They went on to raise 4 children, Sharon, Roy, Kirk and Michelle. She encouraged all of them to further their education as she would say, “by getting your sheepskin” (college degree). 

Retiring at age 70, she moved to Colorado to live out the rest of her life with her family. As a final parting gift to the field of education and the community she loved so dearly, Gloria Jean Stone has donated 43 backpacks filled with school supplies for children in the community – symbolic of the 43 years of teaching that she had so cherished.

Gloria was preceded in death by her parents, Catalina (Hernandez) Clifford and Mortimer Clifford; husband, Emerson Stone; and siblings, Mortimer Clifford, Jr., Calvin Clifford, Evelyn Clifford, Sydney Clifford and Agnes Dozark.

She is survived by her numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, some of whom include Roy Jr., Sarah, Emerson, Bryan Hay, Kolleen and Keegan Stone, Jeremiah, Jordan and Jared Todd.

Pallbearers will be Roy Stone, Jr., Bryan Hay, Emerson Stone, Jeremiah Todd, Jordan Todd, Jared Todd, Kolleen Stone, Sarah Stone and Keegan Stone.

Honorary pallbearers will be All Friends & Relatives.

Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, SD

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