Melvin Lewis Stone, 96
PORTLAND - Melvin Lewis Stone, 96, died on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, after a short illness. He was born May 1, 1921, to David and Gertrude (Cohen) Epstein at home on Munjoy Hill.
He was a graduate of Portland High School, in 1938, Portland Junior College, in 1941 (now USM), Boston University, cum laude, 1943, degree in Journalism/Business.
He married Frances Marsha Lempert, of Lewiston, as an Army 2nd Lt. July 23, 1944, just before going overseas. Mel served more than four years in WWII, mostly in Europe where his unit, the 187th Combat Engineer Battalion, was attached to several Army Divisions for engineering support. War's end found the 187th attached to Patton's 2nd Armored in Czechoslovakia, facing Soviet troops.
Following deactivation of the 187th in late 1945, Mel, then a Captain, became adjutant of the 1120th Combat Engr. Group. His final posting was Military City Engineer for the nearly entirely demolished City of Nuremberg.
Fran was among the earliest group of Army wives to travel to Germany to join their husbands. She and Mel occupied an apartment in Furth, Bavaria, a Nuremberg suburb, for a year.
They traveled extensively all over Allied-occupied Europe. One highlight was attendance at several Nuremberg trial sessions.
Early in 1948, Mel, with a business partner, acquired the Rumford (ME) Publishing Co. and its Rumford Falls Times. Under their management, the weekly increased circulation by 40% and doubled the number of pages per issue.
Plant expansion enabled them to publish the Wilton Times, Westbrook American (now the American-Journal), Lisbon Enterprise and the Rangeley Record, a summer weekly. From publishing, Mel's attention turned to broadcasting. Over the years he developed ownership in nine AM and FM radio stations and Channel 7, TV, Bangor.
In his 70s, Mel recognized that broadcasting was a "young man's game" and began to divest the various properties. His attention turned. to media brokering. Mel became New England vice president of a New York media brokerage firm. Until he finally retired at 84, Mel actively brokered the sale of dozens of radio stations, including WGAN AM & FM, locally.
During the 1970s, Mel also built and operated a twin cinema in Rumford. In his later years, Mel wrote a book titled "Media Guy". Cover description: "A humorous. romp through much of the 20th century, following his career in newspapers, radio, television and other weird enterprises".
Mel was active in his community. In Rumford, he was president of the Jaycees and a Rotarian. He was treasurer of the Maine Press Assn. and first president of the New England Press Association. A few years later he was elected president of the Maine Radio-TV Broadcasters Assn., the only person ever to hold an office in both Press and Broadcasting groups.
He became a director and later president of the Jewish Home for Aged (now the Cedars organization). He chaired finance and investment committees for many years.
Mel was a president of the Portland Lions Club and president of its Lions Low Vision Clinic at the Institution of the Blind, now the Iris Network. He was president and a campaign chair of the Portland Jewish Federation, vice president at Temple Beth El and president of it's Brotherhood. Mel Stone was a past commander of the local Jewish War Veterans Post and, later, until a short time before his death, served as Quartermaster (secretary-treasurer). Each year he would arrange for flags to decorate Jewish veterans' graves at local cemeteries for Memorial Day.
He was the longest-serving member of SCORE, at first counseling and, later, doing marketing for SCORE workshops. Mel was a 32nd-degree Mason, a member for more than 60 years. After retiring with Fran to the Atrium at Cedars in 2005, Mel served as Atrium Member Council chair, served on various committees, and presented weekly travelogues.
Fran and Mel traveled extensively for many years, visiting every continent but Antarctica. They participated in 28 Elder Hostel programs in the USA and Canada.
Mel was predeceased by his parents; sister, Rita, brother, Daniel S. and sister-in-law, Rose H. Epstein. Fran died on Oct. 28, 2015. He is survived by sons, David J. and his wife, Katharine (KC) of Windham, Charles E. and his wife, Barbara N. grandsons Dr. Brian N. Stone, and his wife Jennifer, Peter L. Stone and wife, Alicia; two great-grandchildren, Eric Charles and Ella Jean Stone, two step-great-grandchildren, Hayley Lee and Austin Jennings, all of Pennsylvania.
Months before his death, Mel became certain that all of the loving concern shown to him by family, Atrium staff, and friends contributed greatly to the effectiveness of his many pain-alleviating medications. He wanted them to know how grateful he was to them all.
U.S. forces and German officers teamed up in May 1945 to guide a herd of prized equines toward Allied lines—and far away from the advancing Russians. ((Lipizzaner museum, KHM, Vienna))
On the final day of the war, General George S. Patton (second from left) and Lieutenant General Walton H. Walker greet some horsemen in Austria—and grant a favor. (National Archives)
Patton, along with a host of American officers and troops of the 328th Regiment, 26th Infantry Division, watches a special performance of the Lipizzaners on August 21, 1945. (National Archives)
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