Donna J. Stone (February 23, 1933 - December 12, 1994) was an award-winning poet and philanthropist. Her works included numerous individually published poems, as well as a book entitled Wielder of Words: A Collection of Poems that was named the American Poetry Society’s 1991 Book of the Year. Wielder of Words, edited by Ms. Stone's younger son Christopher K. Stone, is now in its second printing.
In addition to writing, Ms. Stone was actively involved in several charitable organizations, including the Association for Retarded Children and the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse. She also established the Matthew J. Pascal Foundation, a private family foundation named after her firstborn son.
Young Donna and her brother grew up near Bexley, Ohio, a wealthy suburb of Columbus, in a strict family of German descent. She was not a healthy child, suffering two bouts of rheumatic fever and being bedridden for months at a time. Fortunately she was a bright child, and was able to skip the nearly two full school grades that she missed during her illness.
Donna grew into an attractive young lady, and met and married John Pascal, a journalist and an aspiring author and playwright. (His works would later include the Broadway musical George M!) The Pascals moved to New York and had one son, but the child became ill and the marriage lasted only a few years.
A second marriage soon followed to L.E. Stone, a pilot with an interest in real estate. The Stones also had one son and, due to Mr. Stone's business interests, the family eventually relocated from Manhattan to a suburb of Dallas. It was there that Ms. Stone began writing in earnest. In fact, most of her published works were written in Texas.
The cardiac effects of her severe childhood illness took their toll, and Ms. Stone’s health began to fail at an early age. She continued to write, however, and was known to say that she did some of her best work between bouts of illness. Indeed, some of her best-known poems were written during these final years.
Donna J. Stone died of heart failure in 1994, at the age of 61. Her family, in cooperation with American Mothers, Inc., founded the Donna J. Stone National Literary Awards in her honor. Numerous writers and poets have benefitted from this program.
Interest in Ms. Stone's poetry has continued to grow, such that some of her most popular poems are still in reproduction. As a testament to her philanthropic efforts, virtually every charitable organization that Ms. Stone founded, directed, or served as a major patron -- some going back over half a century -- is still thriving.